Trips to Manchester United and Everton will show if Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are the real deal

5 of our 7 victories this season have come against the bottom 5 – Newcastle, norwich, Burnley, Leeds and Watford.

The statistic is being used by some to bash Arsenal and Mikel Arteta. An attempt to show our current 5th place as a “false position”.

But if we are going to go down that route, then we also have to discuss that 3 of our 4 defeats have come against the top 3 in the Premier League.

Take the freak Brentford result out of the equation – first home game for decades and an Arsenal squad devasted by Covid – and the trend is obvious.

Arsenal have lost to the teams they should lose to and beaten those they should easily beat.

That Brentford result aside, we are unbeaten in our games against mid-table sides; Brighton, Crystal Palace, Tottenham and Leicester City.

Results against those sides read 2 wins and 2 draws.

The form we are showing so far is exactly that of a top 4 challenging team – beating those in the bottom 3rd, losing to those in the top 3 and unbeaten against those in the mid table.

On that basis, the next 2 games are so important.

It will not be games against Manchester City or Liverpool that define our season. Nor games against Newcastle or Burnley. It is the trips to the likes of Manchester United and Everton that will.

Like the Liecester City game, it is the trips away to mid-table sides that you need to take something from to be a serious contender for top 4.

These are the sort of sides we would be expecting to be challenging us for that top 4 position.

Take the Leicester game. Had we lost and they won, they would be a point above us.

As it was we left the East midlands with 3 points and there is now a 5 point gap between us.

Victory on Thursday against Manchester United will see an 8 point gap between ourselves and Ralf Rangnick’s side. Defeat would see the gap close to just 2 points.

Likewise back to back wins for us could see us 14 points ahead of Everton. Back to back defeats could see that gap as narrow as two points.

If results go our way in the next two games, we could end up in the top 4 and with a gap building between us and the lacks of Tottenham, Leicester, Manchester United and Everton.

Defeats and suddenly we could be back down to 10th and we will back back to talking about a top 6 target again rather than top 4.

These next two games will really show us where we currently are under Arteta.

Are we just stat pading beating those in a relgation scrap? Or are we real contenders for top 4.

Keenos

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