Arsenal currently sit top of the Premier League, top of their Champions League group and remain in contention for both the FA Cup and League Cup but which of those competitions are the Gunners most likely to win?
Obviously, as a hypothetical question, it’s fairly redundant and irrelevant to make guesses, however educated, so early on in the season but, nonetheless, Arsenal have gone 12 games unbeaten in all competitions and, at present, look to be closer to a trophy this season than they have in the nine.
They sit two points clear at the top of the Premier League, having won 6 and drawn one of their eight games – the opening day defeat to Aston Villa firmly behind them now – and they’ve strolled past the likes of Napoli and Marseille in the Champions League, as well as Fenerbahce in the qualification round.
It seems at the moment as if they have the world at their feet but, of course, they also have their fate in their own hands – they were handed, as many have pointed to, quite a kind set of opening fixtures. So far, Tottenham are the only top six team they have faced and, whilst they beat their archrivals 1-0 (prior to the signing of Mesut Ozil) they still have yet to convince most pundits.
They made light work of Napoli and Marseille in the Champions League but they face Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday and I suspect that will be a goo gauge of their potential to win a title this term – although people said that about Napoli and they won 3-0.
The fixtures start to come thick and fast from now until January – they’ll face Chelsea in the League Cup at the end of this month, then Liverpool at home, Dortmund away, and Manchester United at Old Trafford within the space of a week in early November. I have a feeling that will be a defining month for them.
The cups are very much a case of who dares wins and oftentimes it comes down to the luck of the draw. They couldn’t really have asked for a trickier fixture than the Blues in the League Cup and the FA Cup is always such a long slog that it’s almost impossible to predict but I would expect, given their quality, Arsenal can and likely will progress in either one of the domestic cups, if not to the semifinals or final, then at least to the quarterfinal rounds in one.
However, given the strength and depth of their main competitors domestically – the likes Chelsea, Manchester City, United and Tottenham – I would expect Wenger to have his eye on the Premier League and Champions League which will likely see him make that his priority.
The Champions League is such a tough competition to win, given the abundance of quality, especially in Spain and Germany that it’s difficult to see any English team winning it this year but, you never know, Arsenal surely have a good a chance as any one this year – definitely a better chance than in recent seasons.
Over, given their position, and their current vein of form, I believe the Premier League is the title Arsenal are most likely to win - people are murmuring about it but no one who is non affiliated with the club and even those who are have played down their chances – taking into account the resources at City and Chelsea and the Mourinho effect and the likelihood United will spend in January, its still far too early to predict but, this season, it’s so far so good.
By Christmas in the last three or four seasons and perhaps even beyond that the Gunners were out of the title race and I think they’ll be much closer this term but, of course, they key is consistency – they’re unbeaten in 12 but if they continue that for another month, then they’ll have something substantial to talk about – loudly, not in hushed tones.
And, furthermore, by then, they may have to start making decisions about how far they want to go and how hard they're prepared to push themselves - I'm not altogether convinced they the squad depth to compete on all four fronts this term and it may come down to whether the boss is prepared to sacrifice progression in the cups for the benefit of their league and European contention.