Having just passed the halfway mark in the Premier League, the challenge for the title realistically seems to be a three horse race. Chelsea are heading the field, with Manchester United and Arsenal right behind snapping at their heels. But Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov has come out and all-but ruled Arsenal out of the title challenge, with the Bulgarian seeing Chelsea as United’s biggest threat. But if Arsenal win their two games in hand then they will be just one point behind Chelsea and right in the mix. So surely it is just crazy to write Arsenal off with half the season still to come, or is Berbatov right in thinking that the Gunners aren’t as strong as their title rivals?
The way Arsenal cruised past Aston Villa on Sunday was highly impressive, as they controlled possession and didn’t let a dangerous Villa side get a foothold in the match. Their captain Cesc Fabregas once again showed how much of a key player he is for the Gunners and his injury was the only dampener on a great afternoon for them. When Arsenal are somewhere near their best like they were at The Emirates on Sunday, then they passing and movement is scintillating and they can brush off teams with ease. But it is their B game that will concern their fans as they sometimes struggle to grind out results like previous champions always have, and Berbatov feels that they just aren’t title material.
Dimitar Berbatov told The Times that “I think it will be decided between us and Chelsea but in the end I think we’ll end up on top.” The Bulgarian made no mention of Arsenal and given their position in the Premier League table and the players at their disposal, then to rule the Gunners out as a threat is a massive oversight. To be fair to Berbatov though, Chelsea are currently top of the tree and their strength in depth and winning mentality probably edges them ahead of Arsenal in terms of rivalling Man United. But that doesn’t mean that Arsenal won’t have a huge part to play in the title race and Arsene Wenger should be confident that his team has what it takes to go all the way, regardless of what their rivals think.
In the Premier League this season the top teams have lost more games already than in recent years, and it is unlikely that Chelsea, United or Arsenal will go to the end of the season without another blip along the way. Points are being dropped far more often in one of the most competitive Premier League seasons, and I’m sure that the lead will change hands many times before the medals are handed out. So to write off any of the top three at this point is just senseless, and Berbatov’s comments should only serve to fire up Arsenal and give Arsene Wenger ammunition to use in team talks. Is it far too early to write off Arsenal? I definitely think so.