Written by Matthew Fallon
12 long years of pain…The time that Arsenal have gone without being champions, Here is why Arsenal CAN win the league this season…
After a slow start to the season losing to Liverpool on the opening day and drawing away to Leicester. The Gunners have managed to get their season back on track. Since the draw away to Leicester, Arsenal has won six consecutive games on the bounce. The gunners sit second behind leaders Manchester City on goal difference. Here are three reasons why Arsenal CAN win the league.
credit Lloyd Morgan
Arsenal’s squad is the best in years with the additions of Mustafi, Xhaka and Holding bolstering the squad. After getting rid of the so-called “deadwood” in the summer and bringing in top quality signings in the transfer window. Arsenal’s squad has left Arsene Wenger spoilt for choice this season. Being able to send Jack Wilshere out on loan emphasises the squad depth. The central midfield position is the most congested in the side. Players like Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Granit Xhaka, Mohammed Elneny and Aaron Ramsey are all fighting for a place in Arsenal’s midfield.
Squad Depth is the key for Arsenal as they are currently competing in four competitions this year. This means that Arsenal need a big squad to be able to rotate in these competitions.
In recent years Arsenal’s squad has not been strong enough to compete in these competitions. This is mainly because of a number of injuries that the Gunners get every season. Arsenal currently has five first team injuries that include; Aaron Ramsey, Oliver Giroud, Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck and Chuba Akpom who are all out injured. Previously, this would have been a problem but not this year. Arsenal have been able to cope with these injuries well. Which is down to having a better squad which is why Arsenal could win the premier league this year.
Added Steel to the spine
Historically Arsenal have always had a strong spine to their teams. I will take a look into Arsenal’s previous three Premier league winning sides and in particular their spines. Arsenal’s first premier league win came in the 1997/1998 season with a spine of David Seaman, Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit all at the heart of the Arsenal team. In 2001/2002 title winning season Arsenal had a spine of David Seaman, Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira and Ray Parlour.
The invincible team of 2003/04 also had a strong side with players like Jens Lehmann, Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva. So what is the common denominator? All of these players had a nasty side to their game, adding steel to the team. In particular, the 1997/1998 season with the gunners world famous back five and having a good quality spine to the side. These spines also had leaders who can motivate the team to victory. Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira, two of the club’s most successful captains who lead Arsenal to glory.
In 2001/2002 title winning season Arsenal had a spine of David Seaman, Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Patrick Vieira and Ray Parlour. The invincible team also had a strong side with players like Jens Lehmann, Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva. What is the common denominator? All of these players had a nasty side to their game and adding steel to the team. The 1997/1998 season with Arsenal’s world famous back five and having a good quality spine to the side. These spines also had leaders, men who can pick the team up when they are down and motivate the team to victory in particular Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira who are two of the club’s most successful captains who lead Arsenal to glory.
Compare those title-winning spines to previous years where Arsenal lacked steel in the side. With a less physical approach and focusing more on technical players. Such as Cesc Fabregas who changed Arsene Wenger’s outlook on players. This season is different, the summer additions of Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka have added steel to the Arsenal spine. After years of crying out for a defensive midfielder to replace Vieira the gunners signed Granit Xhaka. Shkodran Mustafi has added steel to the defence as Arsene Wenger has finally found a top quality centre-back to partner Koscielny. In what looks like a very solid centre-back pairing which has hit the ground running. Arsenal’s current spine is Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny Shkodran Mustafi, Granit Xhaka and Santi Cazorla/Francis Coquelin which is stronger than it has been since Arsenal left Highbury back in 2006.
Ability to grind out results
All of the great premier league title winning sides of Manchester United, Chelsea and even Arsenal have all been able to grind out results. Winning when you play bad is a sign of champions right? Well, that is what Arsenal have been doing so far this season with last minute winners against Southampton and Burnley.
The last minute winners against Southampton and Burnley in recent weeks have come when not playing well. This is a sign that this season is different where Arsenal may have struggled to win those types of games.
This was emphasised in Arsenal’s champions league opening game against PSG in Paris where the Gunners managed to secure a hard-fought point. After being second best for 75 minutes Arsenal managed to nick a point and could have won the match late on. Years ago Arsenal would have crumbled after going a goal down and rolled over and taken a beating but despite going 1-0 down inside a minute. Instead, Arsenal managed to stay strong and withstand attack after attack from PSG and hit them on the break. Arsenal grabbed a crucial equaliser which would ultimately determine who takes the top spot in the group.
So Arsenal fans what do you think? Can we finally end the drought? Can we win the league? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Alvin Leong