The English Premier League is the most watched sport in the world, with its matches broadcast in more than 200 territories with a potential television audience of 4.7 billion. The current 2023-23 season is almost at the halfway stage, and it is not usually dominating Manchester City sitting proudly at the top of the table but the North London giants, Arsenal.
Arsenal Football Club, nicknamed The Gunners, is one of English football’s most successful teams. They have won the English First Division and Premier League 13 times and a record 14 FA Cups, two League Cups, 16 Community Shields, the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, and the European Cup Winners’ Cup. However, Arsenal has not won the Premier League since the 2003-04 season and has not finished higher than fifth in the table in the past six seasons. All that looks set to change.
The Invincibles of 2003-04
The last time Arsenal won the Premier League, they did so without losing a single game, earning the squad the nickname “The Invincibles.” While going unbeaten will not happen this campaign, Arsenal is the team to catch at the Premier League table’s summit.
Despite holding a five-point advantage over title rivals Manchester City, sportsbooks in Oklahoma, the United Kingdom, indeed globally have Arsenal as the second-favorites to lift the trophy come to the end of the season. Those sites are likely to be wrong; this could be Arsenal’s year for Premier League glory.
Mikel Arteta’s job as head coach was under threat last season after Arsenal lost their opening three fixtures and found themselves rooted to the bottom of the table. The Gunners improved but then struggled for form in the second half of the campaign, winning six and losing six of their final 12 fixtures.
Arsenal fans called for Arteta to step down or the Arsenal Board to sack the Spaniard, but now everyone is entirely behind him, thanks to Arsenal winning 14, drawing two, and losing just one of their first 17 Premier League games.
Arsenal’s Youngsters Showing Maturity Beyond Their Years
Arteta always talked about how his young squad would come good; the Arsenal squad has an average age of 24.1 years, the youngest in the Premier League. Arteta brought in reinforcements in the shape of Fabio Vieira, Gabriel Jesus, and Oleksandr Zinchenko and is in the market during the January transfer window for Ukraine’s Mykhaylo Mudryk.
Arsenal’s squad does need bolstering, as they are short of striker options after summer signing Gabriel Jesus returned from World Cup duty with Brazil injured and is likely to be on the sidelines for another five weeks. Jesus’ spell on the sidelines has heaped the pressure on Arsenal academy product Eddie Nketiah to provide the goals.
The lack of depth is the number one reason bookmakers have Arsenal as the second-favorites behind Manchester City. The Manchester club has an embarrassment of riches, with two or three players in every position, plus the financial clout to go out and buy whoever they wish while the transfer window is open.
However, bookies and pundits seem to be turning a blind eye to the fact City have lost to Brentford and were held by a struggling Everton team at home this season, plus the Premier League’s bottom side, Southampton, dumped them out of the EFL Cup quarter-finals on January 11. The city is also still in the UEFA Champions League, a competition that head coach Pep Guardiola is desperate to win for The Citizens, which could mean they take their eye off the ball.
There is still plenty of football to be played before the Premier League’s champions are crowned. Two games, in particular, stand out from the crowd and could go some way to deciding whether the trophy heads to London or up the motorway to Manchester. This season, Arsenal and Manchester City have not played each other in the league.
They clash at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on February 15, with the reverse fixture taking place on April 26. One feels the winner of those games could become Premier League champions. One has the feeling that this may be Arsenal’s year.