The latest news from the bluegrass state.
I know, I know - It's still October, and we've got a long way to go - but I can't help but feel optimistic at this point. We're ten games in, top of the table, and clear by five points over Manchester City, Chelsea, and Sp*rs. We're even further ahead of a struggling Manchester United who we face at the week's end. That brings me to my first point:
Alan hansen is a monumental cunt.
Without going into too much detail, the amount that I hate certain football pundits is growing, and the list of those I immediately mute the television when I see their name is growing equally. Rapidly. At the tail end of last weekend when we beat Crystal Palace the BBC's edition of Match of the Day rang out with Alan Hansen being a rather monumental cunt. "Arsenal hasn't played anyone of note." So pre-season title "favorites" Tottenham and the high flying Napoli were nobody? Meh. I don't so much care - but I'm glad we beat his beloved Liverpool and put them back in their place. When describing our mental lapses at the back - I'm not going to argue that it hasn't been a problem - but to go back to a 2010-11 Arsenal squad to show a defensive blunder featuring none other than Gael Clichy is stretching it a bit. He's just upset that the biggest mental defensive blunder of his career came on a day in late May in 1989 at the hands of Micky Thomaaaaaaaassssssssss.
Anyway - can't stand him. Glad they asked him back for MOTD this week. Hah.
The next point of contention that has been brought up repeatedly over the last weeks is whether or not Arsenal are "real deal" title contenders.
I know it's early in the season - but the previously mentioned scalps of Napoli, Tottenham, Liverpool, and some solid performances along the way seem to be taken pretty lightly by the media punditry (see my point above). Personally, I think the squad could still improve but we can't be possibly be asking more of the contributions of Aaron Ramsey. Mesut Özil has yet to settle into the Premier League (and has already been fantastic) and we're missing some key players to come back into the side with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Matthieu Flamini, and Jack Wilshere all out. Oh, Abou Diaby too. Santi Cazorla himself has only just recently come back into the squad. Mikel Arteta has been bossing the midfield, and Olivier Giroud has done well recently up front.
I don't see what the big problem is. We've got quality. We've actually got some pretty solid depth, and we've NOT LOST A GAME (in the league) SINCE THE OPENING WEEKEND. I don't see why we can't be seen as quality contenders - especially if this form continues through to December.
That brings me to my next point, and I can hear the groans through my monitor. January. We've got a big one coming up. We've really got a chance to cement our position come January with some more reinforcements. Our highly publicized pursuit of a high profile striker over the summer came as no surprise with our relative lack of depth and beyond Giroud - our lack of quality in the position. With the muted and disinterested display from Nicky B during the Chelsea match in the Capitol One Cup, I don't think he did himself any favors and the self-proclaimed "greatest striker that ever lived" could very well find himself at a mid tier club like Crystal Palace, Sunderland, or Stoke who have all made their interest known.
Personally, I think that will be the focus of our January window. Whether that is Karim Benzema, Luis Suarez (again), Diego Costa, or someone that I really don't know, an injection of quality in that position could fire Giroud to new heights with competition, and provide adequate cover for when the inevitable niggle or knock sends our handsome Frenchman to the treatment table. Perhaps with all of the Dortmund rumors flying we can get all three of Lewandowski, Gundogan, and Reus for around £70m - which is conveniently the amount of money we're rumored to have at our disposal over the window. Other rumors include Italian forward Stephan El Shaarawy - and a possible swap for Theo Walcott of around £34m to Monaco. Who knows - we've got a fantastic position, a fantastic squad, and a fantastic opportunity to cement ourselves as top top title and champions league contenders.
This midweek we'll get to see three of our supposed targets playing for their side against us in the Champions league for Dortmund. We've taken six points from a possible nine in the group of death so far - our only defeat coming at home to last year's defeated finalists. We've got a good shot at progressing to the round of 16 in the tournament with a win, and I think we can feel optimistic about our chances in the German city. Either way - should be a fantastic game. If we can keep Lewandowski and Reus quiet like we did Suarez and Sturridge over the weekend we're in for a good result!
Up the Arsenal!
Branch Manager of Arsenal Kentucky.