Gunners tackle Crystal Palace in South London on Saturday lunch-time and a number of pre-match statistics suggest victory is a foregone conclusion.
How many years without a trophy?
It's a question of significant annoyance for many Arsenal fans. Never mind the stadium move and consequent loan repayments. Never mind the ability of Arsene Wenger to retain a top four competitive team despite the window upon window outgoing transfers of key members of the Invincible side. And never mind the new-found financial might of the 2013 version of the Gunners.
Despite an opening day blip against Aston Villa, that arguably was down to a number of brain farts suffered by the 23rd man on the pitch, Arsenal have accumulated title-winning - never mind title-challenging - form, picking up 19 points from a possible 21 available.
Players such as Aaron Ramsey have made themselves indispensable. Last year's striking recruit Olivier Giroud has provided Arsenal with a box-focused target-man who, at 6ft 4in, is particularly easy to find for Wenger's few wingers, such as Theo Walcott. And the Frenchman himself has proved to be a team-player, assisting as many as he is scoring in Premier League duty this term - 4, while also creating 14 chances in total.
Then there is Mesut Ozil, the club-record £42.4m acquisition secured on a nervy deadline day whose presence is reminiscent of the purchase and eventual contributions of Dennis Bergkamp.
Such comparisons were played down by key Gunners personnel, who claimed that during Bergkamp's first years in the red-and-white of North London, he was more of a striker than a trequartista, while Ozil is more of an assist-giver, however, the former Real Madrid man's performance against Norwich City suggests he can be both.
Incidentally, when Arsenal bragged Bergkamp in their ranks, was the last time they won the Premier League crown, a feat they could repeat this season if the following statistic proves to be more than a coincidence:
- Two of Arsenal's Premier League title-winning seasons (1997-98 and 2001-02) saw them collect fewer points from their opening eight games than they have this season
Arsenal take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday, October 26 at 12:45 local time in a match that pits a side fighting for the title against one scrapping against relegation.
Palace also recently parted ways with manager Ian Holloway, yet Tony Pulis may be drafted in. Regardless, there are many facts that point to a comfortable Arsenal triumph:
- Palace have struggled in England's top division and have won five points, scoring just five goals in their previous eight league encounters with Arsenal
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 13 competitive away matches, winning 11 times and drawing twice - both times against West Bromwich Albion
- Palace come off worse in London derbies in the Premier League, claiming less than a point a game on average (40 points in 44 games)
- Arsenal score goals from all over the park as eight different Gunners have struck this term.
image: © wonker