Arsenal currently sit in 4th position in the league following a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Southampton, meaning the Gunners are yet to register a league win in 2016 and have now gone three league games without scoring a goal- the first time since 2009.
The start to the new year has brought about a sense of pessimism among many fans and has fans divided in opinion whether Arsenal will mount a serious title challenge this season. Here are six reasons why I believe that Arsenal can win the Premier League.
- Weakness of the top teams- It has been an incredible season in the Premier League thus far with plenty of shock results and entertaining games. The emergence of Leicester City has been a breath of fresh air to the Premier League and they must be taken seriously as a title contender due to the longevity of their good form which sees them currently sitting at the top of the table.
However, last season’s champions Chelsea have had a dreadful season, as well as Manchester United and Liverpool who have both had mediocre seasons which provides Arsenal with a real shot at the title competing with Manchester City, Tottenham and Leicester as their main rivals, who are arguably weaker than title contenders of previous seasons.
None of the top teams have seemed to take a grasp of the top spot with various changes at the top as a result of a lack consistency which leaves any of the current top four with a realistic chance of winning the league, including Arsenal.
- Players coming back with injury- The Gunners have been plagued by injuries all season with long term injuries to first team players such as Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez, Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck. At one point in the season Arsenal were left with 10 first team players on the side-lines at a time. Therefore, it is must be recognised that Arsenal had done considerably well to stay at the summit of the table come the end of 2015 due to the lack of options available to Arsene Wenger at times and despite a poor start to the new year they still have a good chance of winning the league.
It is also hard to imagine that many other of the top teams would have been able to continue to maintain a serious title challenge whilst having 10 first team players injured. However, the returns of Alexis Sanchez, Francis Coquelin as well as the soon expected returns of Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere are likely to give Arsenal a well needed boost as they approach the final third of the season.
- Big teams still left to play- The fact that Arsenal still have some big clashes against the top teams, including Leicester at home, Manchester City away and also Tottenham away could provide a vital boost in three separate games which will be categorized as ‘six pointers’.
Arsenal have drastically improved their performances and results in the games against the top teams compared to results of previous seasons and positive results in each of these games may be the edge that the Gunners need to lift the title for the first time in 12 years.
- World class players- In previous seasons of Arsenal may have been guilty of being a few players shy of being able to win the title, however additions over the last 3 seasons, such as Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Petr Cech have provided a new flair to the Arsenal team as well as a meaner defence thanks to the addition of Cech.
Mesut Ozil has had an outstanding season, and has showcased his world class talents which were seen in his days at Real Madrid. The German playmaker already has a remarkable 16 assists to his name- only 4 away from Thierry Henry’s record of 20 in a season. He has proved to be the difference in many games this season and is likely to thrive even further due to the return of Alexis Sanchez who is likely to deliver goals and flair to the Arsenal team as he looks to add to his 10 goals this season.
Furthermore, the addition of Petr Cech between the sticks is arguably the signing of the season as he has provided stability to the defence and currently has the joint most amount of clean sheets in the league with 11.
- Team is developing a winning mentality- The ending of Arsenal’s 9 year trophy drought has meant the club has turned a corner in terms of mentality. Winning the FA Cup in successive years has proved that the team can deal with the pressures of playing in big games.
The two FA Cup successes are likely to have bred a winning mentality within the squad who hopefully have a hunger to taste more success which could help with dealing with the pressures that come in a title race.
Also, players such as Petr Cech, Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez have had success throughout their careers with previous clubs as well as Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil who have won the World Cup which should bring a good amount of desire and composure when playing in high pressure games.
- Rivals vulnerable to injuries- While Arsenal have struggled with injuries all season, challengers Tottenham and Leicester have been lucky as they have been able to keep their key players fit all season.
Therefore, it is difficult to foresee Leicester being able to keep up their title charge if Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez or N’Golo Kante were to get injured. Similarly, Tottenham’s title hopes would be likely to fade if their top scorer Harry Kane or key player Dele Ali were to suffer long term injuries.
Manchester City have been faced with injuries to David Silva, Sergio Aguero and in particular Vincent Kompany which has left them susceptible in defence. They have also recently been hit with an injury to Kevin De Bruyne which could have a substantial effect on their title hopes.