Is Arsenal’s title-tilt over before it’s even begun?


The transfer business was ambitious. Signing Rice, Havertz, and Timber signalled that we were serious about building on last season’s promise, that we weren’t satisfied with failing to stay above quadruple-winning Man City, imperious as they still are, despite De Bruyne’s injury and advancing age. However, the early returns suggest that we may find ourselves fighting for scraps and leftovers. If we fall any further behind, well….

It’s early days, of course, what with this marking matchday #4, but Man City have already laid down a marker, taking all 12 points thus far. At our end, of course, we dropped points at home to Fulham, which in and of itself is hardly fatal given Silva’s nous. But for a dodgy Man City goal in first-half stoppage time, when a clearly offside Akanji seemed to interfere with Ake’s goal-bound header, even though Leno’s reaction was definitely affected by Akanji’s presence. The wheels came off off in the second half as City won 5-1, but the impact of that controversial goal should be clear. Squads as deep and as expensive as this one should not be offered such advantages.

We go into this match againt Man U with our backs already up against it. Man City show no signs of taking their foot off the gas, and we’ve stumbled out of the gates. Injuries to Zinchenko, Jesus, Timber, and now Partey have shorn us of key players at the worst of times. Even a fairly favourable Champions League group stage draw seems to offer precious little balm to the soul as we ponder our prospects. Will we have to call upon Cedric to play RB? Can we count on Havertz to rise to the occasion?

I’m not usually this pessimistic, and I apologise. It feels like we need an emphatic win over Man U. They themselves are out of sorts, but a result seems to signify more than just a chance at getting one over on one of our biggest rivals. At the moment, it feels like we’re pinned back, that there’s already a yawning chasm opening between us and the top of the table. We’re against the ropes, and we have to land a haymaker even if it’s not against the club we’re hoping to clobber.

I hope Arteta gets it right. I hope the lads bring the fight.

Average rating 4.4 / 5. Vote count: 16

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

10 thoughts on “Is Arsenal’s title-tilt over before it’s even begun?

  1. Palladio43

    Hopefully we get through this match successfully and through whatever period it may take for the injured to recover with the exception, of course, of Timber. More of a concern is whether our summer transactions prove out. The underlying concern that the ill-advised “tweaking” of the formation and how Havertz, Partway, etc al have been played and who has not been played, are the long-term problems and issues. Time will tell, maybe as soon as today.

  2. Andy

    Good morning,
    Let’s not all shit our pants just yet. We’re 3 games in.
    MA has been tinkering with the team to make us a little less predictable. He has done this in games that, on paper, we should be winning regardless of how we set up. This hasn’t quite gone to plan thus far. We made hard work of Forest and Palace, but came away with all the points. We then made Fulham more difficult than it should have been, but if you look at the stats, we had 71% possession, 19 shots, (11 on target) to Fulham’s 3 shots on target. That’s 3 points on any other day.
    We can still end up with 10 points from our first 4 games if all goes well today. We all agreed, before a ball was kicked, that 10 from 4 would be an excellent return.
    There is only one team in the league with maximum points, which is obviously Man City. They will not win every game this season, they can not continue to get all the dodgy decisions that turn games in their favour.
    I am not suggesting that we will win the league, I am suggesting that we are still competitive and we will still be in the mix come the run in.
    It will be tough, we will draw/ lose games that we should be winning, but we will be there or thereabouts.
    Have faith. We are The Arsenal.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      My pants are, thankfully, squeaky clean. One look at Chelsea & Newcastle is also reassuring. They’ll eventually right their respective ships, and so will we. We’ve done well with this fixture since Arteta took the wheel, and I have faith that he’ll have us ready for it today. It would be great to win it, obviously, but it’s probably too much to hope for the kind of emphatic victory that can feel so satisfying. Kickoff’s coming up…

  3. Silentstan

    I have a bad feeling about this season. Timber loss is huge. But biggest fear is Arteta. Believing his own hype. Thankfully Partey injured today so that’s the end of the fb nonsense. Also hopefully Havertz gets dropped but I think Arteta is going to do a ‘Willian’ and play him against all logic out of ego justification.
    So far Arteta has bought a terrific 100m man and managed to make us worse
    Pray I am wrong

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      You seem a little down in the mouth, Stan, but I understand to a degree. I’m not sure I buy into the idea that Arteta’s ego is out of control. Is it perhaps bigger than it should be? Maybe, but none of us spends enough time with him to assess that. Let’s hope he gets the XI, formation & tactics correct.


  4. jod

    At the end of last season there were Arsenal fans convinced they would win the title this time around. But this season was always going to be more competitive with more clubs in the mix. If anything United, Newcastle and especially Chelsea should be far more concerned than Arsenal about how the season is shaping up. But apart from City and Liverpool there’s the question of whether Villa, Brentford or Brighton can make the next step up. There’s also a joker in the pack in the shape of Spurs. Postecoglu’s initial impact has been hugely impressive. While they lack squad depth they have no European football, could they make top four ?

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I’d like to think that most of us were pretty realistic after the heights we unexpectedly reached last season. From the end of May, we had to know that winning the Prem would depend on us doing superb transfer business, staying healthy, refusing to drop points except away to other top-four sides…and City suffering some kind of hangover (physical or mental) after the quadruple.

      We did great business even if the jury is still out on Havertz. Health? Well…Refusing to drop points is a tall order. Had we been at full strength against Fulham, we probably would have gotten the result we wanted. City show no signs of letting up, at least for now.

      The rest of the contenders, like us, are still trying to evolve and improve. I’m enjoying Chelsea and Newcastle’s starts, but it does look like Brighton, Man U, Liverpool, and maybe West Ham & Tottenham could each make their cases for a top four spot. It’s early days, of course. Patience is the byword.

  5. A Simple Truth

    with two slower deeper-lying DMs and Martial up top, anything less than a decisive victory will be totally unacceptable…not sure about Kai as a box-to-boxer, as that hasn’t really been required thus far, and Eddie’s propensity to kick directly at the Keeper gives me cause for pause, so here’s hoping that they can find a way to play outside themselves…maybe the forgotten one, ESR, will emerge and save Arteta’s blushes once again

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I damn near hit my head on the basement ceiling after Jesus’s goal. Fantastic! That’s the kind of result that can get a season to kick on.


Leave a Reply