Nine years on from “The Invincibles” and Arsenal fans were really beginning to lose patience with Arsene Wenger.
However, Wenger has found a lifeline in the 2013/14 season. Going into the New Year, Arsenal sit top of the table on 42 points, although Manchester City are only a point behind and that is quite an accomplishment for Wenger.
That’s a far cry from the summer when some were calling for a change in management. So, what accounts for this remarkable turnaround?
The Gunners have been handed massive boosts from new signing Mesut Ozil and in-form youngster Aaron Ramsey. But is that enough to turn Arsenal’s fortunes? In a sense, the Gunners have been here before. In the 2008/09 season they were first going into 2009 but ended badly as they finished the season in fourth. So, the question has to be asked: can they really win the Premier League?
A major issue for Arsenal thus far is consistency in big games. Although they have beaten all of Napoli, Dortmund and City they also fell to each team often by a bigger score line by which they won.
This may not seem too troubling but come March they are scheduled to play Spurs, Chelsea and City in a row.
Those points will be critical to earn for all the teams fighting for the title. Arsenal also have an even bigger game coming up against Bayern in the next round of the Champions League. A loss there, although disheartening to a Gunners fan, may prove to their advantage as the Premier League will become their primary focus.
Nonetheless, consistency is the defining factor for a championship team and Arsenal must improve in this area.
Some brilliant news for Arsenal is that Walcott is back from injury, and he’s already begun to re-elevate is game.
He has four goals and an assist in his last four matches. As well as the returning Lukas Podolski who can play any position on the front line. All that comes at a time when Oliver Giroud has turned cold and Arsenal need additional goal threat contributions in order to keep a push for the title alive. But is that enough?
Goalscoring is another troubling issue for the Gunners. Although they have scored the third most in the league, they are far behind the top two goal scoring teams - seven less then Liverpool and 17 less then City.
This is one of the tightest, most unpredictable seasons ever and it may very well come down to goal difference at the end of the season. An additional striker and cover for Giroud is hopefully on Wenger’s January shopping list. Perhaps, Alvaro Morata may be the ideal candidate to help Arsenal over the final hurdle.
So, what are the chances of finally winning the Prem after the recent trophy drought at the Emirates? Can they add the important element of consistency? Can they bolster their goal scoring options? Will the distraction of the prestigious Champions League prove too alluring?
It is very possible that Arsenal could end up with the title come May, but if we go by history then Wenger and co. have a lot of work to do.
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