Arsenal FC: Why the Gunners Could Be Genuine Title Contenders
It's amazing how quickly things can change in football.
Just a month ago, Arsenal had just lost their first game of the Premier League season in a shocking 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa. The club hadn't spent a penny all summer, and Arsenal were yet again in "crisis mode."
Fast forward four weeks, and the Gunners are top of the Premier League table, having won all of their games since that disastrous opening-day loss—including a sweet victory over local rivals Tottenham.
Everything seems to be falling into place for Arsenal (except for a growing injury list, but we'll get to that later), and Arsenal's 3-1 win over Sunderland this weekend showed why the North London outfit could be genuine title contenders this season.
Starting with the subject on everyone's lips, Mesut Ozil's debut could not have gone better, as it took him just 10 minutes before assisting Olivier Giroud's goal. Everything about the German playmaker was silky and he fitted into the side seamlessly, despite barely knowing his teammates.
Oh, and he was reportedly feeling ill just the day before. Just imagine what Ozil will be doing once he's fully fit and gets to know his fellow Gunners.
For all the hype surrounding the £42 million man, though, it was an unlikely name that stole the spotlight against Sunderland. Aaron Ramsey has been playing the best football of his life, and continued his rich vein of form with a brilliant brace at the Stadium of Light.
It's difficult to put a finger on what exactly has got into Ramsey, but he's transformed his game completely. Only a year ago he was bereft of confidence, and his role in the squad was unclear.
There were times when looked as if the Welshman would never recover from the horrific injury suffered at Stoke in 2010, but his drive and determination have seen him evolve into a goalscoring midfielder and a key component of the current Arsenal side.
The midfield as a whole were magnificent against Sunderland, dictating the play as Arsenal boasted 69 percent possession.
Jack Wilshere probably played his best game so far this season and looks to be getting back to full fitness—with the addition of Ozil, the Englishman can now influence matches from a deeper role rather than from a No.10 position (even though he wears that shirt).
Mathieu Flamini is beginning to prove that the club dodged a £20 million bullet. Flamini wasn't exactly what Arsenal fans had in mind in terms of a defensive midfield signing this summer (think more along the lines of Luiz Gustavo or Lars Bender), but the Frenchman is doing a fantastic job getting stuck in and barking orders.
If there's any area of the squad that doesn't need strengthening, it's midfield. With the plethora of talented midfielders on the books, it's almost a blessing in disguise that the likes of Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta, and Tomas Rosicky are injured.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger would have one hell of a selection headache if everyone was fit.
Who's to say Arsenal can't make a serious challenge for the Premier League title? They have a title-winning center-back pairing in Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, a world-beating midfield, and one of the league's in-form strikers in Giroud up front.
Will Arsenal challenge for the title this season?
With Jose Mourinho's second coming at Chelsea already hitting a stumbling block, Manchester United looking desperately Fergie-less and Manchester City underperforming, the Premier League title is there for the taking.
The only thing standing in Arsenal's way is squad depth, but if they can make it to January and still be near the top of the table, Wenger's men could have a real shot at it.
Are Arsenal genuine title contenders, or is it way too early to tell?
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