Can Arsenal win the Premier League? That’s the question everyone (well majority) is asking at the moment. Recent history suggest that Arsenal have been in this position before, but they can be mentally fragile and have this bad tendency of collapsing at the wrong time.
The Gunners are only two points behind Leicester City at the top of the English League table, and there is a genuine chance for the North Londoners to win the title this season. Here’s why:
History & Nature of the season
In the past six seasons, the top two teams at Christmas have won the Premier League title in the end. So, simply going by the stat, this could be Arsenal’s year.
Wenger cited the benefit of playing his rivals at home during the run in – now the Gunners face gruelling away trips to Anfield, White Hart Lane, Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium. However, the other title challengers haven’t been consistent enough – Manchester United and Manchester City have struggled in patches, Tottenham are still catching up while Liverpool are just too unpredictable – and hard to see the rival teams capitalising on Arsenal’s odd slip-ups.
Form of Key Players & Coping up with injuries
Once again Arsenal’s squad has been badly ravaged by injuries, but this time they have coped. Key players like Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and others are expected to return to full fitness in the second half of the season and it will only make Arsenal stronger as the season progresses.
Mesut Ozil has been in tremendous form this season, but he has been well supported by other forward players like Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott. Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal have been brilliant at the back, while fringe players such as Mathieu Flamini and Joel Campbell have stepped up when required.
None of the players from the current side have won the Premiership title before, but that doesn’t mean Arsenal have an inexperienced squad and may crumble under pressure.
The likes of Petr Cech, Per Mertesacker, Koscielny, Giroud, Flamini, Monreal et al (all of them played against Man City) – are either 29 or over – the core of the side is highly experienced.
Cech has turned out into one of the signings of the season, and in him Arsenal have a calm and authoritative goal keeper who has brought leadership and professionalism to the entire squad along with his on-field heroics.
Oliver Kay of The Times notes: “The Arsenal teams who saw title challenges collapse over the past decade always lacked experience, maturity, leadership and emotional control.”
The current squad may not have the flair and aura of the ‘Invincibles’, the last Arsenal squad to have won the league in 2004, but they are capable of exploiting the vulnerabilities of all of their rival teams. There’s no doubt, Arsenal give the impression of a team best equipped to challenge Manchester City for the title race till the end.