Alex Song – Arsenal’s powerful defensive force and one of the most consistent performers throughout the 2010/11 campaign.
Arsène Wenger revealed early on in the season that Alex had stepped up his efforts on the training ground and was reaping the rewards on the pitch. It would be hard for anyone to disagree.
Alongside Jack Wilshere, the Cameroon international was his usual solid self in front of the Arsenal back four from August to May. He even added potency to his game with three goals in as many matches in October. A last-gasp winner against West Ham underlined Alex’s goalscoring threat when he did break his defensive shackles.
His partnership with Wilshere and the pair’s understanding would prove to be the backbone of the Arsenal side. When Alex attacked, Jack stayed back. When Jack went forward, Alex would sit deep.
A knee injury kept the midfielder out of action for the whole of March – a month that saw Arsenal eliminated from the Champions League, the FA Cup and lose ground in the Premier League title race. Make no mistake, Alex was missed.
The protection he offers the defence and his imposing presence will again be crucial when Arsenal push for honours in 2011/12.
“I started pre-season a week earlier after the World Cup. I worked hard and it helped me a lot, and I have improved on the pitch. I think I did well last season but I really wanted to show I could do more this year, so I’ve really been pushing myself.”