It’s crazy to think that after the opening weekend of the Premier League, Arsenal were being talked about as a club in crisis.
A dismal 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Aston Villa looked to be the start of another long and disappointing season at the Emirtaes, with many beginning to seriously question how much longer Arsene Wenger would remain in charge of the Gunners.
The squad seemingly lacked quality, was short of numbers, and given the way their North-London neighbours had been splashing the cash on a number of star names during the summer, it seemed this may finally be the season Tottenham would get the better of Arsenal.
Two months on, my how things have changed.
Yesterday’s demolition of Norwich saw Wenger’s side run out 4-1 winners to maintain their place at the top of the Premier League, and stretch their unbeaten run to an impressive 12 games in all competitions.
There was another impressive display from marquee signing Mesut Ozil, as well as a superb cameo from the inform Aaron Ramsey, both of whom found the net once again. And to cap it all off Arsenal’s opening goal scored by Jack Wilshere was goal-of-the-season material. Some intricate one touch football on the edge of box saw the England youngster round off a fine move in style with a neat finish past the Norwich goalkeeper leaving fans and pundits in awe of what they had witnessed. Football, and Arsenal, at it’s best.
There is a real swagger about the Gunners at the moment, both domestically and in Europe, and yet there is also an added resilience about them, something we began to see at the backend of last season when they defied the odds to claim the remaining Champions League spot.
Some notable victories against Fenerbahce, Marseille and Napoli has set them on their way in Europe, and not to forget their derby win over Spurs at the Emirates, maybe their most pleasing victory thus far.
But can this last? Will the smiles continue? And can Arsenal finally put an end to their increasing wait for a trophy?
Well the next two months will go along way to answering this question.
With respect to those teams Arsenal have faced already, their opening eight league fixtures have not exactly been the most difficult to navigate. Fans would have expected to win the majority of those games, and although you can’t argue they have impressive, the real test is yet to come.
In recent seasons it has been their failure to defeat the top sides that has been Arsenal’s undoing. With games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Manchester City all to come before Christmas, as well as a double header with Champions League runners up Borussia Dortmund, the next two months will determine whether or not Arsenal are the real deal and can seriously challenge for the title.
If they can reach Christmas in a similar position to the one they find themselves in after eight games, then there is no doubt they will be in with a huge chance of lifting the trophy come May.
With a couple of additions in January, and providing they can stay clear of major injury troubles, Wenger’s side could continue to go from strength to strength.
In what looks to be one of the most open title races in Premier League history, Arsenal have to be taken seriously, however this may well change over the two months.
Watch this space.
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