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The Arsenal have done remarkably well. They have even done far better than what most critics would have anticipated. The loss at The Emirates to Aston Villa followed by the introduction of German’s maestro, Mesut Özil, seems to be the catalyst of this unbeaten streak in the Premier League.
An ambitious Borrusia Dortmund may have caused a hitch in their Champions League quest but the Gunners showed resilience in their 10-man match against a fiery Crystal Palace emerging victorious with a 2-0 win. Having lost Mikel Arteta due to a quite questionable red card against former gunner, Marouane Chamakh, they showed brilliancy in forcing a win in the absence of their skipper.
Wenger’s men might have won the battle at Selhurst Park but the war still rages on. Their next matches are all fire and brimstone. Come Tuesday, they will have to square it off with Chelsea in a Capital One Cup tie. Chelsea who are among the chasing pack in the league currently won their Sunday fixture 2-1 against Manchester City with both of their goals being capitalized on defensive errors and orchestrated by one mercurial Fernando Torres.
The game against Crystal Palace took its toll on Wenger’s boys as anchorman Mathieu Flamini was forced out of the game in the early minutes with a hamstring injury confirmed to put him out of action for three weeks. The Frenchman was the core of the defensive midfield in that Arsenal centre and his injury couldn’t have come at the possibly worst time ever.
It will be interesting to see who Arsene Wenger will field. Will he put out his famous young blood team or will he risk playing the senior boys knowing quite well the possibility of more injuries. Or would he mix both of them?
The Capital One Cup is perhaps what I would term as the ‘easiest cup’ to win and would patch up the lack of silverware in the trophy cabinet. After battling it out with The Blues this midweek, they will face Liverpool on a weekend fixture this Saturday. Surely it doesn’t rain, but pours. The match has been scheduled to be one mouth-watering clash and with both of them at par on the league standings, it promises to be a classic.
Pundits cannot wait to see how the tiki-taka-Barcelona-esque midfield of Arsenal would pair against a formidable and feisty strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. Three very crucial points will be up for grabs but deep down we all know this match is about bragging rights and unquenched egos. A draw will certainly be a boring affair as bucket loads of goals are expected out of that game.
Just when you thought the fun was over, Arsenal have a Champions League return leg to Bundesliga’s side, Borrusia Dortmund on 6th Wednesday, November. It gets even more interesting as the immediate next fixture is a date with current EPL champions, Manchester United at Old Trafford on the 10th November.
Critics have argued that with tough fixtures is the only way to gauge Arsenal’s capability, resilience and ambition. Wenger was quoted saying that this was the season his team would fight off with The Red Devils and the rest to the trophy at the end of June. Football enthusiasts all over said that they were yet to face bigger opposition. Well, the match against The Kop will be one of the many tests to see if they can hold on till the end of the league.
Come December, Arsenal’s depth squad will be put to test as fixtures come in thick and fast due to the season’s festivities. Will injuries pile up as it has been in the rest of the other season, or will Wenger be uncanny and pull a rabbit out of a hat with a strategy. The thought of January and its transfer window is one Wenger has his mind on.
When asked whether he would add more steel to his squad, he brushed the issue aside and claimed that his main focus at the moment was seeing his team flourish and keep being the top predator in that food chain. It’s quite clear that with the likes of Özil in the mix, he will still have to invest in a couple of players to compensate the injured ones (which inevitably will happen).
As for now, The Gunners are cruising, thwarting everyone who stands in their way but with a winning streak, come great responsibility; maintaining it. Will they hold on and fight off other big guns or will they crumble?
Written by David Mwandawiro
Follow David on Twitter @ThatguyDavy
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