Entering the month of November I wrote about how it was going to be a month that would test Arsenal. In the end November would prove if they were worthy Premier League title contenders and if they could expect to see themselves advancing from the group stage into the Round of 16 in Champions League play. A very convincing 3-0 win over Cardiff City on Saturday saw Arsenal move seven points clear of the second place team in league play to round out what was a successful month of November.
In the month of November, Arsenal answered several lingering questions which many had about them entering the month. The first was whether or not they could beat quality opposition given that Arsenal’s schedule up until then was labeled as being “weak”. Beginning with a convincing 2-0 win against Liverpool, Arsenal rattled off impressive win after impressive win with their only stumbling block being a 1-0 loss away to Manchester United in a game where Arsenal clearly took time to adjust because illness ruled out a couple of key players hours before the game.
In addition to winning, Arsenal also showed that its defensive solidity is something not limited to “weak” opposition as the likes of Wojciech Szczesny in goal with Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as the central defensive pairing have proven to be rock solid in their play. This defensive solidity was best seen when Arsenal defeated Borussia Dortmund away from home 1-0 in Champions League play in a game that has helped Arsenal find themselves in position where they are virtually assured qualification into the Round of 16.
In addition to beating quality teams and showing defensive solidity during the month of November, Arsenal have seen their top players step up and contribute at different times. Whether it has been Mesut Ozil contributing with well placed passes that have led to goals being scored, Jack Wilshire creating havoc on the right wing with his runs into the box, or Aaron Ramsey, the man who has exploded into stardom this season scoring goals every which way possible, Arsenal have seen their top players step up and play like star players in each winning performance during the month.
As Arsenal now prepare to play its last group stage game in the Champions League and embark on the hectic Christmas/New Year’s Premier League schedule, no one can now question whether or not they are legitimate league leaders or title contenders. Their play and winning performances against “better” opposition in November have shown that yes they are legitimate and they are worthy of being top of the table as the calender turns to December.