What if Arsenal are top of the tree by Christmas?
Matt Haynes | November 12, 2015
Arsenal, once again find themselves in a prime position, currently joint-top of the Premier League and second by goal difference to Manchester City. Coral review what Arsene Wenger and the Gunners have to do to ensure they are title winners.
Gunners gaining momentum
One of the form teams in the English top flight, Arsenal, 13/8 with Coral to win it, appear to have overcome any early season teething problems, despite much criticism about Wenger’s lack of activity in the summer transfer market, with the Frenchman only electing to sign Petr Cech.
However, it is a blockbuster signing from just over two summers ago who has stepped up to the challenge and been one of the best players so far, dominating the assist charts.
Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil now has 10 assists in 11 matches. Like Eden Hazard for Chelsea last season, he is the one stand-out player for Arsenal who has taken responsibility and enjoys a flourishing on-field relationship with Alexis Sanchez.
Manchester City meeting key
If Arsenal are still in the top two when Manuel Pellegrini’s men arrive at the Emirates four days before Christmas, this match can turn out to be season-defining.
Much depends on how Sergio Aguero responds to his comeback from injury and Wenger’s tactical gameplan. There is no doubt that the Gunners have the beating of their opponents; a comprehensive 3-0 win against, at the time, an in-form Manchester United side a few weeks ago showed that on their day, Arsenal can beat anyone.
Should they take three points, it will be a huge psychological boost in the title race. Olivier Giroud, after a poor start has gradually started to remind everyone of the talent he is, with Wenger learning to play to his strengths.
The centre forward can cause problems for City’s backline and many will remember his wonder-strike in Arsenal’s Community Shield win against Pellegrini’s side just over a year ago.
Fresh faces in January advisable
They don’t have to be world beaters or flagship names, though if Wenger can identify talent to boost the squad depth, it will help them considerably during the second half of the campaign.
Last term, Wenger, as he tends to, opted for potential, bringing in centre back Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal and 17-year-old Krystian Bielik. Understandably, prices for players are inflated in January, so fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for a star signing, though a swoop for more experienced campaigners, even on loan, could be wise.
Players for example, who know how to win and can handle tough opposition will be the optimum options. Someone like Inter Milan’s Felipe Melo, could be one such player, who at 32 could be a possible temporary alternative and who knows what it takes to win major honours and can add steel to their midfield.
If they can get players back from injury, though, this will be one of the main factors for them challenging, which will unquestionably raise their status once more.
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