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The big debate: 'Of course Arsenal can win the title - they're the best team in the Premier League right now'

12:01 EAT 11/10/2022
Xhaka Arteta Haaland Guardiola Arsenal Man City 2022-23 GFX
Man City look unstoppable with Erling Haaland up front but Arsenal top the table - GOAL's correspondents and editors argue over who'll finish top.

Arsenal's superb start to the season has got the football world talking.

Are Mikel Arteta's side the real deal? Can they surprise everyone this season and snatch the Premier League title away from Manchester City?

Sunday's thrilling victory against Liverpool, which backed up the north London derby success against Tottenham the previous weekend, felt like a big moment for Arteta's young Gunners.

It was the biggest test they have faced so far and they passed it in typically exciting style.

So, could they do the unthinkable and bring the Premier League title back to Arsenal for the first time since 2004?

We asked several members of our GOAL team to get their thoughts...

  • Arsenal celebrate 2022-23

    Charles Watts, Arsenal correspondent

    Can Arsenal win the Premier League? It’s the question no-one at the club really wants to answer at the moment.

    Mikel Arteta was asked after Sunday’s 3-2 win against Liverpool and side-stepped the issue nicely, as he has done on several occasions in recent weeks.

    I then put the same question to Gabriel Martinelli and although he did dare to admit it’s something he and his team-mates have dreamt about, he also trotted out the ‘we’re just taking every game as it comes’ line.

    The fact is we are just nine matches into the season.

    Arsenal have started like a train and there is a belief and togetherness around the club now that perhaps hasn’t been seen since the glory days of the Invincibles under Arsene Wenger.

    They are top of the table and they deserve to be there. Whether they can stay the course, however, is an entirely different matter.

    Personally, I still think the title is Manchester City’s to lose and I can’t imagine there are many that will disagree with me.

    But that’s not to say Arsenal can’t win it. Of course they can.

    As stale and predictable as Arteta’s answers are when quizzed on his side’s title prospects, they are correct.

    The key thing for Arsenal is to just keep going game by game. Ticking them off and seeing where it takes them.

    If they can stay in the hunt until around March, then who knows? Leicester showed what can be done six years ago, so anyone completely writing off Arsenal’s chances at this stage would be foolish.

    Man City have been exceptional so far, Erling Haaland has been utterly ridiculous. But guess what? Despite all that, they are still looking up at Arsenal when it comes to the league table.

    As of now, Arteta’s side are the best team in the country. As the old cliché goes, the league table doesn’t lie.

    Clearly the squad is not as strong as City’s, but nor was Leicester’s in 2015-16. People might ponder what would happen if Gabriel Jesus got injured, or Bukayo Saka or Gabriel Martinelli.

    But what if Haaland got injured? Or Kevin De Bruyne. City may be packed with talent, but those players are still very hard to replace.

    So, Arsenal just need to keep doing what they are doing and just stay in the race for as long as possible.

    Everyone is expecting them to slip up. All we’ve heard since the start of the season is ‘they haven’t played anyone yet’.

    Well, in nine games they’ve played three matches against the so-called ‘big six’ and they still sit top of the table. So, that is a line that just doesn’t stack up.

    Will Arsenal win the league? I think it’s unlikely. Can they win? Yes, without a doubt.

  • Granit Xhaka Gabriel Jesus Arsenal 2022-23

    Neil Jones, Liverpool correspondent

    Liverpool's issues notwithstanding, Sunday felt like a big step forward in the 'can Arsenal challenge?' debate. 

    OK, it wasn't the most resounding of wins, but what it did showcase was how much this side has learned, and how much has been added under Mikel Arteta. In particular, intensity, controlled aggression and mental fortitude. All things they have been accused of lacking on a regular basis in years gone by. Right the way back to 2004, to be honest.

    There is a lot of talent there, especially among the front four, but retaining the solidity brought by players like Partey, Xhaka and Saliba will be key. Squad depth may be an issue, especially in centre midfield or at centre back, but with the likes of Tomiyasu, Nketiah, Tierney, Smith Rowe and Vieira all yet to really feature in the PL this season, there is reason to believe they could withstand a few injuries if they had to.

    Comparisons have, naturally, been drawn with the rise of Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, and I can see why. There is a hunger about Arsenal's youngsters, and their young manager, and they look like a club which is starting to make very good decisions in the transfer market, having made poor ones for far too long. They play with purpose and they have awoken their fans, which as we have seen at Anfield, can make a big difference. 

    Can they take their home form on the road? Can they go to Stamford Bridge or the Etihad or Anfield or Tottenham and dig out a result? They fell at Old Trafford, and we are yet to see how they respond to a rough patch. They will have one, you can be sure of that.

    But right now, they are looking good, and they need to ride this wave. I don't think they will have enough to overhaul City (Liverpool didn't, and they were further along than this side), but it would be nice if they did. The Premier League needs a strong Arsenal, and right now it has one.

