Arsenal’s season has, so far, been the inverse of what we’ve come to expect from the club in recent years. Having endured difficult starts in their last couple of campaigns, only to fight their way into the top four towards the end of the season, few would have expected them to be at the top of the Premiership table with twelve games gone. The question now becomes whether or not the young team can maintain their position and eventually lift the Premiership trophy.
Arsène Wenger has been one of the most consistent managers in world football, qualifying for the Champions League in fifteen successive seasons, but for a team of Arsenal’s pedigree, people have demanded more. For years, fans were reassured that the club’s refusal to spend, even as they were overtaken by the financial might of Chelsea and Manchester City, was merely a temporary measure as they repaid the debts accrued building their new stadium. This did little to comfort them, however, as they saw the likes of Cesc Fàbregas and Robin van Persie leave the club in their hunts for silverware.
Having remained patient, the marquee signing of Mesut Özil this summer for a club record fee of £42.5 million was a statement that Arsenal are now willing to spend some of their considerable wealth and that they are looking to match the other top teams. At 25, Özil joined an already young team that looks to continue developing together and will likely only get better.
Alongside Özil, Aaron Ramsey has been a revelation for Arsenal this season and has been arguably the standout player in the entire league. Enduring a long, difficult road back to form after his horrific leg break in 2010, and even rumoured as a possible transfer away from the club in the summer, Ramsey now looks the player that fans always hoped he could be. Just 22, he’s now a priceless part of the team.
Olivier Giroud has benefitted massively from the delivery of the sensational midfield behind him. Arsenal had one of the league’s best defences last season, but their issue was always having an end product from their control of possession. Tall and strong, Giroud is already nearing his goal tally for last season, with just a third of the league fixtures played.
It is also worth remembering that, despite their position in the league, Arsenal have been plagued by injuries since the outset. With Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both set to return in the next couple of months, the team should only get stronger. Given their league position, potential for spending and the attraction of life in London, it seems almost a certainty that Arsenal will pursue, and most likely capture, significant targets in the January window.
A major factor in the team’s successes so far is their domination of teams further down the table. Where United, City and Chelsea have suffered upsets, the sheer tempo of Arsenal’s game has usually been too much for weaker teams to cope with and they’ve rarely failed to take all three points.
The main concern for Arsenal fans will be the underperformance of the other major clubs. The bookies’ favourites at the start of the season, Chelsea and City, both have far more strength in depth than Arsenal, something that can be the decisive factor in a league campaign as the year progresses but now the Premier League Betting Odds. At the moment, Arsenal look to continue their winning ways and, as the season continues, they will move ever closer to securing the Premier League trophy, exactly a decade after they last did so.
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