For Arsenal, it isn’t often that you will hear of a title challenge, they are about as rare as a positive article in the media about the club, but for once with the season almost rwo and a half months underway, Arsenal currently sit on top of the Premier League table, 2 points clear of both second and third place. Chelsea currently occupy 2nd, whilst Liverpool sit in 3rd and although Chelsea may have been expected to be in that position at this stage of the season, I don’t think anyone would have predicted Liverpool’s good run, just like not many would have predicted the extent of Arsenal’s ambition both on and off the pitch.
When it comes to the media, it isn’t often you will read a positive article about Arsenal and it’s largely down to the fact that the media loves to criticise the years of the club’s downfall and the difference between now and 10 years ago. Like many fans the media seems to be living in the age of the invincibles when it comes to Arsenal, but in reality the game is much different and for the majority of us we recognise the different aspects and expectations about football and especially in the way that the game is played nowadays.
Alan Hansen is one of Britain’s most notable football pundits, being obviously known for his time as a professional and then as a pundit for the BBC and columnist for the Daily Telegraph and it’s in the latter that Hansen is very critical of Arsenal, once again slaughtering the club’s chances of success this season.
Hansen said: “Despite their hugely impressive reaction since losing to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, which has enabled them to move clear at the top of the table, I still believe that Arsenal will end the campaign in fourth place. Last season’s top three – Manchester United, City and Chelsea – will be there again, but not necessarily in that order, leaving Arsenal to claim fourth. They clearly have an embarrassment of riches in the middle of the pitch and genuinely multi-talented players in Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey, but their critical flaw is that they are just not good enough when they do not have the ball.
“And with Arsenal now entering a run of fixtures in which they face Liverpool and United in the league, followed by games against City and Chelsea in December, the weaknesses that opponents have not exploited so far will come under much greater scrutiny. Arsenal have started well and given themselves a chance, but only now, when they start to face the big teams, will their true credentials be borne out.”
To be honest I both agree and disagree with Hansen. As a professional he obviously knows about football and I think his criticism of the club is fair, because everyone is entitled to an opinion. Its whether you agree or not with that opinion is what makes the difference and in response to Hansen’s criticism about Arsenal’s game, I’d say he has a point in that we will really see where we lie when we face the big teams but to say that we won’t challenge at all is where is disagree.
I definitely think Arsenal have the ability to challenge and be a major contender for the Premier League this season, however I’m not too sure if we have the capabilities to win the title this year. The main issue is that it’s far too early to say who’s likely to win it because the game of football can change in an instant and for Arsenal, that’s something that has happened so many times before. Hansen was badly wrong when he told Manchester United all those years ago that you can’t win things with kids. Can the Gunners make him look stupid again?