You might not think that too much has changed at Arsenal since last season. We have pretty much the same squad with a few good additions and once again, we are set to finish the season without the Premier League title having played brilliantly at times but not so well at others.
We might well end up with another FA cup trophy as well but something has changed, at least in the way the Gunners and our ability to really challenge the top of the table is perceived by the football media. After Gary Neville gave a very upbeat assessment of Arsenal’s strengths earlier in the week, his mate on the Sky Sports team Jamie Carragher has added his voice to the growing belief in Arsenal.
As reported by The Independent, the former Liverpool and England defender spoke about how close we are to becoming champions again, although he still feels that the manager needs to loosen the purse strings again and perhaps pay over the odds for a player if he feels they are needed.
Carragher said, “What we’ve seen of Arsenal of late is that they are with the three best teams now, and then there’s a little level to Manchester United and Liverpool just behind.
“I think they’ve joined those top two sides that we think every season are going to go for the title. They’re so close.
“The thing with Arsene Wenger is I feel he always wants value in the market, and he always wants to wait, he’s patient.
“Rather than what [Jose] Mourinho did, he got [Diego] Costa he got [Cesc] Fabregas. Maybe at other clubs managers feel that pressure a bit more, but Wenger has been at the club for that long he knows he’s safe in the job.
“If he can’t find a certain type of goalkeeper for a specific price, or maybe a centre back or central midfielder, I don’t think he’ll get them, whereas other clubs will say “you know what, I’m going to pay the extra, I’m going to get them no matter what.”
“He spends the money like its his own, that’s the way he runs the club, you can admire that in some sense.
“But I think maybe that sometimes holds them back.”
The Frenchman has started to buy big though and his recent signings have really pushed the team on. I remember being frustrated last season when all the pundits were writing off Arsenal even though we were top and playing well, so there is a real sea change in the way they see us now. But will Wenger be able to take us to the next step and is it all about what happens in the transfer market?