12 reasons why Arsenal CAN challenge for the title this season…

This arrived as a comment from ‘theGoon’ about an hour ago, but I believe that this is more than good enough to be an article in it’s own right. Enjoy!

As much as I understand fans, pundits and everyone is afraid of rating Arsenal as a title contender or jinxing their run and talks of ‘it’s only been 5 games’ and we should not get carried away, I TOTALLY DISAGREE.

And I only do so because I was waiting to see how things pan out. I had/have a theory and I am not surprised with Unai’s management so far… I am not here to say I told you so but like I said: I had/have a theory – and I am sticking by it till end of the season especially after watching Arsenal’s performances so far. I think Arsenal will be up there come end of season.

Here are my reasons….

1. Arsene Wenger, although almost inept in every game tactically, still managed to finish top 4 every season except the recent ones by simply asking this team to ‘Just play our football’ and we will be alright. As much as Spurs, etc, have improved their squads, Wenger knew how to keep this squad good enough for top 4 despite not preparing appropriately for opposition, that is partly to the level of quality that was good enough to do just that.

2.Unai on the other hand, is the exact obsessive opposite of Wenger when it comes to tactics and if you listen closely at post game player interviews, they all seem to highlight an element of anticipation of an aspect of the opposition’s game they were facing. This alone is bound to improve the squad Wenger left… even Mustafi was not being told what to do!

Unai is probably the only one to humiliate Barca 4-1 in the Champion’s league, that alone is massive statement despite the loss in the reverse match fixture.

3. Unlike LVG, AVB, Pep, Klopp, etc No disrespect…. one must respect the EPL for what it is and not just for you to rock up and get players that suit your philosophy… Its good Pep had Arteta and they eventually got Walker etc.
How you know that a man is ready for this league is when a manager knows he must build from the back. Conte is more defensive minded and had to do so, Ranieri had his experience and knew what he needed… Goke Inler was always on the bench, that alone should tell you the kind of ship he was running.

Auba and Lacazette were Wenger signings, granted, but Unai, Sven, & Co immediately went for proven experience at the back, he had Cech already brought in an understudy in Leno. Unai was already giving analysis in his interviews of the EPL about how Man City was winning games & the title with pressing. He also highlighted the importance of having a player like Kante in your squad. This is a man who started his homework before he started his job.

4. Knowing HOW to win. It is one thing to have a history of being a proven winner so many xx years ago, but when you have on your CV winning in the recent past consecutively, you don’t come to a league to aim to come out 4th. You focus is learning how to win GAMES and not necessarily the league. Unai has instilled the mentality in the players of learning how to win each game and that’s a big difference. Every player right now is buying into the manager’s instructions because they are seeing the impact. Especially when we lost to Chelsea, they were gutted because they knew they threw that game away. The players could be extra motivated by several reasons:
1. The element of change at the club
2. To impress the new manager
3. The players believe the manager knows how to win and his instructions are the key ….which is difficult if your current manager has not won squat for a long time, even when you do it’s been out of a build of years of frustration, and even when muster up all you have to give a proper send-off things just don’t come off. Even if Unai was not a good manager, there is something about taking instructions from a new entity. Most people don’t even know he has been the most successful manager, in terms of accolades, past 10 years in Europe followed by Zidane.

5. January Transfer Window. We are being linked to Miguel etc, but depending on what Unai & co decide to do in January can only affect and improve our season for the better, bar the Ramsey situation.

6. Squad Rotation – Arsenal has kids who are not coming on as kids but players who actually impact our game. We are resting players, and everyone is playing, even if it’s just 15 mins, and that builds the unity in the squad and no one is being left behind. The emphasis is on ‘the team’ right now and not individuals, and that is a culture I hope we keep like Barca had for years. In hindsight, this is why Emery introduced new rules of older players eating (and having no phones) with the kids. It’s about respecting the profession and unity regardless of who is playing.

7. Player Improvement Track record. Unai’s Development includes David Silva, Mata, David Villa, Jordi Alba, Herrera, and before the season Mbappe attributed his goal scoring form to the man. So now it’s not a surprise the work ethic and improvements we are seeing in Iwobi, Bellerin and Co.

