Josh Barker: Why Arsenal are better placed to win the Premier League this season

Arsenal secured a massive 3-1 win over league leaders, Liverpool, on Sunday to temporarily move within two points of 1st place.

At this point in 2022/23, Arsenal were top of the league by three points but Mikel Arteta’s side may be better placed to go on and win the title this time around.

Last season saw Arsenal spend the majority of the campaign at the Premier League summit, only for a collapse in April to hand Manchester City yet another league title.

Regardless of Arsenal missing out on the Premier League, the Gunners still massively overachieved, with a 4th-place finish their target at the beginning of the season.

It is also worth noting that had Arsenal won the Premier League last year, they would have done so with the youngest-ever squad and the youngest manager.

This lack of experience across the board may well be the reason for Arsenal’s eventual collapse at the business end of the campaign.

In 2023/24, though, Arsenal look much better placed to go on and win the Premier League despite them not actually being top of the table for much of the season so far.

There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, last season saw Arsenal begin really well – hence their nine-point lead over Manchester City at one point – but just as Pep Guardiola’s side were beginning to find their grove in the second half of the campaign, Arsenal began to fade.

For the most part, especially in Manchester City’s case, title-winning sides do not start a season in spectacular form but when it comes to the final three/four months of the season, they are playing their best football and winning games consistently.

Arsenal had a rather worrying blip at the end of 2023 but they have come back from their winter break refreshed and firing on all cylinders. There was a lot of chatter late in 2023 about Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli’s drop in form but since their break, Martinelli has three goals in three, while Saka has two goals and one assist.

The pair stepping up and scoring goals will be crucial to Arsenal’s title chances this year due to their striker issues, and the duo look to have fond form at just the right time.

Another factor in Arsenal’s favour this term is the title race is not all about them. Liverpool are back to their best and with Jurgen Klopp leaving in the summer, much of the focus has been on the Reds sending Klopp off with a Premier League title.

This has taken a lot of pressure off what is still a fairly young, inexperienced Arsenal squad. Whereas last season, all of the media focus was on Arteta vs Pep and Arsenal finally ending their wait for another title.

But even if things do get tough for the north Londoners over the coming months, Mikel Arteta believes his squad have the right mentality to get the job done.

When asked if his squad now have an elite mentality to get through difficult moments, Mikel Arteta said post-Liverpool: “Absolutely. We have shown that today.

“The thing is, to be the best and have the best mentality you have to do it every three days. That is the challenge that we have. Certainly we showed that today against, in my opinion, the most in-form team in Europe,” he said.

“Now we have to do it tomorrow when we train and the next game against West Ham because we have that body language, that attitude and that energy in the team we are a really difficult team to beat.”

The shift in mentality occurring at Arsenal can also be seen in the results. After beating Liverpool 3-1, Arsenal have now won two of their four Premier League games against teams starting the day top of the table under Mikel Arteta, which is as many victories as they had in their previous 17 such matches prior to the Spaniard’s arrival (D4 L11).

Arsenal still have a long way to go if they are to end their 20-year title drought, but if they keep up their current form, especially against the bigger sides, they should be right in the mix come May.

Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.