Wenger Right to Fire Back at TV Critics, Arsenal CAN Win the Premier League

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterDecember 4, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26:  Manager Arsene Wenger of Arsenal looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Arsenal and Olympique de Marseille at Emirates Stadium on November 26, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Saturday ended with Arsenal sitting seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table having demolished a stubborn Cardiff City side in South Wales.

On Sunday that gap was shortened to four, but at the 13-game mark the Gunners are rolling on despite a disappointing start to the 2013-14 season.

We are around one third of the way through the campaign and no team has been more consistently impressive than Arsene Wenger's troops, yet when asked if the Gunners could win the league, BBC Match of the Day's pundits offered up a simple "No." in response.

The cast of Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer and occasional guests have long been known to doubt any team without significant pedigree, and their simplified reasoning for doubting Arsenal is that they haven't won it in eight years.

Much is said about the club on a daily basis given its stature in world football, but on this particular occasion, Wenger has taken the bait and bitten back.

He told The Daily Mirror:

Often, he [the pundit] doesn't sustain his opinion by some work he has done to support that argument.

If you just say, ‘Arsenal will win the championship' or 'Arsenal won’t win the championship because they haven’t won it for eight years’, then I think it’s just an opinion.

When I arrived here, people explained I couldn't win the title as I am foreign. Everybody has their own logic.

If we didn’t win for eight years it is because we weren’t good enough in the important moments of the season. We have a good opportunity to show we are good enough, so let’s take it.

This rebuttal comes in the same seven-day stretch that Andre Villas-Boas spoke out in his defence against some questionable quoting from The Daily Mail, and it proves, above all else, that Wenger is serious about getting his team over the finish line this season.

He speaks with passion about his side's chances, and he's right to do so: Arsenal have as good a chance as any of the "usual suspects" of winning the Premier League, and you're mad if you don't agree.

We've now reached the stage where Aaron Ramsey's hot streak is turning into quality over form; Mesut Ozil is a world-class playmaker who changes teams single-handedly; Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta are the envy of many teams and Olivier Giroud is finally showing his skill set in England.

The back line, too, has been one of the finest in Europe this season, with the Per Mertesacker-Laurent Koscielny partnership gelling impressively and Wojciech Szczesny improving fast.

The interchanging and movement in the Gunners' midfield is akin to that of the star-studded XIs from  title-winning seasons a decade ago, and there's no doubt Jack Wilshere and Ramsey have the potential to be two of the very best. Ozil already is.

CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 30:  Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal (16) is congratulated by Theo Walcott as he scores their third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Arsenal at Cardiff City Stadium on November 30, 2013 in Cardiff, W
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Depth in the striking position is an obvious concern, but it's easy to forget Lukas Podolski is a naturalised centre-forward who is on the cusp of returning to fitness.

Yes, centre-back and right-back cover would also be just dandy, but no team in world football is 100 percent happy with what they have.

With the building blocks in place and the belief flowing through the club, no team looks more likely to win the Premier League this season than Arsenal right now. Chelsea are grinding through inconsistencies, Manchester City continually lose away, Tottenham have been cut adrift and Manchester United are unpredictable post-Sir Alex Ferguson.

It could all change—it probably will, several times—but it's refreshing to see Wenger speak out and defend his men as it signals the belief he retains in this group.

"Embarrassing" is the word most apt in describing the moment Match of the Day's pundits squirmed in their seats and said "no" to Arsenal winning the title; it was almost as if they were searching for a reason but couldn't find one quick enough.