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Arsenal’s Emirates Double-header Will Let Us Know if They Are True Title Contenders

Mikel Arteta, Emirates, Arsenal, vision

The new season couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for Arsenal. The Gunners sit atop of the Premier League table for the first time in what feels like an eternity. They have won six of their opening seven games so far this term and have done so in impressive fashion. OddsChecker, which compares odds and provides free offers on European football, still makes Manchester City the favourites to retain the crown they won in dramatic fashion on the final day of last season. But if Mikel Arteta’s side continue in the same vain, they could be on for a first Premier League title since the days of The Invincibles, way back in 2004.

But while the North London club have started the new season impressively, the one fixture they’ve played against England’s resident ‘Big Six’ ended in defeat. The Gunners travelled to Old Trafford on September 4th in the hopes of extending their perfect start to the new term and laying down a marker against one of their oldest rivals. And it looked like that would end up happening after they got off to a bright start and controversially had a Gabriel Martinelli goal ruled out by VAR. But despite dominating for long periods, they eventually succumbed to a 3-1 defeat courtesy of Marcus Rashford’s second-half brace.

Arsenal won a whole host of plaudits for their performance, but as former United captain, Roy Keane quite rightfully said while presenting on Sky Sports after the game:

“You done okay. Take your plaudits. But give me three points any day of the week.” 

Tottenham and Liverpool Back-to-Back

Despite bouncing back from that disappointing evening in Manchester with a comfortable 3-0 away win at Brentford, Arsenal’s biggest tests are yet to come. The first of which arrived with Tottenham Hotspur’s visit to the Emirates after the international break where they secured a comfortable 3-1 win over a rusty Spurs side. Spurs where just 1 point behind their great rivals but finished the day being four points behind in the race for top spot in the Premier League.

They are coming off the back of routing rock-bottom Leicester City 6-2 on home turf last time out and ominously for the Gunners – and the rest of the Premier League for that matter – Son Heung-Min is back amongst the goals. The Korean sensation has found goals hard to come by in the opening weeks of the new campaign, but he returned to the scoresheet with a bang during that thumping win over the Foxes, scoring a sensational second-half hat trick.

But sterner tests still lie ahead, Liverpool travel south to the Emirates the following week. Last season’s Premier League and Champions League runners-up have endured a challenging start to the new season following the departure of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich. Regardless though, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have proven with their consistency, over the last five years or so, that they are one of the greatest teams English football has ever seen. Their dominance – along with Manchester City – over the domestic game has been unheard of, and Mohamed Salah will provide the Gunners with a stern test of their title-chasing credentials.

How Will Arsenal Fare?

The main positive for the Emirates-based club is that both fixtures will be on home territory. If Arsenal were visiting the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Anfield back-to-back, one may worry about their fate. But with the shoe being on the other foot, the home faithful should be in optimistic mood. Admittedly in recent years, it has been games against their nearest rivals that have proved to be the most difficult – with their defeat away at Spurs during the closing stages of last season immediately springing to mind, costing the Gunners a place in the top four for the first time since the days of Arsene Wenger.

But should Arsenal be able to put the ghost of that defeat to rest and seal a victory over their nemesis, then Liverpool will be the ones entering the contest at the Emirates with trepidation, while their opponents should be in buoyant mood. One way or the other, however, this doubleheader will prove without a shadow of a doubt whether the Gunners are up to the task of chasing Premier League glory, or not.

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Amiya Saha
Avid follower of Manchester United FC. Have blind faith on the Red Devils at any point. Waiting to see Manchester United bring back the Ferguson era. Has a dream to watch Manchester United play at Old Trafford live.

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