It was around 5pm on 17th August 2013 when Arsène Wenger would have looked up to the stands in fear. The Emirates Stadium had never been so hostile, boos ringing round an arena that had yet to see silverware in a barren 8-year period. To add to frustrations, a summer of low-key additions would be the anchor to arguing what culminated in a 3-1 loss to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season. But then it all changed.

After years of transfer market coyness, Arsenal didn’t just outspend their transfer fee record; they shattered it, signing world-renowned talent Mesut Özil from Real Madrid. After puns, smiles and blogs of joy, the fans were excited to see whether the presence of a £42.5 million signing would fast track the club on the way to becoming the force of English football once again.

Fast forward 6 months and you will find a transformed football club. A side once bemoaned for their lack of defensive cohesiveness now a side with the best defensive record in the league. Some difference considering their big signing was in the attacking side of team! Arsenal’s fortune at the back has to give credit to the hard work that Arsène and his side have put in week in, week out on the training ground.

Gedion Zelalem is set to feature for Arsenal tonight in the FA Cup match against Coventry City. And if he does an extraordinary pub quiz question could occur and more importantly it would mark a historical moment for the youngster and the club.

If Arsène Wenger plays Zelalem tonight it would mean the 16-year-old would become the first Arsenal player to play for Wenger who was born after he was appointed as manager in September 1996.

Zelalem was born four months later in January 1997 but is set to make his competitive debut tonight at the Emirates.

There has been a lot of talk surrounding Mesut Özil’s form recently; with some suggesting he is deadly and others a disappointment.

A lot of people have voiced their opinions but the most definitive is from our very own Arsène Wenger because normally he is spot on and in his assessment of the German I think he hits the nail on the head again.

And it makes another one of our very own Stewart Robson come across a bit silly suggesting Mr Özil has only had a B+ season, something he stated on ESPN.

Firstly Le Professor, who was quoted by Metro and said the German doesn’t need to criticised. He added that some people (Robson) expect too much.

According to reports today, Arsene Wenger is on the verge of agreeing a 2-year extension to his contract with Arsenal and then move ‘upstairs’ into a similar role carried out by David Dein.

David Dein is the man credited with finding Wenger, a manager relatively unknown in England before his arrival in 1996. To cut a long story short, it was the greatest signing in Arsenal history.

In 2007, after many years of service with Arsenal, David Dein controversially left the club with immediate effect because of “irreconcilable differences” with the rest of the board members over the takeover of another foreign billionaire businessman.

Many fans have cited the departure of Dein as the prime factor for Arsenal’s trophyless period. Dein and Wenger had a wonderful friendship and were instrumental in scouting and signing unknown talent for a bargain price. These signings propelled Arsenal to new heights.

The month of December was undoubtedly Arsenal’s toughest yet. A period in which The Gunners went four games without a victory, and although much of has been made of their consistency, this was not the kind that has defined a strong year for Wenger’s men.

What is most satisfying for Gunners fans is that they remain on top after the festive period. After sacrificing it briefly to a resurgent Liverpool, Arsenal climbed back to the top after two away victories. Liverpool’s two game dip in form means they now sit fifth, and highlights how tight it’ll be until the end of the season. January though, I predict, will be good month for The Arsenal.

Not so January blues

Arsenal’s resurgence towards the end of the month means they will not have the Christmas cobwebs to clear, as others might. If we manage to beat Cardiff at home tomorrow, which many of you I’m sure are feeling confident about, then that always tough cluster of games surrounding the festive period will have been nothing more than yet another declaration of Arsenal’s title credentials.