Cleat Geeks

Community Shield triumph could kick start Gunners title charge

Arsenal are genuine Premier League title contenders this season. No, I really, really mean it this time.  com

By their victory over Chelsea at Wembley in the Community Shield proves they can beat the best and I believe they’ll be much closer to the top next May than they have been over the past few seasons.

For probably the last three or four years the Gunners have been touted as possible champions, only to finish way off the pace and never mount much of a challenge.

Wenger’s men have crept slightly closer to the title the last two years, however, finishing seven points off top spot in 2014 and ending last season a dozen points short of champions Chelsea.

The nine year trophy drought was ended with an FA Cup win in 2014 and last season the Gunners successfully defended their crown, allaying fears that the North Londoners don’t have a winning mentality.

In 2015 Arsenal have proven to be very difficult to stop, losing just four times in 27 matches in all competitions since the turn of the year, suggesting that consistency is fast is seeping into the squad.  wenger

Defensively they have been – at times –  laughable in the past, but Steve Bould has been working wonders with the back line. In their last 14 outgoings only seven goals have been leaked, proving the former centre-back is doing something right.

In fact Arsenal finished last season with the third best defence in the league, conceding 36 goals throughout the campaign, only three more than Southampton and four more than Chelsea.

The emergence of right-back Hector Bellerin has been a huge plus and Francis Coquelin returned from a loan spell with Championship side Charlton Athletic like a $40 million signing.  hector

Of course the main difference at the back for the three-time Premier League champions this season is the addition of goalkeeper Petr Cech, who kept a clean sheet against his former club at Wembley on Sunday.

The 33 year-old  lost his place to Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge last season, but had kept 16 clean sheets in the 2013/14 campaign, the joint highest along with then Arsenal first-choice number one Wojciech Szczesny.

At the other end there has never been a problem putting the ball in the back of the net. In the last five league campaigns, Arsenal have racked up an impressive 357 goals.

With attacking options such as Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla et al. you can be sure there will be a fair few more added this season.

Injuries have beset Wenger’s squad at times in the past, but, at the start of the new campaign the medical room is fairly quiet and, if it stays that way until May, the Gunners could well be celebrating a first league title since 2004.

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