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Arsenal finally seem to be in competitive mode

Gunners rise at the right moment to maintain status in top four and compete against Europe's finest.

Feature 24 Jan 2015, 01:38 IST
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Arsenal players celebrate after Santi Cazorla’s penalty gives them lead over Manchester City

The 2014-15 season began with a lot of hope, having already brought the trophy drought of nine long years to an end with the FA Cup last season. The Community Shield provided the perfect fuel for such dreams –  a 3-0 victory over rivals Manchester City. But the performances in the League season did not really give the fans much to cheer about. Hope began to fade.

Arsenal also suffered bad luck as injuries to key players returned to haunt them like every season. Below-par away performances were only complemented by lacklustre home showings.

Supporters were forced to give up on title hopes, while pundits expressed doubts on whether the Gunners would even be able to make it to the top four for a place among the Europe’s finest. It did seem a mountainous task to reach the top four. Until they finally started turning the table, once the new additions settled in.

Arsenal’s fixed top four place in danger

Many would still be skeptic whether Arsenal can finish in top four this season. It must be remembered though that the “Nutty Professor” Mr. Wenger has always succeeded in maintaining a place in the top four since his arrival at the club.

The club’s drive for glory became visible again during their game against Hull City in the FA Cup and was well followed up against Stoke City at the Emirates stadium. The crowning glory, the primary cause of a newfound optimism, came when for the first time in several years the Gunners defeated a top-4 club away from home. And that too with a clean sheet. High-flying defending champions Manchester City were made to bite the dust.

Apart from recent form, Arsenal have more reasons to celebrate as the likes of Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey have all made their comebacks from injury while Danny Welbeck is also on the verge of recovery. Their returns will not only ease out the pressure from certain players but also strengthen the club back to its prime.

Who knows, several trophies might be won this season. If only Arsenal can repeat the kind of performance and maintain their tenacity week-in and week-out the way did at the Etihad against the defending champions.

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