Euro 2020 Special

Premier League: Arsenal Make A Historic Start To The Season Ahead Of Winter Break

Arsenal, once considered the weakest of the “Big Six” clubs of English football, have now become one of the favourites to win the Premier League this season. With just one fixture left in their calendar before the World Cup break, the Gunners now sit at the top of the table with 34 points from 13 fixtures – two points clear of defending champions Manchester City. Barring a surprise loss to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United in September, the Gunners have not faltered in any of their games.

Here we take a look at the reasons behind Arsenal’s terrific start to the season, and their chances of winning the Premier League after a gap of almost three decades:


Long-Term Vision Finally Paying Dividends

This impressive run is not powered by luck alone, with Mikel Arteta’s long-term vision finally paying dividends at the Emirates Stadium. When Arsenal dropped points for three straight games and fell to the last spot in the Premier League table in the 2021-22 Premier League season, it looked like Mikel Arteta’s career at the Emirates Stadium could come to a swift end. But a slew of academy inductions and brilliant tactics from the 38-year-old manager saw the Gunners climb up the ranks to finish the season in fifth place, narrowingly missing out on a UEFA Champions League spot.

Arsenal also made key transfer signings ahead of the season, with Gabriel Jesus joining the Gunners from Manchester City for a whopping £46.98 million. The former Manchester City assistant coach also signed Oleksandr Zinchenko from the Citizens, while the club saw the departures of Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Konstantinos Mavropanos.

Mikel Arteta is famous for having “tunnel vision”, with a firm focus on the game ahead instead of worrying about the future. But the Spaniard has also shown his ability to focus on the club’s long-term prospects, willing to take risks and experiment every game to optimise his team’s overall performance across competitions. The cleansing of the club last season was followed by crucial additions like those of Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka, who have now become the torchbearers of Arsenal’s renaissance.


Attack Boosted By Arrival of Gabriel Jesus

Despite not scoring any goals for the Gunners since last month, Gabriel Jesus has become the key man for the Gunners. Since the former Manchester City star donned the No. 9 jersey at the Emirates Stadium in August, he became a key part of Arsenal’s attacking units. The early impact he delivered for Arsenal – five goals in ten league games – propelled Arsenal to the top of the table as well as boosted their confidence as a whole, since attacking had been their major weakness last season.

Gabriel Jesus possesses incredible mobility – playing with equal intensity both on the defensive end and in the penalty box. With Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka joining Jesus at the front, Arsenal now boast one of the strongest attacking lineups in the Premier League. All together, Arsenal scored 31 goals so far this season in the league – second only to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

Arsenal have also changed their approach to the game – instead of waiting for a miracle to happen in the middle of the game, the Gunners now actively attack the opponent’s goalpost right from the start. In fact, Arsenal scored the opening goal in 10 of their 13 fixtures so far, putting them on the offensive and allowing the strikers to take more risks upfront.


Improved Tactics In The Middle

Arsenal displayed some of their brilliance in defending the ball last season itself, but they have outdone themselves this season in this department. The Gunners have conceded just 11 goals so far this season – one less than Manchester City. If the slip-up at Old Trafford is ignored, the record is even more staggering – just eight goals conceded in the remaining ten fixtures.

The Gunners have excelled at the possession of the ball, similar to Manchester City’s tactics, they spend most of their time passing the ball around to develop their attack. Since the start of the season, Mikel Arteta rarely made any change to the starting lineup – with the stability and game time allowing players to develop to their full potential in the middle.


Can Arsenal Win the Premier League?

Despite their terrific start, Arsenal are by no means the clear frontrunners to win the Premier League. Just 14 of the 38 fixtures each team is scheduled to play will be played before the upcoming World Cup break, and every team will have an accelerated schedule from January. This will be a major issue for Mikel Arteta, as the squad’s depth is low and the replacements are far from ideal. How he manages player fatigue will be the key to their consistency.

Then there is the juggernaut of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, which continues to roll on every season without major slip-ups. Similar to Chelsea’s fall last season, the Citizens are always just a few points away. The postponement of the Arsenal – Manchester City fixture does not help matters, and the Gunners will have the pressure of expectations on them this season – something they haven’t experienced in decades.

A 1-0 win over archrivals Chelsea in the Northwest London derby on Sunday has propelled them to the top of the table once again. The Gunners now only have to fend off the challenge from Wolverhampton Wanderers to remain the league leaders before the start of the long break.

Fans will have to wait and see if Arsenal can manage to claim the Premier League title like Liverpool or falter midway like Chelsea last season.




Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.