Arsenal's 2014/15 half-term report - below expectations?

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After winning their first trophy in nine years last season, and securing yet another top four finish, many will have expected Arsenal to kick on this season.

Prediction at the start of the season

The prediction was that Arsenal would be up around the Champions League places at the very least, maybe even pushing those at the very top for the Premier League title - but the thought amongst many was that they would at least finish in the top four.

Performance so far

It has been a bit disappointing but they are not far away from achieving their objectives. They have qualified for the last 16 of this season's Champions League, and have a winnable tie against Monaco coming up, but their league performances have on occasion left a lot to be desired, but it has not been disastrous as they are currently level on points with fourth-placed Southampton [who they face next], whilst one avenue for a trophy in the form of the League Cup has been closed off because of a 2-1 defeat to the same side.

Manager rating

6/10 for Arsene Wenger. There is a lot of room for improvement for the Arsenal boss. There have been games where one feels if they mixed their game up a little, then three points were there for the taking, one that comes to mind is their clash with Manchester United which they ended up losing 2-1.

Best game Arsenal have been involved in

Arsenal 2-2 Manchester City. It was an early test of both side's credentials which saw both sides lead and peg back. Danny Welbeck ought to have scored on his debut before Sergio Aguero scored for Manchester City. Jack Wilshere equalised before a stunning second-half strike from Alexis Sanchez, but Arsenal couldn't see the game out as Martin Demichelis equalised late on for the Champions.

New signings (loan or otherwise)

Alexis Sanchez - Undoubtedly worth the £30 million + fee that Arsenal paid Barcelona for the forward. He has scored pivotal goals in all competitions and some have even credited him with keeping the side's season on track with the Chilean in double figures already.

Calum Chambers has showed signs of promise since signing from Southampton, but there have been times when the youngster has struggled this season but there are signs he could develop into a very fine defender. 

Mathieu Debuchy - we haven't seen that much of in an Arsenal shirt because of the ankle injury he suffered in the draw against Manchester City in September. But he has since returned, and it is a welcome boost for a side that has been short on defenders of late.

Danny Welbeck has provided a lot of pace and penetration, and is certainly a threat for Arsenal. Though he has shown he can finish well in the final third, he still hasn't done it on the regular basis that his side will have been hoping for since his switch from Manchester United.

We haven't seen much of goalkeeper David Ospina who signed on the back of a promising World Cup as he has been used mostly as cover.

Most significant win of the season

Arsenal 1-0 Southampton. It was Alexis Sanchez that got the winner, but with Southampton showing early season promise, and seemingly threatening the Gunners for that fourth spot in the Premier League this season, it seemed essential that Arsenal win this one.

Arsenal's low point so far

Stoke City 3-2 Arsenal. Though there was some kind of fightback in the second half, the Gunners seemed to wave the white flag in the first period as they were three goals down at the break at the Britannia Stadium.

Strengthening in January

If they can, Arsenal could do with a commanding presence in the middle of the park. Someone who can win the ball well and provide that first ball to set them on their way, and look like someone who opponents won't relish going up against.

They could probably do with another specialist centre-back given their shortage at the back at times this season.

The rest of the season

When Arsenal tend to have a slow start to the season, they usually go on a good run in the second half of the campaign that secures their place in the Champions League for the following campaign. Should we really expect any different this time around?

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