Six reasons why the Blues might yet prevail in title race
Arsenal has been in superb form this season and went into the World Cup break five points ahead of everyone, with Manchester City their closest challenger.
On the return of football, they opened a seven-point gap to the champions, but it has since been reduced to five after they drew against Newcastle United, who have also been terrific this season.
That draw was a feisty affair, and it showed Arsenal are beginning to feel the pressure of being at the top of the Premier League table, which comes from inexperience.
They haven’t won the league since 2004 and haven’t played in the Champions League since 2017, so they are clearly overachieving now, which could get the better of them in the long run.
Manchester City is the defending champions, and it seems the Gunners will beat them to the league title, considering that Pep Guardiola’s team is struggling to find consistency.
However, form is temporary, and class is permanent, which is why many pundits and football fans continue to believe City will eventually win the title. Why do we think so?
A world-class and experienced manager
Pep Guardiola is arguably the best manager in the world, and it is hard to find a coach who has won as many trophies as the Spaniard has won in his career.
One trophy that has eluded him in the last few seasons is the Champions League, but he won it at least twice as the manager of Barcelona.
He has won four Premier League crowns since he moved to England in 2016 and has won three of the last four available, making him the most successful manager in the competition now.
This achievement cannot be underestimated in this season’s title race. But, even if that does not count much, Pep has also won the league in Spain and Germany, which clearly shows he know how to deliver the top prize after a long season.
Mikel Arteta worked with him for three years and credits his fellow countryman for helping him become the manager he is now.
It is common for a student to beat a master and even overachieve, but Pep on the City bench is one big reason they will overturn the points gap before the season ends.
A season after Pep arrived at City, they underwent a massive recruitment drive with the likes of John Stone and Kyle Walker joining them in big-money moves.
These transfers were followed by more spending, with world-class players like Riyad Mahrez and Ederson joining them. The moves immediately paid off as City stormed their way to the title in 2017/2018, and that marked the start of their dominance.
Arsenal has recruited well in the last two seasons, which is why they are challenging for the league title at this stage of the season.
However, their quality in depth dwarfs that of City, and it could be the difference between winning and losing the league title for both clubs.
When Gabriel Jesus was injured at the World Cup, it became clear Arsenal didn’t have a proper replacement for him because Eddie Nketiah hardly inspires confidence.
At City, when a player is sidelined, there could be two more who can step up and take his place, and no one will even worry about them.
It clearly shows City has better players both on the pitch and on the bench in different games, which is a luxury that will be very useful in the title race, and it could help them beat Arsenal to the league title.
EPL winning mentality
City has won the Premier League six times in the last ten years, and four have been with Guardiola as the team’s manager, which is a huge advantage.
This means the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and John Stones have won the league many times and can inspire the new team members to get their hands on another trophy.
Arsenal’s upturn in form can be attributed to the arrival of Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, two players who joined them from Manchester City, having won at least two EPL trophies each.
Their impact shows when your team has enough players who have won the EPL before, it transforms the dressing room and helps it to defeat more opponents.
City has the players with the most Premier League title wins now, and even their coaching staff is used to success in the competition, making it easy for them to come back and knock Arsenal off the top of the standings.
Masters of winning runs
Most fans and pundits have been surprised by the inconsistent form City has shown this season, which is why Arsenal is leading the standings.
However, it is not the first time Guardiola’s side has made a slow start to a campaign only to end it as league winners.
One way they make a comeback is to embark on a winning run that could stretch to 17 consecutive wins. It is hard for any title challenger to catch a side that can create that kind of streak.
Arsenal has not shown they can do this and City could ruin their title party by winning 10 straight games or more. They have done it at least twice before and it could be the run of form that tips the scale in their favour this term.
Haaland is unplayable
The winner of the Golden Boot last season scored 23 league goals in over 30 matches, but Haaland scored 21 times in his first 16 appearances in the competition.
City was already the best club in the Premier League, and now they have added a monster of a player in Haaland to their squad, who has made them even better.
Understandably, his goals haven’t been enough to take them atop the standings yet, a position Arsenal holds now, but the Gunners do not have a reliable goalscorer like the Norwegian machine.
Scoring that many goals in less than half the league game in an entire season mean Haaland has been the difference-maker for City this season, and he will be huge for them in the second half of the campaign.
City can still buy success in January.
The January transfer window presents both clubs with a chance to bolster their squad and make it stronger than it is now.
To sell Manchester City tickets, the club knows they must keep winning trophies, and they might bolster their squad in the winter transfer window.
The first half of the season presented both clubs with a clear view of which positions in their squad need to be strengthened, and City has shown they have more than enough money to burn.
If they feel they must buy new players to challenge for the title, we can expect them to get on the market and get it done.
Arsenal could do the same, but they will struggle to convince a player to ignore City and join them, which means they will likely sign players who are not as good as the stars that the Citizens will add to their squad.
The title race is still open, and it does seem like Manchester United, and Newcastle United could join it in this second half of the season.
However, anyone that rules City out of the running for the title will be making a huge mistake.