The North London side took on Leeds at home at the weekend to maintain an eight-point cushion over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League. The Gunners are still dreaming of the league title they have been waiting for for 19 long years. Will Arsenal supporters finally have a reason to celebrate when the season is over?
The last so-called golden generation was back in the days of Patrick Vieira or Thierry Henry, the “The Invincibles”. Since then, league droughts have persisted in north London.
Even the Champions League hasn’t been played at Emirates Stadium for quite some time, most recently in the 2016/17 season. Back then, current squad manager Mikel Arteta wore the captain’s armband on his left arm.
The Spanish perfectionist has totally changed the course of the club with his return in 2019. Not only are there more memories of historical achievements in the bowels of the stadium, I am referring in particular to the style of play and Granit Xhaka.
The Swiss captain was literally on the chopping block, Gunners supporters hated him and a departure was imminent. But Arteta talked to him and explained the project in which he is to play one of the main roles.
He told beIN SPORTS: “There was one guy, his name is Mikel Arteta. I will always support him, no matter what happens. I’m 100 per cent sure I wouldn’t be at the club without him.”
The Swiss national team captain has undergone an incredible change over the last three years. His natural authority with his teammates was inherent even then, but he lacked discipline on the field. His “stupid” antics made his teammates weak and the fans were not impressed with his style of play.
But as time went on, Arteta found his former teammate in an ideal position. He moved him up from the classic “six” to the “eight.” And it has to be said, he’s doing really well there. The Basel native is having the most successful season of his career in terms of goals.
He has already scored five goals in the Premier League and assisted five more. And he’s become a huge fan favourite. But what is the main reason Arsenal are the biggest favourites to win the league title with nine rounds to go?
The answer is clear. Transfer policy. In this respect, the Gunners management, led by technical director Edu, is working brilliantly. They have the transfer concept figured out and they stick to it at all times. The summer arrivals of Oleksander Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City have totally changed the mentality of the whole team.
Especially the influence of the Ukrainian midfielder is not only praised by the media. “I started talking in the dressing room and I said: Guys, forget about the top three or top four, we have to think about the title. Some of them laughed, but now nobody is laughing and we are all dreaming,” he said.
And that is why Arsenal are now top of the Premier League with an eight-point lead over second-placed Manchester City.
There was also talk in the autumn that Arsenal had a narrow squad and any injuries to players in the starting line-up could not be replaced by coach Arteta. However, the opposite is true. During the three-month break of Jesus, Eddie Nketiah more than worthily replaced him, Reiss Nelson proved to be a joker, Emile Smith-Rowe returned after a long injury.
And once again the squad was helped by the winter transfer window. The midfield was strengthened by Jorginho from rival Chelsea. The Champions League winner has a wealth of experience that a young team needs. That’s why Arteta brought him in. But even more interesting is the name of Leandro Trossard.
For almost the entire autumn season there was speculation about the arrival of Ukrainian super talent Mykhaylo Mudryk. However, the Gunners were unwilling to accept a sum of 100 million euros (including bonuses), so the expected transfer fell through. Mudryk eventually headed to Chelsea.
However, the club’s management did not abandon the transfer market and brought in Trossard. The Belgian winger has been one of the best players in the team since his arrival at the Emirates Stadium. In six league games, he has scored one goal and provided seven assists.
Mudryk, on the other hand, hasn’t shown much for the Blues so far. So Arsenal are on a great way back to the limelight. The team is also greatly helped by the support of the fans. And not just at home, they are often heard at away games as well. On Sunday, Arsenal face Liverpool at Anfield Road.
Although the Reds are not in form, matches at this stadium are always very challenging. The Gunners have played 30 games here since the Premier League began, winning only six times.
The last time was in the 2012/13 season when Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski scored the goals to win 2-0. Gary Neville, the former Manchester United defender and current expert for Sky Sports, has been claiming all season that Manchester City will win the title, with his former employers finishing second.
But now, for the first time, he has turned the tables and mentioned that if Arsenal manage to win at Liverpool’s ground, it will be the London outfit that will eventually win the title.
“If Arsenal win at Anfield Road, they will win the league,” came from his lips after the weekend’s duels.
Arsenal’s fate for the final nine rounds::
West Ham (away)
Manchester City (away)
Source:: beIN SPORTS, Transfermarkt
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