So we are 10 games in and top, clear by 5 points, who would have thought that!
I wanted to do a write up after the 10th game as I have continually said judge us after 10 games. Well those 10 games are now done but can you judge us on those games? Can you honestly say we can mount a challenge for the league title after being top and 5 points clear after 10 games? I’m not asking you to say we will win it, but can you predict us having at least a challenge this season?
Well lets look at who we have played, as the first thing people say in response to us winning the championship is look at who they have played. We have played and beaten Spurs and Liverpool at home who so far, have probably been our toughest opponents. We beat Sunderland, Fulham and Swansea and Palace all away from home and got a good draw up at West Brom. Our other games were Stoke and Norwich at home which we won and the infamous Villa game.
All in all we havent had that much of a tough start but how often do people say that to win the league you need to be beating the so called smaller teams, and that is what we have done so far.
In terms of tests we are in for a big one in the next 2 months, we have United this Sunday and will also play Chelsea and Man City along with Champions League games whilst also contending with the busy Xmas period.
I say we have put ourselves in with a great chance of being up at the top come Xmas even though the teams we have played and beaten might not convince the pundits that we can win this. Being at the top, leading the way brings confidence and a good momentum to continue playing and scoring like we are. The next 2 months will tell us a lot more about our team and squad, I know a lot of our own fans still need to be convinced and I hope we are still there or thereabouts come January 1st.
In terms of whats different around the club and around the players its hard to put your finger on the dramatic improvement we have seen. We had a good finish to last season, particularly after the game in Munich. We seemed to kick on from that and that’s where our improvement started I think. We have players who are playing much better than they were before, Ramsey, Szczesny, Giroud, Gibbs, we have made 2 important signings in Flamini and Ozil and put all that together with the fact that we didn’t lose anybody in the summer and you can start to see why we are now playing better. Our defence is settled, Gibbs and Sagna in particular are impressing me, Per and Koscielny are becoming a great partnership in the middle of the defence and Szczesny seems to have kicked on a gear. Giroud has his first year under his belt and is leading the line well. The team is confident, you get that feeling that they think they can do something with this group of players and with the style of football they are playing.
The losses against Chelsea in the COC and against Dortmund in the Champions League we disappointing. I felt we matched Chelsea and the game was even until they scored the second goal. A bad mistake by Jenkinson let them get in front and we were fighting from then on. We had good players on the pitch and were pushing forward trying to get a goal back, Chelsea are a team that can hit you on the break which is what they did. I think the Dortmund game was similar, after going a goal down we got back on level terms and had chances to go in front. We were pushing forward and left ourselves open, they broke well and punished us. Both of those games were not to far out of our reach so when pundits say about those 2 games being out first true tests and we failed both of them, I don’t agree with that view. The results could have easily been very different, hopefully we will learn from these games and not make the same mistakes again through the season.
Sunday is massive for us, for the first time in ages we are going to Old Trafford with the possibility of being able to upset them and get something from the game. I don’t think a draw is the worst result in the world, just cannot lose.
When it comes to the games against the big teams, the top 4 or 5, we need to be winning our games at home and not losing away. It starts Sunday.
I’ll be there and cannot wait for it!
Up The Arsenal!