For the last few years, Arsenal have always been missing a key element of their side. A few years ago it was a goalkeeper, then it was a world-class striker, and then it was a solid defence. For so many years they have disappointed their fans with paltry displays across the season that has ultimately seen them miss out on the Champions League for the current season.
Following consecutive defeats against Stoke and Liverpool, it seemed as though Arsenal’s old ghosts were haunting them again. They were already falling behind the top sides and their weaknesses had been exposed, both in their profligacy against Stoke and in their woeful defending against Liverpool. Another season of disappointment beckoned.
However, since the 4-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool on August 27th, Arsenal have not lost. Six wins from seven and a draw against Chelsea has seen them cement their place as favourites in their Europa League group and work their way up the Premier League table.
Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez have looked good up front, while their midfield is finally ticking in that classic Arsenal way. However, the star of the show has been their defence, with four clean sheets in four Premier League games, or three goals conceded in seven games in all competitions. This is a remarkable turnaround from a side that were trounced by Liverpool at the end of August.
It seems as though the Gunners are finally putting together a team that can challenge at the top of the league then. However, Arsene Wenger’s men are likely to fall short yet again, although this time it is likely to be because of the quality of the teams above them. Arsenal remain unbeaten against Chelsea in their two games against the Blues this season, while Liverpool have gone off the boil massively, but it seems as though both Manchester City and Manchester United are some way clear of the chasing pack with regard to ability.
City dominated Chelsea in their last game and were rightful winners, while United look like a very powerful outfit this season. Perhaps many fans will cite that it is the same old near miss scenario, but this time, Wenger is fighting a battle against two sides that are simply better than every other team in the league.