8. PSG – Egos, Egos, Egos. He is now at a club with a set-up he is more comfortable with and knows how to work with what he has… so far we can’t complain when every player is chipping in on the goals and being told to do so.

10. Bottle- I have never believed this team will bottle it, or have a season of 2 halves like we always did under Wenger because it was always down to the mentality being instilled by the manager. For years we did so because the manager left that responsibility to the players to ‘Lead themselves’ and show ‘spirit’. I don’t see us struggling during Christmas etc because it’s down to game management, which I don’t see Unai struggling with. Under wenger we were always reacting to a poor run of form. Fine, Arsenal may lose or draw a game here and there, but I don’t see this manager allowing this team to not turn up for a string of games. No! That’s not happening this time around.

11. League History – At times, the teams that seem to do well and win this league are teams that build their momentum slowly like Man Utd of “Old”. Arsenal are yet to hit top form and who knows what form people like Auba, Iwobi, Smith-Rowe, Welbeck, Torreira and Xhaka and the kids might be in terms of goal contribution.

12. RESPECT – Sorry, but not preparing for opposition and fielding kids and not prioritizing the needs of fans and the injection of victory even for small trophies is a blatant display of ARROGANCE. That arrogance filtered to our players and even down to the training, they expected to win games not based on merit. When I see Unai putting out strong teams and doing his research, I see a man that respects the game and each tournament. What we as fans are seeing is the template of what it takes to win the Europa Cup, and this has been eye opening for me personally because I couldn’t see our previous manager do that.



  1. Uzi Ozil says:

    Good points..

    However, I won’t talk about the title now.

    One game at a time. Step by step, it will be interesting to see where we will be on the table come December or January 2019.

    So far so good, Emery is building a good squad. He isn’t done yet

    1. Break-on-through says:

      I’m with Uzi on this, it is ridiculous to talk about titles at this stage, utterly pathetic more to the point. We are still outsiders for making it back into the top four, we were completely written off before the season began but now we are seen as outsiders with a slight hope so long as at least two from the top six give poor showings next to ourselves. Like seriously, people need to cop on this doesn’t do us any favors and besides it is really way too early to tell. Being written off actually gives us a bit of an advantage, when we’re expected to beat city, pool or spu the nerves can get to some players – Iwobi is like that every-time he pulls the trigger, his heart rate rises with the mere thought of putting it away. We have some pro’s in the side, but we have youngsters too and they’re better off without silly early pressure that means nothing until you finally do make it into the last stretch of games intact. Grow up people, I know most of you will know this already you’re all well seasoned when it comes to AFC’s compulsory title talk but never actually challenging for the damn thing.

  2. adrian says:

    There is one major reason why arsenal will not be challenging for a top 4 place. The defence or lack of it will stop them. Emery needs to buy some good solid defenders. Our current centre backs are leaking goals and against top class opposition slack defending gets punished. Don’t get me wrong Emery has made a good start but this squad is not title winning material in all playing positions.

    1. joe14 says:

      you an arsenal fan? I’m not sure you want the best for the team. Or you just want us to perform badly so you can get that feeling of ‘I was right all along ‘.
      We are a team on the rise, we can dream. With worldclass talent (lacazette, aubameyang, oil) and a proven elite coach. I think we should be aiming for the best.
      Just my thoughts though.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        Adrian, with all due respect the defense has been improving game by game. The introduction of Torreira from the start as a proper DM has strengthed the defense and Xhaka in particular is playing better as a result. Holding is improving, as is Bellerin and Mustafi has looked like he is regaining the form when he first arrived at the Club.
        TheGoon has provided a lot of good points; the main things for me have been the preparation prior to matches, the tactical awareness to make changes and substitutions during games and the added steel to the squad to tough games out. Most importantly to me has been the hard work of Emery and his assistants on the training field to achieve peak fitness and enhance player’s skills. The improvement in players such as Cech, Holding, Welbeck, Iwobi and Bellerin is obvious. Emery is a quiet achiever applying, as many have said, the adage that the harder we work the luckier we get.
        Early days still, but very positive over all.

