Martin Ødegaard celebrates Arsenal’s win against Tottenham on January 15.
Following a decisive 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal seems to be in nearly unstoppable form. They have not lost in the league for over four months and have won seven out of their last eight Premier League matches. However, they are approaching a testing run of fixtures and have yet to play the current champions, Manchester City, who are currently in second place. So, just how good are Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League?
Prior to the season, Arsenal were given just a 0.13 percent chance of winning the Premier League. Many fans would have been content with a top four finish, but now, the team finds themselves eight points above Manchester City. This 0.13 percent chance stemmed from the seemingly large gap in quality between them and the favorites –– Manchester City and Liverpool –– however it turned out that this gap may not be as big as many had anticipated.
The young squad, starring Martin Ødegaard, Bukayo Saka, and several others, have found a new identity playing together under Mikel Arteta. While they seem confident playing together, their starting XI remains relatively unchanged from week to week, which may be a potential cause for weakness as they enter the second half of the season. A look at Arsenal's bench shows the steep drop-off in talent from their main XI. Many supporters are worried about this drop-off as they enter back into European competition and as the match schedule begins to intensify. They have already seen Gabriel Jesus be subject to a long-term injury, and they cannot afford to lose any more talent. Squad depth is the main difference when you compare Arsenal and Manchester City. Manchester City is not as heavily impacted by injuries as they have a constant rotation between the starting XI and their deep bench filled with quality players, allowing them to be so successful over the course of a 38-game season.
The first Premier League meeting of the season between the teams will be on February 15 and if Arsenal can avoid defeat, they will be in a spectacular position to go on and win. The concern for Arsenal fans will be if Manchester City manages to win and proceed to go on a long win streak –– one that they have experienced in a few of their previous seasons. Once Manchester City gets into a streak like this, there is a certain inevitability that allows them to get results and run away with the Premier League title.
To hold onto their Premier League winning chances, Arsenal will need to stop Manchester City’s potential win streak and maintain their own form. In recent years, we have seen several teams holding first place in January that were then unable to keep their momentum going. Of course, we have also seen teams who did go on to lift the trophy even after having a dominant position early on in the season. I expect Arsenal to continue to compete with Manchester City, but it is ultimately in their own hands to determine the trajectory for the remainder of their season.