Arsenal Rant: Gunners’ fate to be decided over the winter
It’s been a fascinating season so far for Arsenal. From the unexpected acquisition of Mesut Ozil for an eye-watering amount of dosh, to their current state – perched atop the English top flight – four points ahead of the chasing pack; Gunners fans everywhere are full of good cheer as we approach Christmas.
While no-one should deny Arsenal the satisfaction of a job well done thus far; it is becoming clear that they are entering a critical period of the season, where their dreams of securing a first title in a decade will be either reinforced exponentially, or effectively shattered.
With only three games played against title rivals out of 13, the Gunners now face arguably their closest challengers in the form of Chelsea and Man City over December. A tricky home fixture against Everton, and away games at London rivals West Ham and the in-form Newcastle further highlight the difficult run ahead for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Further, let’s not forget, Arsenal are yet to qualify for the Champions League knock out round. Although they are hot favourites to go through, it would be an enormous blow to the Gunners’ entire season unless the job is done.
They will face Napoli in the final game, where they must not lose against Rafael Benitez’s side by three or more goals, otherwise the equation could get tricky.
December is therefore crucial, both in terms of their Champions League ambitions, and their Premier League aspirations. Dropping points against Chelsea, Man City, Newcastle or Everton (not unlikely) would open the door for other potential challengers to close the gap.
The best thing about this Arsenal team is that they are playing with great confidence and transferring the momentum from one game to the next. If they can manage to keep the juggernaut rolling through December and into January, and maintain their great position in the league, they will take some stopping as they stride towards that most coveted Premier League crown.