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Friday, August 21, 2009

Arsenal: Truth or Fluke?

            Rewind a few weeks back- before opening weekend of the EPL, before European qualifying was underway, back to a time when all that hooligans had was a transfer window to bullshit about.  Do you remember how bad Arsenal was back then?

            Just weeks ago, with no games in hand and only a squad on paper, you might have thought Arsenal were going to be the next Newcastle United.  With an injury-prone team, a lack of depth, and a manager selling at will while too “stubborn” to buy, the verdict was in: Arsenal were to drop from England’s Big Four.

            This was just too attractive of an idea.  Fans are always looking for a rupture in the Big Four since it became a fixture in England’s top-flight.  And with Manchester City sporting a whole new look, the result of a recent spending spree, now was the time when England’s Big Four would be no more.  I admit, I, too, joined in on the fun.

            The Gunners, however, thought otherwise.  Two games into their campaign, Arsenal are the best team in England.  The North-London club put an absolute drubbing on Everton this past weekend, then three days later handily defeated Scottish powerhouse Celtic away in Champions League qualifying.  Furthermore, with everyone involved looking in top form, the Gunners displayed some beautiful football.

            Sounds like a great story, but don’t get too carried away, now.  Remember, this is only two games into the season.  And in England, it is a long, long season.

            The notion here, though, is that Arsene Wenger and his club have given themselves quite an opportunity.  Wenger has been adamant about building a club from the bottom up and winning with his own players, hence his loathe to spend this summer despite the requests of many Arsenal-faithful.  In modern day football, this is unheard of.  The first solution to a problem on the pitch these days is to buy a fix.  Wenger, however, is poised to do the unheard of.

            Should Arsenal’s run of form as of late be a sign of things to come, we are in for an historic season, one that may make Wenger look a genius.  The Frenchman has taken much criticism in recent years, time he has deemed as for rebuilding, for fourth place domestic finishes, lack of silverware, and lack of investment.  However, his club, now intricately bred like a band of brothers, are set to defy expectations.  For the current era of Gunners, the biggest challenge is getting over the hump of winning their first league title.  From then on, it is free sailing for Arsenal.  Could this be the beginning of a Gunner-reign over England?

            But hey, easy now.  Let's not get ahead of ourselves.  Don’t forget, we’re only two games into the campaign.  And in England, it’s a long, long season.

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