Arsenal are fantastic right now. Simply brilliant. Wonderful play. Fast and thrilling, even when they lose. Perfect passing. Crisp finishes. Superb combination play. You get the picture.
Okay, please do not kill me on this post. I am neither a fortune teller, palm reader, love guru, snake charmer, nor am I a genius. I have no idea who will win the Premier League this season but I am pretty sure it will not be Manchester United or Liverpool. They will both finish fine but something tells me they are suspect. Before the season started, I thought Chelsea would run the table, and they still might, but here are a few reasons why everybody should be watching Arsenal:
1. The Starting Eleven. Arsene Wenger has started a different starting eleven nearly every match this season. This is a necessity for Champions League teams with multiple international players but some are noticeably lacking (hello Liverpool). If Arsenal are hurting this season, I’m not seeing it. For a team that has been plagued by injuries in the past (and, to a certain degree, in the present) they are looking like a team that has more than a few gems on the bench.
2. Vito Mannone. Yes, as soon as Manuel Almunia, gets to feeling better this fantastic shot-stopper will surely go back to the bench. But, a reliable, talented back-up keeper is seriously helping the entire team’s confidence. For those who don’t believe this is important, I have two words for you: Ben Foster.
3. Goal Differential. Arsenal have the highest goal differential so far this season (+16). Manchester United are a close second (+12) but they seem set to score less points since Christiano Ronhairgel left. Arsenal’s goals are coming from everywhere. This is surely a good sign of things to come.
4. Game In Hand. Okay, before all you Red Devils fans go killing me with all that “you hated on us in your post but we are top of the table” comments, please understand that if Arsenal pick up three points from their game in hand they are in a close second behind Man U. Obviously, anything can happen between now and that time, but looking at the table today, one can surely see that Arsenal are sitting pretty. I guess it’s good to be at the top but it might be better to be able to sit back and know you have a little wiggle room.
5. Arsene Wenger. He’s taken some heat over the past few years but don’t count this guy out. He is a genius in suit. I don’t hear boos (yet) around The Emirates nor do I see him losing to Burnley or Fiorentina (sorry, that was too easy). At this point, he is loving life while Sir Alex and Rafa, especially Rafa, are taking a bit of a knock.
6. Time. With everyone in the top four losing matches already, time is on the Gunners’ side. It’s been a while since they have won anything and this seems like a year when a non-perfect team (yes, they are not perfect) can win the league without 243 points–and Arsenal are due. Every other top four side has an issue (Rafa, transfer ban, no Ronaldo) but Arsenal are cruising along just waiting their turn.
So, will this be the year that the trophy returns to NW6? Who knows? There is a long, long way to go in the season. With Chelsea and Liverpool both losing this weekend, the race is wide open. I guess Arsenal could fall apart and Spurs could kill everybody and run the table. Or maybe Man City will truly cash in with some serious consistency. Whichever way it ends up, I know I’ll be watching!