Aaron Ramsey raising Arsenal's hopes
ARSENAL fans were left berating Arsene Wenger when Swansea City won at the Emirates last season.
Two late Michu goals secured a famous Swansea triumph and, among some home fans at least, frustration almost boiled over.
Abuse was hurled at Wenger, the man who has led Arsenal to three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and a Champions League final.
The source of the Gunners' gall was a perceived lack of investment in the team.
Arsenal have not won any silverware since 2005 — the last time they lifted the FA Cup.
There was a fear that a team once at the forefront of English football were falling further behind the Premier League's other big guns, and that Wenger was not acting swiftly and decisively enough to arrest the decline.
Arsenal have prided themselves on being well run, on not blowing outrageous sums of money on high-profile players.
But Wenger's policy of developing little-known youngsters instead of buying big was beginning to wear thin.
And the fact fans were repeatedly told funds were available to spend only added to their annoyance.
Swansea's victory in North London came just before January.
Yet Wenger brought in only Malaga defender Nacho Monreal when the transfer window opened, a signing that did little to appease the unrest.
After Arsenal had lost star man Robin van Persie to rivals Manchester United the previous summer, many believed it was goals and guile that the team lacked.
Pressure continued to mount during the close season as Arsenal signed only youngster Yaya Sanogo and brought an aging Mathieu Flamini back from Milan on a free transfer.
Deadline day was fast becoming crunch-time for Arsenal, who promised big names would be delivered before the window closed.
Among others, the North Londoners were linked to Michu and Ashley Williams in a £35 million joint swoop.
The Swansea City pair didn't arrive, and as the clock ticked down it became clear that only one signing would be completed.
At least it was a big one.
Mesut Ozil arrived from Real Madrid in a £42 million deal that more than trebled Arsenal's previous record transfer.
Ozil became the second most expensive signing in British football history and Germany's most expensive ever player.
That addition alone seems to have largely satisfied disgruntled supporters.
Ozil made his home debut in last Sunday's 3-1 win against Stoke and left the field to loud applause when replaced with ten minutes remaining.
The reception appeared as much an endorsement of the transfer as the player himself.
Arsenal fans' mood has also lifted as far as Aaron Ramsey is concerned.
Widely criticised after making a largely unspectacular impact since moving for £5 million from Cardiff five years ago, the Wales midfielder has been arguably the Premier League's best performing player in the opening six weeks of this campaign.
He has scored seven goals in eight appearances, four of which have arrived in the last three games.
Ramsey's excellent start to the season has been a key factor in Arsenal's rise to the top of the early-season table.
With Ozil now on board as well, and the likes of Per Mertesacker and Olivier Giroud becoming increasingly influential, optimism reigns in the red corner of North London.