Former Gunner Robin van Persie has come out with a bold statement claiming that Arsenal can challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title.
In fact, the Dutch legend believes that we are already close to City and that we have been there for years.
‘Of course they can, yes, because they’re close already, they’ve been close for so many years,’ van Perise told BBC Sport when asked if he felt Arsenal are genuine challengers.
‘It goes in periods. Now you have Manchester City, who are doing unbelievable. To win back-to-back titles is very special – that shows, really, that you’re a proper team.’
Some of the thinking behind van Persie’s opinion is that he feels things will shift when Pep Guardiola is no longer in charge at the Etihad.
‘It goes in phases,’ Van Persie added. ‘Maybe Guardiola will leave next year and that does something to a club.
‘Maybe Liverpool will take over and they will dominate for the next few years.
‘But I hope and wish Arsenal all the best to win the title. I know how difficult it is.’
Taking his comments at face value one can easily be forgiven for having a bit of a giggle and look on his opinion as being outlandish but we should not forget that Liverpool where 25 points behind City last year and closed that to just two points this season and so being 28 points behind the Premier League champions is not necessarily insurmountable.
Who knows how well Unai Emery will progress next season after his debut season in the English game, you have to remember it took Liverpool a few seasons to get where they are now under Jurgen Klopp and City themselves fell well short in Guardiola’s debut season.
Emery is completely new to everything in English football, the intensity, the pace, the tactics and style of play and has had to adapt fast and in his first season has got us to the Europa League final and fifth in the league, just one point behind fourth.
I am not saying that Arenal will challenge next year and I am not saying that van Persie is 100% right but I am saying that his opinion should not be dismissed out of hand either.