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Can Arsenal Challenge Manchester City For The Premier League Title This Season?

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Based on the evidence of matchday nine of the Premier League season, there are two clear challengers for the title in the 2022/23 campaign – Arsenal and Manchester City. The defending champions and winners of four of the past five seasons are once again nigh-on impossible to stop and are the overwhelming favourites. The addition of Erling Haaland to the best strike-force in the Premier League last season is quite frankly, unfair, and the Norwegian has taken their attack to a different level altogether, scoring 14 goals in eight games.

Can Arsenal compete Manchester City for the Premier League title?

City’s latest 6-3 demolition over Manchester United at home in the derby provided further evidence of the vast gap between the defending champions and their counterparts. Manchester United and Chelsea are undergoing transitions under new managers this campaign, Liverpool seemed to have fallen off a cliff under Jurgen Klopp, while Tottenham and Antonio Conte struggled to impress with their performances despite grinding out results.

 

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The team best equipped to challenge Manchester City this season in the Premier League, though, is Arsenal. Led by the former Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta, Arsenal have stormed out of the blocks in the 2022/23 season, winning seven of their first eight games this season to sit atop the Premier League table. The Gunners have gradually improved across the first two years of Arteta’s reign, but all the pieces have finally clicked into place this season.

The impact of signing Gabriel Jesus as the centre-forward cannot be understated. The former Manchester City man has revolutionised the Arsenal attack, giving the Gunners a focal point to lead the line. The Brazilian leads the press, offers world-class movement in the box, and can effectively rotate with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli in the front three, significantly raising the level of the Arsenal offence compared to the days of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

At the back, the addition of William Saliba has been another keystone moment in the Arsenal project. The Frenchman, who spent the last three years on loan in France with Saint-Etienne, Nice, and Marseille – has been one of the best-performing centre-backs in the Premier League season. The 21-year-old brings composure beyond his years on the ball and also dominates opposition strikers in the air and on the ground with his 6’4 frame and unmatched physicality and awareness.

 

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The Frenchman drew high praise from Brentford manager Thomas Frank, who said that the defender will become a regular for his national team with his quality. These additions, along with the yearly improvement from Arsenal’s young forwards have transformed Arsenal’s fortunes to start the Premier League season.

Mikel Arteta’s side have the second-best offensive and defensive record while also winning each of their first eight games this season on xG. There is a genuine sense of hope and optimism around the Emirates Stadium in 2022. The burning question, though, is how far this thing can go. Arsenal have shown they have enough firepower to beat the teams below them in the Premier League. If you defeat the bottom ten teams in the league twice, that’s 60 points right there. That’s the first hurdle crossed.

To be champions, however, you need to beat teams directly competing with you for the top spots. Arsenal’s victories against Big 6 opposition have largely come at home or at Stamford Bridge under Arteta, and whenever they faced the elite teams in Liverpool and Manchester City, they have come away wanting. Defeating Tottenham this weekend was an important step in Arsenal’s progression to becoming title contenders.

 

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Antonio Conte’s side beat Manchester City away from home last season and were unlucky to walk away from Anfield with a 1-1 draw. There will be fewer tests as stern as the one the Gunners faced on Saturday across the rest of the season. Liverpool next Sunday is a similar hurdle that Arsenal will need to cross. Although the Reds’ have been a shadow of their former selves under Klopp in the PL this season, Liverpool won on each of their last two visits to the Emirates Stadium, scoring five and conceding none. Beating last season’s Champions League finalists and Premier League runners-up will be another pivotal moment in Arsenal’s progression, reaffirming their status as genuine contenders to the throne.

It is only October, but there already seems to be a finality to the Premier League title race. Manchester City have destroyed teams with authority – scoring an extraordinary 29 goals in eight games – and a fifth title in six years seems to be the most likely outcome. However, a storm is surging in North London, and if Mikel Arteta and Arsenal continue this upward momentum, the 2022/23 campaign has all the makings of a special season for the Gunners.

 

[Featured Image Credit: Arsenal]

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