Although we’re only four games into the current Premier League campaign, plenty has already happened in the context of Arsenal’s season. Sitting fifth with seven points from a possible 12, Unai Emery’s side have had a decent start to the season and are arguably still yet to properly hit their stride.
So, how can the Gunners performances and results be assessed so far? Are the Emirates faithful set for another season of frustration? Can Arsenal push on this year and realistically challenge the dominance of Liverpool and Manchester City? Or is it simply still too early to tell?
The Story So Far
The wins against both Burnley and Newcastle look pretty routine on paper. However, Newcastle showed that they have a game in them when they turned Spurs over – and with Ashley Barnes on form, Burnley are tricky customers with the style of football Sean Dyche employs. Whilst we’re on the subject of Spurs, Arsenal’s second half performance has to go down as one of the best in recent memory. On another day, the Gunners could have come away with three points and perhaps even the same amount of additional goals. However, the most pleasing display this season has to go down in the 3-1 loss at Liverpool. The performance was a stark contrast from the dismal effort at Anfield last season and but for the profligacy of Aubameyang and Pepe, Arsenal could have conceivably walked away with a point. All in all, the signs are encouraging.
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Is Four Still The Magic Number?
With the efficiency of Manchester City and Liverpool, there’s undoubtedly a “best of the rest” competition currently going in within the Premier League. However, with the two teams inevitably taking points off each other, is it inconceivable that Arsenal could challenge for the Premier League title? Based on what we’ve seen so far, Arsenal look potent enough in attack to cause any team problems. In addition to this, the performance of Guenduozi against Spurs showed a player that is quickly maturing and could finally fill the void that has been missing in the centre of the park for some time. With regards to the defence, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles and Kolasinac all seem to be gelling rather nicely. If David Luiz can step up to the plate there’s no reason why Arsenal can’t go far this season. With most Premier League betting providers, the Gunners are 11/1 to finish in the top two come the end of the season. And at that price, many could and should be tempted.
Glimpses of Pepe Potential
Make no mistake about, it *is* possible to simply outscore teams in this league. If the defence continues to leak goals (and Luiz continues to have his moments of madness), this may be the best way forward for Unai Emery. Step forward Nicolas Pepe. Although the 24-year-old has yet to find the net since his £72 million record-breaking move from Lille, he has shown glimpses of potential and had a few good moments against an experienced Spurs backline at the Emirates last week. Ultimately, the Ivorian has a bright future ahead of him and the quicker Arsenal can incorporate him, the better their chances of success.
Year on year, both neutrals and Arsenal fans talk up the Gunners’ chances of success in the upcoming season. With this in mind, it’s often better to keep tight-lipped rather than run the risk of being disappointed again. However, you can’t help but feel that sooner or later, Arsenal are going to click and become a force again. Have we seen enough so far to suggest that this could be the season? Perhaps. Let’s just wait and see this time, eh?