Why the next two games will shape Arsenals title chances


If you had suggested to anyone that Arsenal would be title contenders after they were demolished at home by Liverpool on the first day of the season, you would probably have been laughed out of the room.

However, Arsene Wenger’s side have taken 13 points from a possible 15 since then and following Saturday’s 3-0 thrashing of Chelsea, this could be the perfect time to back Arsenal to win their first Championship since 2004.

Dropping point regularly against their title rivals is what has let Wenger’s team down over the past few years. Chelsea’s profligacy was a major contributing factor in aiding Arsenals win at the weekend, but at times during that first half they seemed to be unstoppable.

Theo Walcott’s simple finish was a culmination of a typically fluid Arsenal attack and if they can stay as solid at the back as they were against their London rivals, then there is no reason why they can’t establish themselves as potential champions.

Confidence will be very high around the Emirates at the moment and with tricky fixtures against Tottenham and Manchester United coming up in a month’s time, they will want to gather as much momentum over the next four weeks as they can. But Arsene Wenger’s side have been guilty of underestimating smaller opponents in the past and their next two matches propose two definite potential banana skins.

The stats suggest that Arsenal have a very good recent record against newly promoted sides, but there is no doubting an away trip to Burnley, who have comfortably beaten Liverpool and Watford at Turf Moor already this season, will be a very difficult obstacle to overcome.

Down the years, Wenger’s sides have struggled against opponents who play with a very compact, physical style, whilst staying disciplined and organised at the back. Sean Dyche’s team have only conceded eight goals so far, the least amount in the entire bottom half, so it won’t be a walk in the park for Arsenal to turn this side over, like they did Chelsea.

On the other hand, the Gunners recent head-to-head record against Swansea City doesn’t make for pleasant reading, with Arsenal only managing one win in their last five matches against the Welsh side. Swansea did the double over Arsenal during the 2014-15 campaign and a late Ashley Williams goal secured a 2-1 victory at the Emirates, back in March.

Swansea may be struggling a little, with manager Francesco Guidolin’s future at the club said to be in doubt, but if Arsenal did manage to get a win in that game, they would come away from the Emirates with a great sense of relief.

Both of these two games are matches you would expect Arsenal to win, but if they can manage to take all six points, it will show Wenger the true character of his side. Whether they are strong enough to keep this good run of form going and whether that can challenge for major honours on both domestic and European fronts later in the season.


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