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Is Wenger’s grand plan finally coming to fruition?

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As the top-flight season now enters December, it is a source of not inconsiderable surprise that it is Arsenal who head the Premier League table.

The emergence of the rejuvenated Gunners has shocked many this season, with their win against a resilient Southampton side last weekend the latest in a series of impressive victories.

Now, with the side four points clear from second-placed Liverpool, the question as to whether Arsene Wenger’s plans are finally coming to fruition has never seemed more justified and is one that fans will be praying is answered in the affirmative.

On the face of it, this would seem the most plausible response. The team, a careful mixture of emerging stars and experienced elders, have lost just four matches so far this term and appear to have stumbled upon an attacking formula that makes them look dangerous each time they go forward, a facet that has been painfully absent in recent years.

This, coupled with the inconsistent starts of many of their title rivals, now has supporters daring to dream that their long wait for a trophy, which stretches back to the FA Cup win of 2005, might finally be over.

It is a stark contrast to the beginning of the season, where a 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day made the North Londoners look like stronger candidates for relegation than the league title.

As the weeks have past however, they have improved unrecognizably, lurching to the top of the table and ramming their advantage down their rival’s throats in the process.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this turnaround has been the response to their defeat at Manchester United. Having gone ten league games without defeat, many suspected that a loss to a big side would derail their confidence, a prediction that has failed to come to pass. Indeed, if anything, it has served to have the opposite affect, with the 2-0 win over Southampton being followed by another over Marseille in the Champions League.

At last then, Arsenal have developed an ability to bounce back from adversity and criticism and now for the first time in years look likely to win every game they play.

Much of the credit for this must go to the form of striker Olivier Giroud. As well as scoring like a true number nine, the Frenchman’s movement has been pulling defences apart, allowing the mercurial Aaron Ramsey and the rest of the midfield to create slick passing moves and effortless goals.

Indeed, not since the departure of Thierry Henry to Barcelona in 2007, has the side looked as complete as it does now. With the new-look Ramsey giving the strong midfield a goal-scoring outlet to add to their already aesthetically pleasing build-up play. Whilst the defence, although at times a touch brittle, looks better than it has done in a very long time.

And so we march onward to the New Year and the January transfer window. Though the likely activity of Wenger during this period will be difficult to predict, one thing that is certain, is if Arsenal can continue to scalp teams outside the top five, and pick up a few points against those in it, then their wait for a domestic trophy is likely to be over.

Article title: Is Wenger’s grand plan finally coming to fruition?

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