Arsenal beat Wolverhampton Wanderers in impressive fashion, and more heads have been turned. The nerves have already started for Arsenal fans but also for rival supporters as the smell of a potential title race between the red side of North London and the sky blues of Manchester has already begun. Can the Gunners maintain it?
There’s an elephant in the room when talking about Arsenal. Some say it’s like when an elephant is on top of a tree; no one knows how it got there, but it will eventually fall down… or will this finally be the time it stays there?
A dazzling second-half performance at Molineux was enough to see them earn a 2-0 win and move five points clear at the top of the Premier League table. The Gunners will be top at Christmas.
A tense first-half was kickstarted by Granit Xhaka being subbed off early in the game due to injury.
However, there seems to be a feeling of resilience, patience and determination within this Gunners team. This is a side that won’t give up and Wolves were the victims of that in the 55th minute through Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard. He then doubled the tally around 20 minutes later which secured all three points in an impressive and controlled showing – a theme of most Arsenal games this season.
Arsenal go five points clear but has the project finally gone ‘bang’?
So… Can they go all the way? The million-dollar question. The underlying stats would suggest that Mikel Arteta’s team deserve to be where they are. Outside of the fortunate win at Elland Road they’ve won every game on xG in the Premier League, according to Understat. They also have the second most prolific attack, and have scored 12 goals from midfield – the most of any ‘Big Six’ side.
Arsenal’s diverse attack and steady midfield have somewhat overshadowed their defence. This defence has the joint-most clean sheets so far and the joint least goals conceded. This defence has also kept six away clean sheets already. A famous quote comes to mind: “Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.” Is this backline title worthy?
However, it’s not all rosy at the top for Arsenal because even though they will top the table at Christmas for the first time since 2007/08, they haven’t gone on to win the title when in this position in any of the last five times they’ve been there.
Arteta has officially guided the Gunners to their best-ever start to a top-flight campaign in their 135-year existence. This is with, on average, the youngest squad in the Premier League. However, their youth could eventually prove to be their Achilles heel. They had the youngest squad last season as well and were frontrunners in the top-four race before running out of gas.
Arteta has been developing this team for the last three years, learning from Pep Guardiola himself. Teacher vs Novice. The script has been written. There are already reports that Guardiola is considering his Manchester City future and will debate his future during this World Cup break… is he about to hand over the baton?
A sleeping giant may have finally woken up. There have always been glimpses over the last 18 years, but those have proven to be mere false dawns. Now, finally, you’re seeing that giant wake up, and return back to the throne. It’s set up to be an exciting title race and one that will be either heartbreak or pandemonium for Arsenal fans.