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It’s been eight long, gruelling, painful years for Arsenal Football Club since the world famous, historic Invincibles came to the table containing the likes of Henry, Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Pires and Viera. 38 whole Barclays Premier League games unbeaten- a record that will surely never be matched.
But is this season that the likes of Podolski, Vermaelen, Cazorla, Wilshere and Walcott bring the glory back to the red side of North London? Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fans most certainly are. Of course I am not saying that this current Arsenal team will replicate that 03/04 season, but there is no reason why a title push cannot be a serious thought for both Arsenal and their fans this season.
We all know what wins the title, having a world class starting XI, but mixing it up with a quality substitutes bench and full squad, this is the common phrase we hear about – strength in depth.
This term was spoken about lots last season, with Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City. Mancini had Aguero, Balotelli and Dzeko in his attacking armoury, with Carlos Tevez playing an influential part in the latter stages. These four players cost well over £100m by my calculations, and meant that 20m+ strikers Adebayor and Santa Cruz could get nowhere near the team.
With Nasri, Silva, Adam Johnson, Milner, Barry, De Jong and the machine-like Yaya Toure all in midfield, Manchester City were the optima of strength in depth and it is no surprise that they went on to win the title, albeit in extra time of the last match.
So far this season, after four games, Arsenal have been without three or their main talismans from the squad, Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky. These absentees have almost been forgotten after the start to the season with two wins and two draws including a 6-1 win against Southampton.
The reason why these players are seemingly forgotten, defender Carl Jenkinson covering beautifully for Sagna, Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby controlling the midfield, and the £12m Spanish magician Santi Cazorla unlocking opponents’ defences with agility and beautiful passing.
Arsenal have managed to net 8 times in the last two matches, silencing the critics questioning where the goals will come from without Robin Van Persie. Podolski has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water, and Gervinho has his scoring boots on with a brace against Southampton.
This is in addition to France’s top scorer last season Olivier Giroud, Oxlaide-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott all still in the pipeline for Wenger, this can only mean that Arsenal are beginning to find the holy ‘Strength in Depth’?
This is in all fields of the team, second choice goalkeeper Vito Mannone has gone 180 minutes without conceding, Kieron Gibbs has Andre Santos fighting hard for the left back position and Per Mertesacker is filling in perfectly for Laurent Koscielny.
Arsenal have only conceded one goal this term, an error from Wojciech Szczesny handing Southampton a goal. The defence is looking very solid, evidence of hard training from new assistant manager Steve Bould. This is in addition to Arsenal’s attacking passing threat, which is starting to make the team become ‘the full package’.
This really is the strongest Arsenal’s squad has been for many years which is testimony to Arsene Wenger who has managed to replace almost irreplaceable players on countless occasions. Could this be the year that Arsenal win back the Premier League trophy then?
It may be a cliché, but what will be, will be! I certainly would not be ruling them out…
Written by Elliott Heath
Follow him on Twitter @elliottafc
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