Arsenal‘s ending to 2013 in December had the markings of Premier League champions as they beat Newcastle United 1-0 away. The final month of the calender year provided Arsenal’s toughest period of the season so far, with the 6-3 defeat to Manchester City the lowest point. However, their positive ending to the year at the top of the league is something that shows the traits of champions of recent years.
Every team goes through a particularly tough patch. For Arsenal, the fixture list in December was unrivaled in terms of the level of competition. Away trips to Napoli and Manchester City were soon followed by an equally important game against Chelsea.
The end of December saw Arsenal visit West Ham and then Newcastle just three days later. Those two games saw the Gunners collect all six points. They haven’t played anywhere near their best in those games, but that is why it is a sign that they could potentially be champions in 2014.
They’ve toughed out the wins with sheer determination and clinical finishing. This Arsenal side look far more mature and defiant than fans have seen for a long time. They may still crack, but they used that as a spark to press on and fight. They feel they are well in the title race now, and they will surely have easier spells to come.
This Christmas period is tough for everyone, but Arsene Wenger‘s side have frequently seen a mere three-day break before fighting for points in stern tests. Wenger can be pleased that they have come out of December looking reasonably pretty.
Their squad isn’t the biggest, but has managed to succeed in its tasks. They qualified for the Champions League round of 16 and get the ‘easier’ points while fending off one of two title rivals. In a season of frequently dropped points, Arsenal’s December has ended far better than it began, and they can be encouraged by it.