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Why Wenger’s Arsenal Are The Unquestionable Premier League Title Favorites

emirates stadium Why Wenger’s Arsenal Are The Unquestionable Premier League Title Favorites

Following Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Chelsea in the League Cup on Tuesday, we read analysis far and wide about how the Gunners title credentials had been unmasked by the result. These theories gained traction among many analysts during the course of this week, but they were laughable. Bashing Arsene Wenger has long proven to be a rite of passage in certain areas of the British press. Yet the Arsenal Manager has a side that he built with his own hands that, from where I sit, is the most complete team in England.

Arsenal, unlike most of the top sides in English football, have already been tested depth wise and come out ahead. Losing the likes of Lukas Podolski, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin and Theo Walcott to injury so early in the season could have been a devastating blow to most sides. However it gave Arsene Wenger a chance to show off his club’s depth and sense of purpose this season.

The Gunners have played more progressive attacking football, combined with better defensive shape than any club in England this season. They have held the ball well in midfield despite the constant shuffling of the midfield quintet. To this point in the season, Aaron Ramsey has not only been the best player in England’s top division. He’s been the most versatile footballer, shifting seamlessly from wide on the left to a deep playing playmaker, to defensive midfielder and to attacking midfield.

The theories about Arsenal’s imminent collapse go something like this: The Gunners have not played anyone difficult except Spurs (at the Emirates) and they are beating up on the bottom feeders and they are surely going to be exposed soon. This line of reasoning avoids the simple fact that in the past several years when Arsenal has fallen from contention early in the campaign, they were dropping points to the same sorts of sides in the same types of matches they are claiming three points regularly this season.

The other line reasoning about the Gunners preordained fall from the top of the league is that without the type of squad depth of other top sides, they are sure to fall away. But in reality we have already seen Arsenal’s depth tested in a way no other top sides depth has. Minimal fitness issues have thrown both Manchester clubs, the top two clubs in the league each of the past two seasons, well off the pace the Gunners have set in the league. Equally relevant, the depth boasted by the likes of Spurs has led to a discombobulated flow in matches and a slowness in the development of understanding between all of their new signings.

Signing Mesut Özil was the big deal that Arsene Wenger needed to appease his critics. But the team was well settled and poised for greatness even before the Özil signing. The return to the Emirates of Mathieu Flamini was mocked by many in the media and Arsenal fans alike, but his signing was the perfect addition to the team. The Gunners have been lacking a real ball winning presence in midfield since Alex Song was sold to Barca. Arsenal needed a player like Flamini who also understood the club ethos and principle around being a Gunner.

The core of this Arsenal team has now been together for a number of years. They have grown up together and understand each other’s game in a way that the top starts on the other title contenders simply do not. The distinct style, attacking principles and club ideology that Wenger has drilled into the likes of Ramsey and Kieren Gibbs, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Carl Jenkinson, among others, gives Arsenal an advantage over its opposition.

Wenger’s project was always going to take time much to the chagrin of impatient supporters and elements in the media that genuinely admired the Arsenal manager. But this season as has already been demonstrated, Wenger has his best team since the immortal “invincibles” and they have a better shot to win the title than any other side in English football.

Editor’s note: For the latest Arsenal news, analysis and opinion, visit our Arsenal team page.

This entry was posted in Arsenal, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

14 Responses to Why Wenger’s Arsenal Are The Unquestionable Premier League Title Favorites

  1. John says:

    You guys are the new bleachertalk… and not in a good way

  2. Flyvanescence says:

    Some really good points, although i still think Chelsea are going to run away with the league. Arsenal probably second and a decent gap back to third and fourth, which will be a total tossup between the other five teams.

    Arsenal have 1 weakness: they only have 1 striker. If Giroud loses form or goes down, they have issues. Walcott as an emergency probably wouldnt work as well either, and hes been hurt often also.

    Chelsea have 2 dependable strikers and are not dependent on them scoring goals as Arsenal are on Giroud. That is why i give them the edge.

  3. eddymc2 says:

    Good points, but as an Arsenal fan I can’t really dare to hope. Personally I remain skeptical until we’ve played all of the other 19 teams. I’m definitely not with the Alan Hansens who think we have no chance – we ARE top a quarter of the season in, after all – but if I’m not going to go to one extreme, I can barely justify going to the other. Can we? Yes. Will we? I’m not a diviner.

  4. Mike says:

    Arsenal have definitely improved from last season and are getting the results they need to remain as title contenders. Chelsea have a much deeper squad and can withstand injuries and still remain in the race for the title while Arsenal don’t have the same luxury. Chelsea are favorites but Arsenal can challenge and if Arsenal are either top or within 4 points of the top come January I think they can win the title then. Arsenal always do better in the second half of the season.

    Arsenal have a very important game against Dortmund in midweek so I can see Wenger not risking some players who might not be 100% when they play Liverpool tomorrow. I can see Arsenal dropping points tomorrow as they will have one eye on Dortmund. Chelsea should beat Newcastle but Mourinho has never won at Saint James’ Park. I think this could be a draw. Newcastle are a Jekyll and Hyde team so who knows which Newcastle team shows up.

    Manchester City are too inconsistent to win the title this season and Pellegrini is more ineterested in doing well in the Champions League. They will finish third.

    Fourth is up for grabs.

    • Len F says:

      I completely agree with your assessment. I definitely think Chelsea has superior depth.

      Tough spot for Arsenal this weekend. I would prefer they put the emphasis on Liverpool as the Dortmund match will be extremely difficult regardless given the extra rest Dortmund will have after completely dismantling Stuttgart today.

  5. justafan says:

    Arsenal have been playing beautiful football, but I don’t believe they’ve played any contenders yet. Also, I think they lack a bit of depth, and as the season progresses, (and a few injuries) might cause them to fade a bit.

  6. carlos says:

    To bring some color into this conversation.I honestly think Arsenal are overrated, yes they play great but look at some stats.
    12 of their 22 points have been because they have played against the bottom 4. Title favorites??? Not yet
    play some possible title contenders then we can come to that conclusion.

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