4 reasons why Arsenal fans should be optimistic in 2015
The New Year has arrived and with it comes genuine hope that Arsenal’s best days in some time lie ahead. While struggles in the early portion of the 2014/15 campaign have made an EPL title extraordinarily unlikely, the club is looking stronger than it has in months. Now, there are reasons to hope for a strong FA Cup showing and a deep Champions League run in 2015. Here are four of those reasons!
1. Arsenal’s form of late
For many Arsenal supporters, a feeling of pessimism set in after the first few months, during which Alexis Sanchez was essentially the lone bright spot on the team. And for more casual football fans, Arsenal was likely discounted due to settling in lower in the standings than usual. But for those who haven’t noticed, the club has been on quite an impressive run of late.
The team website’s list of results shows a streak of seven wins in nine matches after the November 22 loss to Manchester United. In that streak, the Gunners defeated Southampton, a hot Newcastle United team, and cross-London rivals West Ham in league play. They also dispatched Borussia Dortmund and Galatasaray in Champions League play. Also, the draw at Anfield was the result of an extraordinarily unlikely equaliser late in extra time. In short, Arsenal has been nearly unbeatable for nearly two months.
2. Success against similar clubs
Take a look at the Premier League standings as of New Year’s Eve, and then compare them to Arsenal’s results. You’ll find that the Gunners have performed quite well against similar teams, or at least those teams hovering just above and below them in the standings. In particular, it looked for a month or two like Arsenal would have to fend off Southampton, West Ham, Liverpool, and Tottenham for a spot in the top-four, and they’ve done just that.
The club earned an early draw with Tottenham before rounding into form, and more recently had the tie at Liverpool. Arsenal then beat Southampton to kick off December, and perhaps most impressively took a win across town in the West Ham game when the stage was set for a breakdown.
West Ham were expected to win due to Olivier Giroud’s suspension and clear some space above the Gunners in the table. Instead, exactly the opposite happened, and Arsenal moved into position alongside Southampton for fourth in the league. Naturally, supporters prefer such results against the top-tier of Chelsea and Man City – and to a lesser degree Man Utd – but by performing well against the second tier, Arsenal has put itself in a nice position.
3. Transfer rumours
It’s worth mentioning that not all of the possible transfers would be eligible to play for Arsenal in Champions League matches. But that being said, there are some very exciting players who appear to be on Arsene Wenger’s radar heading into the January transfer season. PSG striker and Uruguayan superstar Edinson Cavani headlines the list as the most exciting name, and it’s drool-inducing to imagine Cavani and Alexis Sanchez making up the Arsenal attack.
Perhaps even more exciting is the idea that Wenger is apparently looking to bolster the back-end of the midfield, with Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho and Atletico Madrid’s Mario Suarez also rumoured to be targets. Gooner News has a full list of rumours and transactions in the works, but it certainly looks as if Arsenal will either strengthen its attack or fortify its defence (or both!) heading into the New Year.
Finally, there’s simple injury recovery to look forward to. We’ve reached a point where the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere can hardly be expected to stay healthy, but International Business Times’ update on the club’s injuries indicates at least Ramsey could try to return soon.
Wilshere and Mikel Arteta will remain out for some time, which could be a blessing in disguise if Santi Cazorla continues to thrive and Wenger is motivated to bring in midfield help from outside. But generally speaking, it seems as if health can only improve moving forward. A strong return by Ramsey would be welcome.
All of this should add up to a promising start to 2015. Whether or not Chelsea and Man City can be challenged atop the EPL tables remains to be seen, but regardless, Arsenal is well positioned to play some of its best football in a few years in the coming months.