  3. LENOhappy says:

    Be careful there,some may say you are a “fool”for believing we can challenge for the title,some fans here are just too bias,they are so bias to the extent of wanting some players to fail so they can prove their stupid points,apart from Liverpool,one of the things why some criticize wenger is because in his later years at arsenal he see top 4 finish as an achievement,before the season begins we were not even sure where we will be but now that we have 9 straight wins,a boy believe we can challenge for the title but some stupid fans here calls him a fool?if our own fans can call our player fool for having a little ambition then I think that says it all about our team

    1. Clinton says:

      Brother you are right! We should give them 100% support

  4. Sue says:

    Nice article ?
    I believe we have just as much chance as anyone else to make it into the top 4 or win the league.
    We’ve scored more goals than Liverpool, Spuds, Chelsea & United. Yes we’ve conceded 10, but I do think our defence is getting better week by week.
    All our new signings have been brilliant….things are definitely on the up & I’m so glad we have Unai….. happy days!! Can’t wait to get this bloody international break out of the way zzzzzzzzz
    Can’t believe Laca hasn’t been picked for France!!

    1. Break-on-through says:

      …Just take the team of the month gong and say no more about it, give Lacazette the player of the month and move on. That’s about it, we’d need a clairvoyant for anything else.

    2. Midkemma says:

      We may have conceded 5 goals in our first two games but that means we have conceded the same amount of goals since in our last 6 games.

      I wonder if the first two games are outlying results?
      Since we have conceded less than a goal a game, if Emery can keep improving the team as a whole… which includes the def…

      I’m with you here Sue, why can’t we make top 4? Why can’t we push for the title? People was saying UTD would be competing for the title and look how wrong they appear to be currently… So people can be equally wrong when assuming we can’t challenge for the EPL.

      1. Sue says:

        Exactly Midkemma ?

  5. Chabaloah says:

    I am in no way a pessimist however I do not think it realistic to say we can win the title this season as pointed out by others that our defence is not strong enough, even if they get better it is at what point will they be good enough, in time to face Liverpool, United, Spurs and not drop points?

    We are on a brilliant run but so are Chelsea, Liverpool and City, they may have drawn but in the league they aren’t that far apart, it will be decided by the games against one another and that is where I think we are short.

    Let’s wait until Christmas and see where we are. I think top 4 is a real possibility provided we keep on an a trajectory going upwards however progress isn’t always linear. Teams have ups and downs, it’s how they learn.

  6. 11Guns says:

    One of the best articles I have read for ages.
    I completely agree, and have thought some of these things myself. Especially the one about players have got the quality deep down, but they were almost never under any pressure to perform, and even if they did, they had no instructions on how to play. That’s why I also think we would see glimpses of greatness here and there in our players, but rarely on a consistent basis bar a select few.
    Of course there is many other things suggesting this, like the smiles and nonchalance when our players would miss clear cut chances. How some players could play bad, and bad to such an extent that they were consistant in playing bad, bud still get picked. No matter how much Wenger liked to talk about consistency, he never could bring it after the change in ownership because he himself had no pressure to win. And it seemed he had no passion either, he was just a cardboard sat in the dugout.
    Now I have only been a fan since 2007, so I have only seen the lean years except the fa-cups of course. Still I understand what Wenger had done for the club and how much respect he deserved because of that, and I still thinks he should be respected because of it.
    However, I disagre with the club in giving him new contracts only based on what had been 10 years ago, and that of top four being enough.

    I enjoy the fact that we did the right thing in changing the manager, especially as it stands now. I am delighted to see us on a win streak and I feel hope returning. Hope that we can actually win a game, not just see it out. Hope because the team actually fights in the games, they show passion and hunger.
    Despite all this, I am not ready to start hoping for a title or even top four just yet, because I have had my hopes crushed so many times in recent years by Arsenal. So many times and to such and extent that I went numb. I didn’t care anymore, but I kept watching. I understand there has been a change in not just manager, but many aspects of the club has been transformed as well.
    Still there is gonna take some more time for me to start talking about the title, but one can always hope and quietly dream as Emery leads us through this campaign!

