Arsenal – Serious Title Contenders?

If you had told me that after the first game of the season where Arsenal lost 3-1 at home to Aston Villa – who by all accounts were fortunate to stay in the league last season; that Arsenal would be serious title contenders come the end of the season, I would have eaten my hat in disbelief!

However, today they sit pretty at the top of the Barclays Premier League table with seven games gone and, with the acquisition of Mesut Özil have probably the best midfield in the Premier League at the moment. Aaron Ramsey is playing the football of his life, Jack Wilshere is only starting to pepper passes and unlock defences, and with Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla along with Theo Walcott to come back from injury, surely it’s all good news for Gunners fans.

Long Wait for Silverware

arsenal_fa_cup_2005It’s been a long eight years since arsenal had silverware in the trophy cabinet, and with that trophy cabinet gathering more and more dust by the season, would Arsenal fans take anything this season? A League Cup? An FA cup? Or does Arsenal boss, Arsène Wenger – whose job was under serious scrutiny after the first game of the season, when Arsenal still hadn’t made any signings in the transfer market, have other plans for bigger and more illustrious prizes this season?

It seems to me that Arsenal have finally sorted out the problems where they don’t seem to be leaking as many goals as they had previously done in the past. There also seems to be a strength and depth in the squad with clear evidence of this from their midfield depth along with the capable Carl Jenkinson – a willing replacement for the injured Bacary Sagna lately.

However, it seems to be that with most top teams in the Premier League targeting a top four finish come the end of the season instead of trying to win some silverware like the League Cup or the FA cup, that this is the way forward especially with the financial aspect being crucial to obtaining a spot in the Champions League and the prestige that comes with it. However, what about the prestige that ever came with winning the League Cup or the FA cup? Has Arsène Wenger moved the attention away from both tournaments and focused mainly on trying to get a place in the Champions League consistently year after year? Would Arsenal fans who crave the success of their team not be willing to take the chance on winning a trophy come the end of the season instead of getting fourth place?

Wenger’s Capabilities

ozil_and_giroudIt has been quite evident and apparent in the last number of seasons that Arsène Wenger has concentrated much of his time on the league form of Arsenal in the assurance that they would qualify for the Champions League, whatever the measures needed to achieve that. It has also been fair to say that many very good – and some would even say world class – players have left the Emirates stadium in the last number of seasons, just when they seemed to be reaching their peak in performance.  Examples would include, Cesc Fàbregas, Samir Nasri and Alex Song. These are all massive losses to any team, but for Arsène Wenger who has primed himself as being at the head of one of the best production lines in youth developments throughout Europe, that must have hurt a lot to see them leave Arsenal.

However, what could possibly have been their motive to want a move out of Arsenal? The prospect of winning trophies I would have thought would have been the only reason, well, along with the possibility of earning higher wages in some cases. That is why I feel that the acquisition of Mesut Özil on the last day of the transfer window by Wenger could turn out to be the best bit of business that Wenger has done since the time where he acquired Henry to play at Highbury, and by all accounts I would firmly believe that it was a bargain at just over forty million pounds – as many people would have seen Özil as more valuable than that. It also makes me more sick as a Manchester United fan to have heard from journalist Graham Hunter that there was meant to have been interest from Manchester United on the last day also, however that ended up going ‘belly-up’ as a result.

Arsenal’s season prospects

Arsenal can look forward to the rest of the season with great hope that the wait for trophy can finally end this season with success. If they go without crippling injuries to important players, keep Mesut Özil fit and well and perhaps make a few new signings in the January transfer window as well, they could in my opinion be onto something special this season. Who would have thought it after day one of the Premier League season eh?

Manchester United fan, but love all things Premier League and Champions League!
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