It has been a mixed start to the season for Arsenal, as promising away performances at champions Manchester City and a rejuvenated Liverpool have been balanced against a disappointing home defeat to Chelsea.
However, there is an air of quiet optimism among the fans that Arsène Wenger’s new-look side will be able to mount a challenge once the new players have fully gelled.
It certainly feels better than last year when the Gunners were on the wrong end of an 8-2 thrashing by Manchester United.
In fact, Arsenal recovered well after that disastrous start to finish in a creditable third position, securing qualification for the Champions League for a hugely impressive 15 seasons in a row.
Even Wenger was moved to describe this feat as a “miracle”, citing the thrilling 5-2 victory over Spurs in the North London derby as the turning point.
Nevertheless, it was a close run thing, as Arsenal only made sure of qualifying with a last day victory at West Brom.
The team’s inconsistent performances can be partly attributed to the significant amount of turnover in the playing squad, exacerbated by losing some of the club’s best performers each summer.
Last year Cesc Fàbregas returned to his spiritual home at Barcelona, while Samir Nasri moved north to join Manchester City’s project. In the recent transfer window, it was the turn of leading scorer Robin Van Persie to head towards Manchester, though he opted for Old Trafford, while Alex Song joined the long list of Arsenal players transferred to Barcelona.
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