  • Mikel Arteta Zinchenko

    Jonathan Smith, Manchester City correspondent

    If you were to ask a Manchester City fan who was their biggest threat ahead of Liverpool's trip to the Emirates, most would still be most concerned about Jurgen Klopp's side. Even now, and with a visit to Anfield, few will rule out Liverpool's challenge just yet, but there's a growing belief that Arsenal may be the ones to watch. 

    Certainly, City know a lot about the quality in their side – not least Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, who were such a big part of recent success, as well as Mikel Arteta, an inspiration behind the scenes. 

    But also from the way the Gunners played when the two sides met in North London on New Year's Day when Arsenal were the better side but beaten by a late Rodri goal after an act of self-sabotage when Gabriel was given a ridiculous red card. 

    Arteta seems to have sorted out those frailties and added some steel and intelligence over the summer, plus they don't have the distraction of the Champions League. 

    It's a shame next week's clash has been postponed – that would have really demonstrated whether Arsenal are on the same level as City or still have work to do.

  • 20221008 Erling Haaland

    Mark Doyle, Deputy Features Editor

    I would love to say that Arsenal can win the title, I really would, but the truth is they've no chance, which is a shame – both for the Gunners and the Premier League.

    There's so much to like about Mikel Arteta's team, which is full of exciting young players playing an attacking brand of football that makes for compelling viewing. 

    Indeed, it's easy to see why the Emirates is more energised than it's ever been before. This is a side, and indeed a club, that is finally moving in the right direction again after years of gross mismanagement. 

    And, looking at the bigger picture, English football needs Arsenal to sustain their sensational start to the season to maintain the illusion that the Premier League is the most competitive top flight in world football. But it's not, though, and this season will underline the fact when City coast to their fifth title in six years. 

    Nobody else in England has the squad strength or financial muscle to hang with the Abu Dhabi-backed super-club over an entire season. Let's face it, were it not for Liverpool, they'd have walked the league again last season and with Erling Haaland now on board, there will simply be no stopping them in the coming weeks, months and maybe even years. 

    Arsenal will remain a team to watch. They have improved, and will continue to improve. They may even end up winning a title. Just not this season, sadly.

  • Arsenal huddle

    Tom Maston, Assistant Features Editor

    Why wouldn’t you believe Arsenal can win the league this season? Nine games in and they are a point clear of Manchester City and playing the best football the Emirates Stadium has perhaps ever seen.

    City might have Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and the rest, but even they find themselves trailing in Arsenal’s wake right now having dropped points away at Newcastle and Aston Villa.

    Pep Guardiola’s side leaving some points on the table against inferior opposition during the opening weeks of the season is nothing new, and it very rarely costs them, but there have been some signs that similar results could follow as the season wears on.

    They have suffered a number of defensive injuries already, and an already thin squad is being pushed to its limits during a season that is already being tipped to be the most physically draining ever.

    Arsenal, on the other hand, have built up a squad where Mikel Arteta basically has two players for every position without the standard dropping too much. Only really City among the potential challengers can come close to matching that.

    The test for Arsenal will come when they have to go on the road to another ‘Big Six’ club, having already lost at Manchester United. Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on November 6 already has the feel of a ‘prove it’ game given their next three look relatively straightforward.

    Win in west London, and even more doubters will be turned into believers. We have a title race, and Arsenal look good to be in it for the long haul.

  • Bukayo Saka Arsenal 2022

    Owen Blackhurst, Mundial

    It would be easy to simply say that Arsenal have no hope of winning the league. 

    That no matter how well the team is playing, how loud The Emirates is, or how infectious Ian Wright’s celebration videos are, that an Erling Haaland-led Man City are just going to be too much to cope with. 

    They have twice seen off a garlanded Liverpool team into second place in recent years, and look hellbent on winning everything; now crushing teams with a wrecking ball where once they were obsessed with strangling them into submission. 

    And yet, on the other hand Arsenal are not going anywhere. They bounced back from defeat against Manchester United and rendered it unimportant rather than a result that could capsize a season, they held firm when Liverpool spent 30 minutes camped in their half and ended it on top, and they look like a team obsessed with erasing a decade of mediocrity. 

    Look around the squad and it has all of the ingredients to win a title. Mad keeper who thrives in the face of pressure? Check. Cult full-back who can seemingly play anywhere? Check. Newly minted Rolls Royce centre-half? Check. Inspirational skipper desperate to prove the hype was real? Check. The living, breathing redemption story? Check.

    Ask all the questions and it’s a yes. And that’s before you get to Saka, Jesus and Zinchenko. The former a player at the beginning of what could be one of the great careers, the latter two a pair of inspirational and transformative winners with a point to prove. 

    History is littered with these stories and if stuff like this didn’t happen then we wouldn’t watch, read, and listen to them. Of course they can win it, and if we all stop believing that then really, what’s the point?