  7. optimist habila says:

    I would have loved the writer to to tell us what year he thinks Arsenal CAN win the league. persnonally, except for the obvious improved pressing and the psychology of the players that Wenger has gone and Unai is now in charge, I have yet to see that there are many reasons why Arsenal can win the EPL (this season or the next). The defence isn’t in the mould of league winners, nor is the middle. The attachk is fine-superb, but nothing more yet. I’m afraid Arsenal will soon begin to experinece big flogging in the EPL, considering the weakpoints we’ve been witnessing in the last few games which the more quality teams would exploit and punish us. The process may have begun, but the kind of changes to bring in the big trophies have not happened yet and could take a few season to achieve that unless something dramatical happens.

  8. jon fox says:

    Well put togeter article. Plenty of reasoned detail . But I can’t agree we are remotely in the hunt for the title. Top four , a definite chance That is just not sense, not realism. Emery has done more than could reasonably be expected from him so far. But we still have eloads of sub title challenging standard players That conclusion is what spoils an otherwise fine article. You only ever get realism , never fantasy, from me. We have only played two decent teams so far and lost to both. Get real!

    1. ClassyGunner says:

      Completely agree with you Jon. Emery has started really done brilliantly barring the first game. We have a real chance of getting into the CL spots. However, we will not be challenging for the title just yet.

    2. pires says:

      Agréé Jon.I think that we have quality up front comparable to city’s.But we lack défensive solidity.I dont think that we are far behind though.

  9. sam yeboah says:

    let’s support team arsenals to succeed .as confidence shoot up we shall be where our collective effort will take us go go go gurners

  10. John Rambo says:

    PSG did not just lose the return fixture they received a six goal thrashing from messi and co. Thats a bottle by any standard.

    1. Break-on-through says:

      They thought the work was done. We almost done similar against Barcelona ourselves one time. Milan done us one year at our home, they thought the game was done, but Henry the magnifique burned their house down. Take nothing away from it, it was special, special ..sometimes lives up to its billing.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        What about the refereeing in the return match?
        Thomas Tuchel is facing the same issues at PSG as Unai Emery; walking egos who think they can win without working hard. This might work in the French league, but falls short in the Champions League.

  11. Midkemma says:

    Fantastic article, Admin done well by making this an article from a comment, I really enjoyed the optimism.

  12. pires says:

    I can add to the article one word: “positivity”.The fan base is reunited with itself and the players ,therfore the mood around the club is far better as we always had quality not shown in the pitch because of ,mainly, the negativity surrounding the players and Wenger.This year we can see the true ability of every membre of the squad

  13. geariod de burca says:

    ah here !, a few games in and we are going to win the league !?. yeah right. lets just keep on supporting our team, not just through the good winning times , but, also for the bad times , that will come too this season . title talk is a little premature i would say, no expectations should be our motto , for this season !.to put the team under such stress already is just not fair. let us keep on winning our games and keep quiet about winning this and that . positivity is one thing , but this is october, a long way to the finish line. i have to say , in my own humble opinion, that this a crazy article, pure crazy.

  14. Laca was wenger buy but was not playing him

  15. JJ Pawn says:

    There are a couple of actual reasons Arsenal has a chance.

    1) Wenger had calculated that the teams at the top would cancel each other out soon. It is happening this year.
    2) The arrival of the attack (Ozil, Lacal, Auba, Mkhi, was waiting for the establishment of a defense. The defense is still not there… until proven against the top 10 teams.

  16. Chuqu says:

    Until we beat Liverpool, I won’t be talking of winning the title. Too soon for me.

  17. sol says:

    I dont think this is tie to talk about the title. Lets see how we respond to liv./spur/m.united

    1. sol says:

      I dont think this is time to talk about the title. Lets see how we respond to liv./spur/m.united

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