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Can Arsenal challenge Man City for the title again this season?

Can Arsenal challenge Man City for the title again this season?

Last Season’s round up

Arsenal came tantalisingly close to clinching their first Premier League title since the 2003/04 campaign, but they crumbled under the weight of their own ambitions in the closing stages of the campaign.

They had established themselves at the pinnacle of the Premier League standings for 248 days – the longest time a team has led the division without winning it – but their eventual capitulation began in April.

The Gunners won just three of their final nine games of the season (D3, L3), allowing the previously trailing Manchester City a free run at defending their crown for the third successive campaign.

Various factors have been cited for their failure to capitalize on a promising season. Nevertheless, Arsenal can take pride in their ability to compete head-to-head with the reigning champions.

With the heartbreaking campaign behind them, the Gunners will be looking to continue their development under the leadership of Mikel Arteta, who is determined to outperform his mentor and Man City counterpart, Pep Guardiola. Like last season, the games between both clubs will be crucial and it’s Arsenal’s trip to Etihad in March that could decide the title race. If you are interested in attending that game, you can buy Manchester City tickets at Seatsnet.com and book your trip in advance.

Last season’s second-place finish marked Arsenal’s best performance since the 2015/16 season, a significant improvement from the previous campaign when they finished fifth, missing out on Champions League qualification.

The performances last season provided clear evidence of Arsenal’s remarkable progress under Arteta, earning him high regard among his peers across Europe.

While Arsenal will fancy their chances of having another crack at the title with the Spanish manager at the helm, the question remains whether they have what it takes to finally dethrone Man City in their pursuit of the coveted Premier League crown.

The Transfer window

Arteta’s initial plan to use Man City’s weapons against them may have backfired, but the addition of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus have undeniably bolstered the Gunners, elevating their strength compared to recent years.

The Spaniard has taken further steps to reinforce his team, splashing over £200 million during the summer window in preparation for another title challenge against their Manchester rivals.

Arteta made the bold decision to bring in David Raya on a season-long loan, with the Spaniard expected to compete with Aaron Ramsdale for the starting goalkeeper position this season.

Jurrien Timber has also been recruited to strengthen the backline, which boasted one of the league’s best defensive records last season, conceding only 43 goals – on par with Manchester United.

Declan Rice got his long-anticipated transfer to North London after securing a £100m move from West Ham United, but the standout summer business was Arsenal’s investment in Chelsea flop Kai Havertz.

Throughout his three-year stay at Chelsea, the German was deployed in midfield, wide forward and striker roles, yet his numbers for the Blues were ridiculously unremarkable.

He bagged just 32 goals and 15 assists in 139 outings for Chelsea, while his move across the capital comes off the back of an appalling campaign where he managed just seven Premier League goals.

Havertz can barely shoot straight and is already proving to be a questionable purchase for the Gunners. But despite his profligacy, Arteta’s side have made a solid start to the season.

The 2023/24 campaign so far

While they haven’t exactly been dominant in the Premier League, Arsenal have racked up ten points from their first four games (W3, D1).

Their season began with narrow victories against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace, but they hit a stumbling block with a frustrating 2-2 draw against local rivals Fulham at the Emirates.

However, the Gunners stepped up their game significantly in a thrilling 3-1 triumph over Man United just before the international break in a game that was largely defined by fine margins.

Late goals from Rice and Gabriel Jesus sealed maximum points for Arsenal, preserving their unbeaten start to the season, but they will undoubtedly need more to dethrone Man City this term.

Can Arsenal challenge Man City for the title again this season?

The Cityzens have lost some key players from their treble-winning campaign, but their summer recruitment drive has also been top-notch, further emphasizing their desire to retain their titles.

Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte departed for the Saudi Pro League, making way for Jeremy Doku and Josko Gvardiol as their replacements.

Ilkay Gundogan cut ties with the champions over the summer to complete his dream move to Barcelona, and Mateo Kovacic was brought in to fill his shoes.

Man City also snapped up Matheus Nunes from Wolverhampton Wanderers to stand in for Kevin De Bruyne, who is not expected to feature for the Cityzens until 2024 as he nurses an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

Man City navigated the transfer window without unnecessary drama and bolstered positions that needed depth to boost their chances of challenging across all fronts again this term.

They were not at their sparkling best last season but managed to scoop up the treble, and their summer business could spell trouble for Arsenal’s chances of a league triumph.

Arsenal’s 84-point tally was their best since they last won the Premier League, but it wasn’t enough to surpass Guardiola’s Man City, who are defacto favourites for the crown at the start of every campaign.

They may need at least 85 points to properly challenge the defending champions, and probably over 90 – if not even higher – to beat them to the punch this term.

Man City have already started the new season as they mean to go on and are the only Premier League side to maintain a perfect record after four games.

The Cityzens have won each of their first four games by a combined scoreline of 11-2 after swatting aside Burnley, Newcastle United, Sheffield United and Fulham.

They will travel to West Ham United after the international break, looking to extend their stellar record even further, while Arsenal visits Merseyside to take on relegation strugglers Everton at Goodison Park.

It will undoubtedly be yet another cracking title race between both teams, and fans will be willing to pay the big bucks to see their side perform, having already shown an extraordinary desire to realise their ambitions.

While wresting the Premier League title from the determined holders will be a formidable task, Arsenal are currently the only side in the league capable of giving the champions a run for their money.

Verdict

With the campaign in its infancy, there are only a handful of question marks on the Arsenal roster that could potentially lead to them falling short once again.

Kieran Tierney’s move to Real Sociedad leaves Zinchenko as the only specialized left-back in Arteta’s line-up.

Although Timber can stand in for the Ukrainian when required, he is unlikely to feature for the Gunners until the latter part of the season due to an ACL injury.

Kai Havertz also presents a puzzle that Arteta must solve or consider removing from the starting line-up to keep his side firing on all cylinders.

Aside from their performance against Man United, Arsenal have been less-than-spectacular so far, but they’ve gotten the job done and have a near-perfect record to show.

Saliba’s injury derailed their campaign last term, and if they can keep key players fit for the majority of this season, they should pose a tangible threat to Man City again.

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