Ever since 29th September 2012, it would be an understatement to suggest Arsenal and early kickoffs on Saturday has been a marriage from hell. Seven losses in 18 matches has been their record during this four year period. Fans of the Gunners have had to endure some embarrassing losses while having their lunch in the early parts of the weekend. 3-6 against Manchester City, 1-5 against Liverpool and 0-6 against Chelsea in three consecutive lunchtime kickoffs compounded the gloom among people at the Emirates. However, their win against Sunderland for their first 12:45 kickoff for the season has more than one reason to be positive.
The unbeaten run continues
Optimism and positivity is building around North West London, which is a far cry from the opening day of the season. Since that loss against Jürgen Klopp’s inspired Liverpool, Arsene Wenger has been able to keep his side unbeaten in 14 games. There have been a few standout performances in that time, such as the dominant displays against Chelsea and Ludogorets Razgrad in the #Champions League. However, a significant number of their other victories have had something different; calmness. Rather than being lucky in a couple of tight matches, suggested by the results, #Arsenal have been able to show quality in key moments. This is something that has been missing for a long time with Wenger’s side, this year may entail a different story.
Squad depth is paying dividends
The common consensus over the past few years has been that even if the starting lineup of Arsenal is good enough to win the #Premier League title, the players who make up the bench have not been up to the standard of a champion side. Truth be told, injuries have regularly plagued Arsenal’s attempts at winning the league. Again, this season seems to tell a different story. While we will have to wait and see how lucky or unlucky they are with injuries, players on the bench look ready to give the impetus required if the team needs it. Giroud was able to come off the bench and score two vital goals today, and with Oxlade-Chamberlain impressing, the team is moving in the right direction to mount a serious challenge this year.
Setbacks are no longer catastrophic
Any football team will experience some bad patches of form, whether that be in a match or through certain parts of the season. While Arsenal haven’t seen a lapse of form so far, they certainly have had some difficult moments in matches. Just last week, many fans would have felt fortunate to have gotten a point against Middlesborough at home. But, they got a point, they did not lose. Previous teams and squads would have probably lost the match and become despondent. However, this side looks to be made of sterner stuff. Even today, after Sunderland equalised, one can imagine how difficult that setback would have been. Three goals in a period of 10 electrifying minutes dispelled any myths of this Arsenal side not having the mental toughness.
So, as we enter a crucial part of the season, things look rosy for Arsenal in their quest for a first Premier League title in 13 years.