This season represents Arsenal’s best chance of winning a trophy in years. The team have started the season in fine form and their 6-0 demolition of Braga was hugely impressive. Here are five reasons why it could just be Arsenal’s year.
1. Maturing youngsters
For a number of years inexperience has been used as an excuse for Arsenal’s failure to win a trophy. Whilst others have criticised them and claimed some are not good enough, Arsene Wenger’s faith in his young players has been unshakeable. Cesc Fabregas has been world class for a few seasons now but Samir Nasri, Theo Walcott and Gael Clichy have matured and have looked excellent so far. Similarly players like Abou Diaby, Carlos Vela and Alex Song are older and have more experience, and the club can only benefit as a result.
2. Strong backline
Although it is early days Arsenal’s backline is looking a lot better than it has done in previous seasons. Laurent Koscielny looks like a shrewd acquisition and Sebastian Squillaci adds experience and quality to central defence. Thomas Vermalen had a fantastic first season in the Premier League and should be even better this time around. Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy are also more experienced and have looked in good form so far, and Kieran Gibbs looks like a more than capable back up in the left-back position. Alex Song is looking more and more like a top class defensive midfielder and he adds vital protection to the back four. Defence has caused Arsenal problems in recent seasons, but it is looking far more positive for Arsenal this year.
3. Strength in depth
Arsenal have one of the best squads in the Premier League, with at least two good options in virtually every position bar goalkeeping. In midfield there are a multitude of talented players, and the emergence of Aaron Ramsey and now Jack Wilshere gives Wenger even more options in midfield. Attacking options are also much better, whereas before Robin van Persie has been heavily relied upon, now Marouane Chamakh is present and Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela are a year older and should be better players as a result.
4. A different option up front
Marouane Chamakh was really impressive against Braga. He will face tougher opposition but he already looks to have settled in well and has scored three goals in five appearances. Chamakh is more than capable on the deck and he suits Arsenal’s quickfire passing game in this respect, but he also offers something different when this style is not working. Chamakh is a potent threat in the air, which Arsenal have not had in recent seasons, and this gives them the option to put crosses into the box and mix up their game if need be. It means that Arsenal’s attack is more unpredictable and more varied, which is certainly a positive thing.
5. Decline of rivals?
You write Manchester United off at your peril, but they have not started the season well and some have questioned whether their powers are waning. More than ever they seem to be relying on veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, and this is not a great situation to be in. United will be challenging at the top end of the Premier League, but they may not be as much of a threat as they have been in recent years. Manchester City are still a team that needs to gel and they look inconsistent, as they were last season, whilst Liverpool are a team in transition and we may not see the best of them until next year. Chelsea look as formidable as ever, but they have not yet faced a real test and it will be interesting to see how they perform in these games, nevertheless the Blues will probably present Arsenal’s biggest challenge to winning a trophy.