Are Arsenal Premier League Contenders or Simply Flattering to Deceive?

By on September 24, 2013

Rewind just a few short weeks, and Arsene Wenger looked like a dead man walking at The Emirates. Booed off the pitch after leading his Arsenal side to a miserable defeat on home soil against Aston Villa, a side that spent last season flirting with relegation, Wenger’s lack of activity in the transfer window amid overwhelming evidence of the need to strengthen was threatening to boil over into all-out revolt in the stands.

As is always the case with football, though, hindsight is a fine thing. Fast-forward just a relatively short period of time and Arsenal are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League, in possession of one of the best playmakers in the world, and boasting a fine away record by any side’s standards that started with a shock win in March against Bayern Munich.

Predictably enough, some of Arsenal’s early season doubters fell back on the usual routine of “just wait until they come up against Stoke”. Well, they did just that at the weekend, and ran out 3-1 winners.

With Arsenal also taking early control of their Champions League group, it has tempted some football fans to look towards the BetVictor odds for the Gunners to win the league (currently standing at 6/1) with more than a hint of temptation.

Scratch beneath the surface, though, and you can see that perhaps a slight reality check is required?

Arsenal may be on a fine run of form, and seem to have papered over the defensive cracks on display last season thanks to the return of Mathieu Flamini and the return to form of Per Mertesacker, but they still do not possess the strength in depth that their close rivals for the league do.

Let’s compare the substitute benches from the weekend’s games. Manchester City, rampant 4-1 winners against United on Sunday, were able to bring on Edin Dzeko, Javi Garcia, and James Milner, while still leaving the likes of £22 million frontman Stevan Jovetic on the bench. Likewise, Chelsea were able to haul Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard, and Kevin De Bruyne into the action against Fulham.

Arsenal, in comparison, had Nicklas Bendtner on the bench, a man who has spent two years in mysterious Arsenal exile, and Ryo Miyaichi, a man whose arrival on the pitch prompts many opposition fans to shout “Who?”

Should the likes of Ozil pick up an injury, which isn’t out of the question given the proclivity of players playing in his position, and particularly at Arsenal for some reason, to pick up knocks, the replacements available to Wenger to draft in simply aren’t good enough to maintain title-winning quality week-in, week-out.

Furthermore, Tottenham aside, Arsenal are yet to come up against the big boys of the Premier League, and it remains to be seen how their defence copes with the likes of Robin Van Persie, Luis Suarez, and an in-form Sergio Aguero.

Arsenal fans have seen bright starts before watching in despair as the club suffer a mid-season collapse, and one defeat to the likes of Manchester United or Chelsea could send a side traditionally regarded as psychologically suspect into a spiral of self-doubt once again.

***This post was submitted by a guest contributor***


  1. hussein

    September 24, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Its like you are forgetting we have injuries to our key players like Podolski,ox,cazorla now Walcott etc. The other teams you have mentioned are lucky not to have injuries. Vermaelen and Arteta are back so depth is there.

  2. Ash

    September 24, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    stupid article. You neglect to mention the crazy injury list Arsenal have to key player that any top team would miss. Carzola, Chamberlain, Walcott, Podolski, Arteta (who just came back) Diaby, Rosicky, Sanogo. 8 first team players out and then you compare our bench on the weekend to other teams in the league. Look at what happened to united last weekend when they only had 1 player missing through injury.

  3. jiiith

    September 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Despite injuries to 9 first team players,we are still at the top which shows our class.So please shut up and stop publishing such stupid articles.

  4. Wonder Boy

    September 24, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    The quoted example of Manchester City’s bench players like Milner, Dzeko and Garcia in comparison with Arsenal’s bench of Bendtner, Miyachi and Gnabry(suppose to be on the bench but took the place of Walcott eventually) may not deem to be justifiable. Currently, Wenger has the following injury casualties of Carzola,Walcott,Podolski,Chamberlain,Rosicky and Diaby which is a total of 6 outfield players. Most of Manchester City’s first team players are available at this moment. Instead of having a 25 man squad, each top team needs 50 superstars. This will guarantee strength and depth in every department but what is the cost of such redundancy?

  5. Med Kaye

    September 24, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Honestly, I do not know why some called Gunners always send negative messages out. No matter the outcome of the season, I am always 100% behind the Squad. They can do great things as long as their mental strength and team spirit do not deplete; as clearly signaled by this negative guest writer. The so called guest writer might even be a supporter of Spurs Man United. If the assertions made were any thing to go by what was the standing of the Gunners after five matched last season. Or does the writer want the Gunners to be hammered at the start of any EPL? Where does the writer’s support lie. All true Gunners should rally behind this Squad and not to pray for their demise. Lonta

  6. I.P. from South Africa

    September 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    To be a blind supporter of a club must truly be difficult and at times very disappointing. As much as I would like Arsenal to realistically compete for the EPL title this year, reality dictates that any title winning team requires a rock solid spine, which includes a holding midfielder with true quality and at least one killer striker up front.
    Do we currently have these? I do not think so.

  7. Previgo

    September 24, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    A holding mf with true quality and at least one killer striker upfront… I take that as a yaya and an aguero, do chelsea have those? Man utd? Liverpool? Tottenham? Even if they do are they currently better performers than our’s? *confused here* if i remember correctly, this is a yaya-aguero spine that lost at cardiff and were lucky to leave stoke with a point. I simply don’t can’t comprehend some comments no doubt we need a top class striker but don’t act like we’v got sh*t leading our front line for all i care olivier giroud is the joint top scorer in the league whistles no other deep laying mf have won more tackles or score more goals than aaron ramsey. If dortmund can assemble a squad good enough to make the UCL final without much stars then i take that as we are on the right track, don’t spoil the fun we are top of the league.

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