Pundits, ‘experts’ and journalists should be careful in writing off Arsenal‘s Premier League title hopes as they can clearly win it.
With the North London club’s start outshining anything we have seen from them in the last five years, it surprises me that so many are doubting Arsenal’s ability to become champions this season. The evidence for me is there from these first ten games that they will be contenders. I can understand the view that they will not win it, but to say they can’t is very odd.
Arsenal have come a long way in terms of a team since last year. As many have pointed out, their squad is short of one or two players to help them really be standout favorites. But so many are forgetting that this start to the season has been successful without many key players or players that would help them. They have been juggling the EPL, Champions League and Capital One Cup without the likes of Lukas Poldolski, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Abou Diaby and for long periods Santi Carzola, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta.
For me the criticism and under-estimating they have received this season is purely because many jump on the bandwagon of slamming Arsene Wenger early. The truth is their squad (the part that many see as the weakness) has yet to be fully fit. Compared to Manchester United or Manchester City it has been stripped to its bare bones with injuries.
Arsenal have a manager that has his players all pulling in the same direction. He has been in positions before with squads capable of achieving glory and pulled it off. There isn’t the same building process at Arsenal that we are seeing with Jose Mourinho at Chelsea or David Moyes and Manchester United. His squad is a real group that have been developing for several years now. They have now added a gem in Mesut Ozil — the type of player than propels a good squad towards a real title challenger. Yet those younger players that have been at the Emirates for years are now growing into special players. Aaron Ramsey for example is doing so well that Kieran Gibbs‘ improvement is going unmentioned.
This is an Arsenal team who are quietly churning out results, in style at times but also in determination when it matters (such as Crystal Palace away, where with 10 men they found a winner). I say quietly because week after week we see the football ‘experts’ say their views on why Arsenal will struggle to keep this up. But as time has already progressed Wenger’s side are proving them wrong. Liverpool was supposed to be the first ‘big’ League task for Arsenal, but now it seems even that is not a worthy test of how good this Arsenal side are. Having beaten Tottenham and Liverpool convincingly the experts still believe Arsenal have to beat Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City to show they are capable of winning the title.
But even if they do lose to those sides, their form against the rest of the league is better than every other club. We’ve seen Chelsea lose 2-0 to Newcastle for example, but most still believe Jose Mourinho will turn it around. Even if he does, the fact that Arsenal are being written off despite showing the evidence of true class, not just form is really quite strange. Maybe we have all become too used to watching the same teams challenge for the League each season that when Arsenal fight back many cannot comprehend it holding out.
Arsenal have huge tests ahead, and injuries and fixture congestion will inevitably make them stumble at some point. But to say they are not capable of winning England’s top division is foolish because over 10 league games and several other European fixtures they have shown all the traits of a side capable of ending the season as champions. How about some just think how strong they’ll be when they add a striker in January.
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