It was looking like a miracle. Arsenal survived their traditional November slump, emerging relatively unscathed into December (even avoiding their recent trick of crumbling at Old Trafford to an average Manchester United side). Defeat this week at Everton was a minor wake-up call, but on the whole, it’s not looking too shabby at all for fans of the Gunners. Toffees defeat aside, it is maybe, just maybe, time for the more optimistic Gooners amongst us to wonder if things are finally starting to click into place for Arsene Wenger’s men.
Despite contract talks with Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez providing a bit of an unwanted sideshow, it could well be time to make Arsenal your pick for a bet on Premier League with Paddy Power, especially since their price may have lengthened just a touch following the Everton loss. But can we really put faith in this being the year to end the league title drought, which of course stretches back to the 2003/04 season and the Invincibles? After all, this is Arsenal we’re talking about; the more likely eventuality would be a sudden capitulation in February and March that sees the team manage to self-combust in its challenge for the league title, Champions League and FA Cup all in the same few weeks!
In a season as competitive as this, though, it is looking like it will be consistency that reaps rewards, as shown by the fortunes of Manchester City, who have gone from starting as early favourites after 10 straight wins to being plunged into a mini-crisis following their recent unimpressive form.
In contrast to this, despite this week’s minor blip, Arsenal have so far been the Steady Eddies. They may not yet have hit the high notes of a 10-match winning streak, but they have proved their grit against another title rival Chelsea in a 3-0 thrashing at the Emirates that was so emphatic it caused Chelsea to change to a new formation.
The season is about to enter the busy festive period, but this should play to the strength in depth in Arsenal’s squad (the only exception being the defence that still requires a boost in January to avoid the error-prone Gabriel being named in the starting 11), so it won’t be long before we start to get a feel as to whether Arsene has finally moulded a team that has the steel and the style to really compete in the Premier League.
— Arsène Wenger (@wenger_stuff) 11 December 2016
Credit: @wenger_stuff via Twitter
Come January there will be the incessant calls for the addition of a new striker and defender to help the club on its bid to achieve more, but if fans are honest, do we really want Arsene Wenger using his chequebook in his usual ‘January way’ by signing injured ageing players who won’t actually add anything to the team (mentioning no names Kim Källström)?
Whatever the final outcome of the season, the only certainty is that unless Arsenal do manage to go on and end the season as champions, we will be subjected to yet more A4 posters calling for an end to the reign of Arsene Wenger. Surely that alone is something that should mean all Gooners should unite for the sake of their own dignity to avoid such embarrassing protests impacting on the club’s (and fans’) image again!