Arsenal FC: Why Gunners Can Make Late Push for Title
Life at the Emirates is pretty tranquil at the moment. And to think that Arsenal was hovering above the relegation zone just a month or so ago is pretty wild.
Arsene Wenger’s men have put nerves aside and addressed a lot of mistakes; and they are looking to surge up the table as the year comes to a close.
The first few rounds of the schedule proved very unflattering for the Gunners. Having to play Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham all within a couple weeks of each other certainly made for tough points.
But the club has been resilient through the rough stretches, and they appear ready to challenge once again.
Let’s examine why Arsenal will be in the thick of things till the very end when it comes to the title chase.
1. Memories of Last Season
Last season, Arsenal did just about everything right, combining their attractive football with timely play for most of the schedule.
A visit from Liverpool in the closing months saw Emmanuel Eboue hand the Reds a draw, and from there everything seemed to fall apart. Arsenal went from legitimate title contenders to questioning their participation in this year’s Champions League, as they dropped point after point.
The memories of last year’s collapse are still fresh in the minds of players, and they will use this as motivation. It takes a season-long effort to win the league and the Gunners will look to stay consistent.
2. The Chemistry Is Clicking and Confidence Is Critical
The Gunners' camp is beaming at the moment, having gone unbeaten in their last seven games, and the team is also starting to substantially jell.
Arsene Wenger’s side needs such cohesion on the pitch and in the locker room, because it is so important to their style of play. The late summer transfers have finally settled and from here on out, they will only learn each other’s subtleties and habits better.
There doesn’t appear to be any animosity among the players, and this is a good thing for the Gunners. They will continue to develop and grow closer to one another, which in turn increases the team’s productivity.
3. January Transfers
Arsenal have always been a frugal club, and Wenger never pays more for players than what he feels they actually deserve.
But recently, it seems Stan Kroenke has changed the policy of the club, because the Gunners are seemingly linked with just about every major name in football. There is rejuvenated interest in some players, but a whole new list of targets recently shows the ambitions of the club.
Arsenal currently sit atop their Champions League group as well, so they have more than the league to fight for. Once the January transfer market opens, Arsenal will make a few key additions that will boost their chances of success.
4. Return of Jack Wilshere
The emergence of the young England international was a stunning revelation last year for the London affiliate, and the return of Jack Wilshere cannot come soon enough.
He has been sidelined with a reoccurring ankle injury, and while the boss doesn’t want to rush his starlet back too early, the day he returns will certainly put Wenger at ease. The timetable for his return is mid-December and he looks to start getting into competitive matches by the end of the year.
When Wilshere is in the squad Arsenal are a different team, and he has the abilities to influence a match at such a tender age. His return will be welcomed and, more importantly, will increase the prospects of Arsenal’s title objectives.
5. Young and Unproven Players Are Stepping Up
Names like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Park Chu-Young and Ryo Miyachi might not have jumped out at people initially, but the play of young and unproven talent has the Gunners where they are right now.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has been in scintillating form for both club and country, and his appearances for the Gunners have been clinically efficient. Also, players like Park are beginning to get recognized by Wenger and their contributions will go a long way in the end.
When a club can get the most out of every player, more than likely they will flourish; and this is the case for Wenger’s men at the moment. Such players need to continue to take advantage of their opportunities and keep proven members like Andrei Arshavin and Theo Walcott sharp and competitive.
6. The Form of Robin Van Persie
I cannot think of one other player in the EPL who is as hot as the Dutchman, who currently leads the league's scoring charts.
Van Persie has singlehandedly kept the Gunners relevant, and he has shaken the notions surrounding him by staying fit and scoring freely. While he will be the first person to credit his teammates for his striking exploits, it is evident that RVP is a man possessed and can just as easily unlock a defense all by himself.
The future of Arsenal’s newest captain has certainly been a talking point, but for now he is committed to leading his team. We can let the contract drama play its course, and for now fans of the club are just happy to see him finding the back of the net with regularity.
7. Arsene Wenger's Brilliance
Even after admitting to the difficulties of the first part of the season, Arsene Wenger kept faith in his men and they have come a long way in repaying him.
Never should a manager like Wenger be counted out, because his career speaks for itself. The Frenchman has done marvelous things for this club and that should never be speculated.
Wenger continues to instill the Arsenal mentality on everyone and his players have backed him through highs and lows. It is vital “The Professor” keeps energy high and his men hungry, as their title charges starts at the top with Wenger.