Arsenal touted as Premier League contenders after Man City win

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At the weekend we witnessed Arsenal, a team who are notorious for not beating big teams away, make Manchester City, the champions, look like a mid-table side that lacked any edge going forward.

Many have said after the game that this is a turning point in Arsenal's season, with some even saying that, if they perform as well they did on Sunday, the Gunners may actually have a shot at the title. But is there any truth in such a bold statement?

Well first we must take a lot of factors into account, the biggest one, of course, being how other teams perform.

Chelsea dominance

Chelsea currently sit atop the Premier League table on 52 points, 13 clear of Arsenal, who are fifth. Jose Mourinho's side do not look like they are going to slow down any time soon after hammering Swansea 5-0 at the Liberty Stadium and could be in contention for a quadruple of trophies this season, which is simply unheard of in the modern game.

I honestly do not see Chelsea dropping many points in their next five Premier League games and I feel they will just get stronger as the season progresses. With Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas continuing to combine to devastating effect, they look far too strong for any side to be able realistically catch them.

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But, let us say that, hypothetically, Chelsea completely fall apart over the next few months - do Arsenal then have a chance then of being in contention for the title?

I believe this rests on whether or not Arsene Wenger brings in the right players this January transfer window.

New signings

It's no surprise that Arsenal have been very weak in the centre of the park this year with veterans playing like amateurs and, as always, the manager is faced with an injury plagued squad that prevented any real experimentation or rotation in the team.

There has, however, been a potential diamond unearthed in the rough, and that has been Francis Coquelin. The 23-year-old produced two brilliant performances against Stoke and Manchester City, and there is the hope he may be able to end the defensive midfield crisis that has existed since the mighty Patrick Vieira left the club.

However, Wenger needs to look carefully at players he can bring in this January to feature alongside Coquelin and allow him to be rested when needed to avoid getting injured.

The centre-back position has also been a major problem for Arsenal this season with Thomas Vermaelen leaving for Barcelona and not being adequately replaced. Their main man at the back, Laurent Koscielny has, meanwhile, been severely hampered by an Achilles injury, forcing Wenger to play Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal, Mathieu Debuchy in the middle.

Arsenal have looked very weak at the back this season, a far cry from the solid and established partnership of Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. Wenger needs to bring in at least one centre-back if they wish to make any type of title challenge this year, something the Frenchman has conceded.

The future

Even if Wenger is able to make the additions required this month, the Premier League title will prove beyond them. Chelsea look formidable, while it is unlikely that Arsenal will fail to encounter any slip-ups between now and the season's end.

The victory over at the Etihad Stadium gave Gunners reason to be optimistic about the future and, with the right acquisitions, next season they will be in the mix to challenge Chelsea and Manchester City for the top prize.

Wenger is showing encouraging signs of developing his tactics to suit individual teams, but recruitment will be the key to any future success for his side, which already has plenty of potential.

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Laurent Koscielny
Per Mertesacker
Premier League
Arsene Wenger
Francis Coquelin

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