Gunners have got what it takes for title

Monday 18th November 2013 13:15

Arsenal: Lead the way in the Premier League

Arsenal: Lead the way in the Premier League

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Arsenal FanZoner JC is convinced the Gunners have got what it takes to go on and win the Premier League title this season.

Apparently we're not in the title race. Who knew right? Did you? We lost to Manchester United, the defending champions, so apparently we're not the in the title race. Never mind that we sit top of the league, clear by two points, and have been playing some of the best football in the country in this season. The simple fact is we're not in the title race, and all we Gooners should just accept it.

The only problem with all that of course, is that it's complete and utter hogwash. We are in the title race.

The doubters' go-to argument of 'no big teams have been beaten' has been undergoing revisionism after revisionism. I'll admit, at the beginning I found it highly amusing that Spurs weren't even mentioned as a caveat. Napoli were thus to be our first 'big test' but, when they were duly swept aside, they were deemed a team 'in transition' and so we were just lucky to be playing them at a good time - it wasn't a real test.

Then came the two defeats at the Emirates to Dortmund and Chelsea in cup competitions. Losing to Dortmund at home seemed equal parts naïve and unlucky, while the Chelsea game was in the Capital One Cup which only went so far as to show that it was the Capital One Cup and I really don't even want to waste more words on it. I mean, it's the Capital One Cup. Can't we just get rid of it already?

Next, of course, was the big three: Liverpool, the return leg against Dortmund, and a trip to Old Trafford. Liverpool, then and still second in the league table, were blown away by, to quote my favourite 40million pound signing, F1 speed football. However, after the lost, they suddenly became a very average team whose strikers hide numerous other deficiencies. While this may well be true, it was amusing that the same people, who had been talking them up all week, were so quick to write them off.

The victory at the Westfalenstadion, was as impressive as it was hard-fought. Much like the previous meeting the home side probably felt hard-done to not get a point, while the away side were delighted to have seized their moment with great efficiency. Not many teams go to Dortmund and came away with all three points, so this victory should not be downplayed. The fact that we weren't at our free-flowing best probably makes it all the more impressive, as we showcased the grittier, more dogged, side of our game.

But then, we lost at Old Trafford, 1-0.

To the defending champions.

And Van Persie scored.

And Ozil didn't play very well.

And Giroud didn't score, but Van Persie scored.

And Ozil didn't play very well, but Rooney did.

And Van Persie scored.

And we lost 1-0.

To the defending champions.

And did you know that Van Persie scored?

Yes. Right. Thank you. I got that. I watched the game too.

But I tell you what, I didn't see us being blown away, or outclassed, or played off the park. I didn't see us being particularly troubled by United. In fact, other than a Rooney chance and that header from Smalling, I didn't us allowing them to create all that much at all. Their two missed chances seemed very much equal to our two, those crosses that Sagna wiped in that were just begging for a touch into the net.

What I did see was a tight game, between the reigning champions and the current league leaders, that was decided by the smallest of margins. Much like they used to be around the turn of the century. It was far from the leisure with which we were brushed aside last year and even further from the 8-2 humbling in 2011. This was a game between equals, between rivals.

It seems funny that in a season when all the big teams are dropping points, to supposed 'lesser' teams, that we place so much emphasis on these 'big games'. There are 38 games in a season, and the team with the most points at the end will win.

The defeat at Old Trafford wasn't the collapse or failed test that many are making it out to be. It certainly doesn't rule us out of the title race. We're top of the league after 11 games; we're in this race and, so far, we're winning. One defeat doesn't change that.

I imagine we'll see some movement in the table as we go through the heavy December fixture schedule, and, obviously, as each fixture goes by we get a clearer image of what the final table is more likely to look like come May. But, for now at the very least, we're leading the race.

By JC, FanZone's Arsenal blogger. Follow @FanZone on Twitter!

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