Gooners have witnessed many nail-biting and frankly astonishing victories this season. The youngest team in the league has a never die attitude and has depended on it for a great handful of points as they charge towards the title. However, some believe that this is purely a fluke, while others believe Arsenal are simply engrained with a winning mentality.
When it comes to snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, Arsenal fans have not been so confident in the team in recent years. This season has changed that pessimism into what can only be considered overwhelming confidence, resilience and optimism.
Are Arsenal riding a wave of luck or showing their champion DNA?
The first instance that comes to mind is when the Gunners hosted Fulham near the start of the season. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has proven himself as a quality frontman in the top division, scored a goal shortly after the half-time break. Martin Odegaard returned fire, and from there the young Arsenal side pressed on to capture victory through a Gabriel goal in the 86th minute. Little did fans know this was not a mere blessing from the football gods, at least not an isolated one.
The next magical moment was against Manchester United. At the start of the season, the Gunners suffered a defeat with a misleading scoreline of 3-1. Revenge was sweet however when Eddie Nketiah fired home a quality goal in the 90th minute at the Emirates to put the Gunners up 3-2. Although the fanbase remained aware that Arsenal deserved the win yet again, the last-minute winner seemed once again imbued with a streak of luck.
As Arsenal have inched closer and closer to the Premier League title Gooners and rival fans alike have been waiting for the classic Arsenal collapse, and interests piqued, to say the least. The Gunners had a wobble losing to Everton, drawing to Brentford and suffering defeat to the Citizens at home.
Then the Gooners travelled to Aston Villa, where destiny would reveal itself. After a back-and-forth contest, a Philippe Coutinho resurgence and another Unai Emery upset, Jorginho fired a bullet at the goal from outside the box. The shot rattled the bar ricocheting onto the back of Emiliano Martinez’s head forcing the ball into the back of the net in the 93rd minute. Not only was destiny cemented in terms of the Gunners’ title hopes, but karma hit Martinez for the time-wasting and overall slander of his previous club.
Arsenal vs Bournemouth is not the most enticing matchup for Gooners looking at the schedule, but when Arteta clashed with Gary O’Neil at the Emirates, the most special of occasions manifested. All season long fans, pundits, Arteta and the players have spoken of the team’s resilience. In the first nine seconds, Bournemouth scored. They netted a second from a set piece after halftime. From there the Gunners, spearheaded by Thomas Partey and Ben White (who were both subs) equalised the score. Once again the team faced time wasting, but the referees quite rightly added six minutes to the already played 90. Then came the loudest celebrations in Emirates history. I could not hear the commentators on the television. Super sub-Reiss Nelson showed his clutch gene, his quality and commitment by smashing home a 97th-minute winner to keep the five-point gap over City in second place. Arsenal’s academy graduate had barely played during the season as he was battling injuries. However, in each of his appearances in the league, Nelson has made an impact, and that is an understatement.
The fans, manager, and players came together to create one of the most iconic moments since the Emirates was built. All around the world fans were screaming in unison. Destiny is real for this team.
If people still believe Arsenal are riding a wave made of fluke and luck, look a little closer and in the water, you will see three things. A fanbase that is completely behind their team, a resilient, hungry and skilful squad, and a tactical genius in Arteta at the helm. Arsenal are back in the form of a footballing tsunami.