There’s no doubt that this is one of the craziest Premier League seasons in a long time.
And despite Arsenal’s form being hit and miss recently, including costly defeats to Newcastle and Spurs, we still currently sit 2nd in the form table behind Manchester United.
Last 6 games, points from a possible 18:
1. Manchester United (14) 4 Wins, 2 Draws
2. Arsenal (12) 4 Wins, 2 Defeats
3. Bolton Wanderers (11) 3 Wins, 2 Draws, 1 Defeat
4. Tottenham Hotspur (10) 3 Wins, 1 Draw, 2 Defeats
= Stoke City (10) 3 Wins, 1 Draw, 2 Defeats
= Liverpool (10) 3 Wins, 1 Draw, 2 Defeats
7. Manchester City (9) 2 Wins, 3 Draws, 1 Defeat
13. Chelsea (7) 2 Wins, 1 Draw, 3 Defeats
Manchester United are top of the league with 31 points, we’re third on goal difference with Chelsea on 29 and have 3 points on Manchester City, and 4 on Tottenham.
Would we have taken that at the start of the season?
Of course we would.
Before the North London Derby, I posted that Arsenal need to take advantage of Chelsea and United’s respective problems. Arsenal had the perfect motivation to win that game, which was to beat their fiercest rivals and get to the top of the league. I said that if Arsenal couldn’t win that game then they don’t deserve to win the league.
And it’s clear that the same questions year in year out still remain.
Do Arsenal have a world class goalkeeper capable of helping Arsenal win the league? How come we lack that “mental strength” Arsene keeps talking about and throw away leads?
More importantly, can this Arsenal team learn from their mistakes?
There’s no doubt that this Arsenal side are talented enough and maturing at the right time.
Samir Nasri is finally putting in the brilliant performances we expect of him. Chamakh has been fantastic this season, scoring goals and I’ve been impressed how quickly he has settled into the Arsenal team. His finishing has been slightly erratic at times but his work-rate is first class and he still manages to score important goals.
Fabregas has still been performing despite having injury problems, Rosicky looks like he is coming back to full fitness and form, Wilshire has been brilliant so far this season and Fabianski is finally winning fans amongst the Arsenal faithful.
Song is still a subject of debate with the Arsenal fans, but personally I think he has been excellent this season.
And now to the defence.
I still maintain that Arsenal’s collapse against Spurs could have been avoided if Djourou had been playing. He was immense against Wolves and Everton and I was at Goodison Park and was extremely impressed with his performance. He has fantastic positioning and seems to be in the right place at the right time – he intercepts so many important balls, he is solid in the air and has strength and pace. In my opinion he is a much more solid option than Koscielny.
We’re just going to have to accept that the crossing of Sagna and Clichy isn’t going to get better, although Sagna did put in a great ball for Chamakh against Villa which forced a fantastic save from Brad Friedel, and Clichy did provide the cross for Song’s winning goal against West Ham.
The frustrating thing is Arsenal are capable of lifting the Premier League trophy come May. But how many times have we said that over the last 5 seasons?
The games against the Top Five will be key. We’ve already drawn against Liverpool away, beaten Manchester City and lost against Spurs and Chelsea, but still sit 3rd in the league. We have Chelsea and Manchester United in December and providing we can stay within touching distance going into Christmas, those games are going to be real 6 pointers.
I’ve always said that you can tell whether Arsenal have title credentials 10 games into the season, but we’re 15 games in and I still have no idea.
Chelsea are struggling without John Terry, Frank Lampard and their good luck charm Ray Wilkins, but I can’t see them struggling for much longer. I saw snippets of their matches against Newcastle and Birmingham, and you could say that they were unlucky in both games. Ben Foster had one of the best games of his career to keep a clean sheet and against Newcastle they had a lot of possession but couldn’t make it count – they didn’t play badly in either match.
Manchester United have taken a couple of months to find their feet but a 7-0 demolition of Blackburn Rovers will kick-start their season, and unfortunately probably Berbatov’s as well – and they have a fully fit Wayne Rooney yet to find his form as well. Once United get into full flow they will be the team to catch.
Liverpool and Spurs will be there or thereabouts and while Arsenal, Chelsea and United have been inconsistent these two teams are even more so. The same goes for Manchester City, who seem to perform in the big games but lack motivation in the smaller ones.
So that leaves Arsenal. Can we do it?
Yes, of course we can. Players like Nasri are playing their best football for a good few years now. Our squad is stronger than it has ever been and you feel that injuries to Fabregas won’t severely affect the team like it used to in the past.
Chamakh gives us that edge up front and Van Persie and Bendtner haven’t even completely returned to first team football yet. Wilshire is holding his own in midfield, Song is always improving and hopefully Rosicky and Arshavin can push on from last season.
Will we do it?
Yes, I believe.
But what do you think? Do Arsenal have what it takes this season or are we destined for another Top Four finish?