Five reasons Arsenal will win next season’s title

Following their impressive win over Chelsea in Sunday’s Community Shield final, talk of Arsenal claiming next season’s Premier League title has gone into overdrive.

Indeed, it may be little more than a glorified friendly with an over-sized 50 pence piece awarded to the winner, but the 1-0 victory has only increased the level of optimism the Gunners created with their rip-roaring end to last season Рincluding that emphatic 4-0 thumping of Aston Villa in the FA Cup final.

Of course, the north Londoners have staged countless false dawns throughout their decade-long title drought and Arsenal fans more than most can be accused of blind faith from time to time.

But their triumph over Chelsea felt like something different – a real statement of intent – and there are plenty of signs to suggest the Emirates outfit will lift the English crown come next May.

Being the ever-helpful bunch we are at Football Fancast, we’ve listed FIVE of them.

EMPHATIC END TO LAST SEASON

Walcott 1
There’s no doubt about it, Arsenal were the Premier League’s form side for the second half of the 2014/15 season.

Indeed, Chelsea may have lifted the league title but the Gunners were simply unstoppable from January onwards – starting with that unforgettable 2-0 win over Manchester City.

After that victory at the Etihad, they lost only twice in their 16 remaining Premier League encounters – a 1-0 defeat to Swansea City and a 2-1 loss to Spurs in the north London derby – picking up eleven wins and 36 points in the process.

More impressive than the results were the performances. Alongside six clean sheets with David Ospina between the sticks, the Gunners netted 31 times – averaging out at two goals per match – whilst dominating both territory and possession against the majority of their opponents. And of course, it was capped off with that sensational 4-0 win over Aston Villa in the FA Cup final.

If the north London outfit can carry that form into the coming campaign, as their pre-season performances and Community Shield win suggests they will, they’ll certainly be the team to beat in the title race.

STRONG PRE-SEASON AND NO CL QUALIFIER

Arsenal Community Shielf
Arsenal don’t always start the strongest in comparison to some of the other title contenders – specifically, reigning champions and habitual early front-runners Chelsea – and that dearly cost them last term, winning just six of their first 15 Premier League fixtures.

But their form in pre-season suggests that may not be the case for the 2015/16 campaign and after finishing in third place last term, the Gunners are also luxury to the benefit of not being involved in the Champions League’s dreaded early-season play-off.

Indeed, the north London outfit have done away with all of their opponents in rather emphatic fashion this summer, recording wins against Singapore XI and Everton during the Asia Trophy tour as well as Lyon and Wolfsburg in the Emirates Cup to prodce an aggregate scoreline of 14-2.

And that was capped off on Sunday with an impressive win against reigning champions Chelsea – an important moment for Arsene Wenger, which we’ll come onto later.

Of course, good pre-seasons don’t necessarily correlate into good campaigns; there’s the best part of a year left to go. But it does suggest the north London outfit will make a more convincing start than usual this year, so if their habit of winning flurries during the final run in is maintained, we should see a very high and very consistent level of performance.

Likewise, their non-involvement in the aforementioned Champions League play-off is a huge boost; last term’s double-legger against Fenerbahce truly exhausted the squad just as the players had gained their match sharpness.

Mathieu Debuchy and Aaron Ramsey both picked up European suspensions for double bookings, which affected Arsenal’s depth during the Champions League’s group stages, whilst Mikel Arteta’s hamstring injury saw him miss the first two months of the campaign.

SANCHEZ AND OZIL BLOSSOMING AS A PARTNERSHIP

Sanchez Ozil
After spending the first 18 months of his Emirates career aimlessly dawdling on the wing, Arsene Wenger finally made the correct decision to move club-record signing Mesut Ozil to the No.10 role halfway through last season.

In addition to it being his natural position and by the far the one in which he’s found the most success during prior spells with Werder Bremen and Real Madrid, deploying the ¬£42.2million man more centrally has one predominant, crucial effect; getting Ozil as close as possible to Arsenal’s other world-class attacker, Alexis Sanchez.

We saw glimpses of their partnership towards the end of last season, with plenty of link-up play between the two in and around the left-hand channel.

But for players of such quality, that was just the test-drive; with a team in good form and a solid back six behind them, Ozil and Sanchez should flourish as a partnership next season.

PETR CECH

Petr Cech (2)
Petr Cech certainly isn’t the answer to all of Arsenal’s problems and many, including myself, would like to see a few more signings turn up at the Emirates before the end of the transfer window – particularly, a striker who can compete with Olivier Giroud and an absolute juggernaut of a defensive midfielder.

That being said, it’s impossible to dispute what the former Chelsea star will bring to the Arsenal starting Xi. David Ospina gave a glimpse of what the Gunners could achieve with a consistent, top-class No.1 during his brief spell between the sticks last season and the Czech international certainly falls into that category too.

Indeed, he’s one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history, boasting four league titles, the 2012 Champions League title, three golden gloves and 333 appearances for the Blues, and at 33 years of age could still have a good five years ahead at top level.

Cech perhaps isn’t a world-class shot stopper of the David De Gea variety, but he will bring a much-needed sense of calmness, composure and organisation to Arsenal’s defence – in complete contrast to the last few seasons with Wojciech Szczesny.

Quality of goalkeeper has been one of the intrinsic differences between the Gunners and the other title contenders in recent years, but Cech bridges that gap with ease.

WENGER HAS FINALLY BROKEN MOURINHO’S CURSE

Mourinho Wenger
It may have been a glorified friendly, but Arsenal’s Community Shield win over Chelsea on Sunday will provide a huge psychological boost ahead of a very exciting campaign.

Indeed, a bigger question than Arsenal’s capacity to beat the Premier League champions is Arsene Wenger’s capacity to beat Jose Mourinho, having failed to record a competitive victory over the Portuguese in their previous 14 meetings.

We saw how rattled the disastrous recorded has left the Frenchman last season, when he partook in a classic handbags at half-mast shoving match with the Chelsea gaffer during a 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

So even in the more relaxed setting of the Community Shield, the win marks a pivotal moment in Wenger’s recent managerial career – and perhaps most importantly of all, will get some of the doubters back onside.

Mark September 19th in your calendar – the date of the rematch between The Special One and Le Professeur. Another victory for the latter will almost certainly give the Gunners the advantage in the title race.