So he’s finally done it. Arsene Wenger has beaten Jose Mourinho after 14 attempts. Yes, he has. All good things come to an end, as Manchester United quickly found out in Sir Alex Ferguson's absence.
Although it was a game with two very tired looking teams, Arsenal scored the decisive goal in the 24th minute. But does this win mean that Arsenal are real contenders for the Premier League next season?
In recent seasons, Arsenal have looked promising, starting campaigns well and keeping the momentum going for several months, renewing hope amongst the Arsenal faithful that they can win the prestigious Premier League trophy again after a 11 season exile.
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But after Christmas, they seem to hit a decline, which all teams do, but so much so that they fall off the radar of being a main contender for the title.
It's a repetitive cycle every season that has frustrated many Arsenal fans, who have either asked Wenger to spend some of the supposed huge kitty in the Arsenal bank, and some even asking him to walk away from the job, believing his time has passed at the club.
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But that looks like it could’ve change! Arsenal have some key things that could be crucial to their title pursuit next season.
Arsenal play arguably the most attractive football in the Premier League. Yes, perhaps they try to walk the ball into the net a lot of the time but when their passing game begins, they can be unstoppable and unplayable at times.
Combine that with a world class player like Alexis Sanchez and his equally impressive team mates, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain and you have the makings of an impressive team that can play anybody off the park next season.
Unity & Stability
No longer are these players a blend of established and new stars. All Wenger’s players have experience in the Premier League, have played together and look to understand each other well.
Compare other title contenders such as Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool. Both have bought a series of new players who may need time to adjust and learn their new team’s tactics. Arsenal don't have that issue. They have no new signings aside from Petr Cech, who moved to Arsenal from Stamford Bridge this summer.
This could be a key factor.
FA CUP WINS
Arsene and his boys have shown now that they know how to win, and win consistently. For two seasons in a row now they have won the FA Cup. That's not an easy feat. Also two back to back Community Shields can be added to that list.
Now although the Premier League is 38 games, the FA Cup victories are not just one off games. They require good tactical planning, determination and hard work from the players and the desire to win.
Arsenal have proven this in the last two season and it's maybe time that transferred over to the Premier League.
What a fantastic signing, and what a great price. Chelsea may have made a mistake there and possibly have handed Arsenal a key piece to their title winning puzzle.
Cech brings with him a solid performance background, holding clean sheet records to beat Chelsea legend, Peter Bonetti, a good presence in the box, excellent handling and is an all round great goalkeeping professional.
Add to that his experience at winning the Premier League (something nearly all of these Arsenal stars currently lack besides Danny Welbeck), the FA Cup, the UEFA cup and of course the Champions League and already you have a strong defence foundation that can be the difference between winning the league and losing it.
Arsenal are certainly the one to watch next season, even with United buying multiple, strong looking signings and City snapping up Raheem Sterling from Liverpool.
With the attacking, passing football, the understanding and balance in the team, the Cup winning experience and Petr Cech’s arrival, Arsenal are definitely in with the biggest chance to steal the title from Chelsea.
Was the Community Shield a dress rehearsal? Maybe, just maybe it was!
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