We have seen the traditional Arsenal story so consistently over the years that we can reel it off in almost no time. Fans become disgruntled with the club’s transfer dealings in the summer and the team start the season in an acrimonious fashion. They pick up some form through the “normal” part of the season, but in the big games and moments, they look distinctly off the pace. Their title challenge filters out into mediocracy by March but a late great run gives fans expectancy and hope that next season can be theirs. They are always expected to challenge for the Premier League, but this season, some people do not expect them to make the Top 4.

Could we all be proved wrong come May 2017?

No expectancy this time

Last season, with Chelsea, Manchester United and also Manchester City experiencing very turbulent times, there was a lot of expectancy on Arsenal to end their 12 year wait for the Premier League title. People felt that this was Arsène Wenger’s best chance to silence his critics and possibly end his reign at the Emirates in victory. However, Leicester City spoilt the party and Arsenal’s challenge faltered dramatically in the last few months of the season. Despite finishing second, disappointment and anger was the natural reaction of every Arsenal fan. Now, because of the past experiences, people expect Arsenal to finish in the Top 4, but be nowhere near Manchester City and the other favourites.

However, this expectation could give the club something different and being away from the limelight may help them in their fight to be England’s top club.

Performances show good signs

After the loss against Liverpool on the opening weekend of the season, Arsenal have been unbeaten and picked up some great results along the way.

The immediate comment that will come after the previous sentence is that other than PSG and last season’s champions Leicester City, the Gunners have played teams that they expect to beat. This is a valid point but this cannot be placed as a criticism against Wenger’s side. Last weekend, Manchester United were humbled against Watford to end their treacherous week.

All the good performances from Arsenal build form and give stability to the side. The new signings Mustafi and Perez seem to have settled in well, and Xhaka has been a revelation with scoring some outstanding goals. All this positivity must be good for Arsenal in their upcoming fixtures.

Victory against Chelsea can give real belief

Before the season began, all the pundits expected the title battle to be between the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea. If Arsenal can defeat Conte’s side on Saturday evening, this will give them incredible confidence. They will then believe that they can mix it with the best and have a real chance. Despite losing against Liverpool last week, Chelsea are still considered as one of the favourites for the league.

They are a very strong side with great physicality and have the mentality of champions, with them being the winners two years ago. Arsenal will need to develop that type of mentality if they want to have any chance of toppling Manchester City and Arsène will hope that his side can show that at their home ground on Saturday.

As the wait is almost over for the London derby, whoever comes out the victor will gain real confidence and hope for the rest of the season.