Arsenal 4-1 Liverpool: Is there a better team in England?

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This might seem like the hyperbolic tubthumping of the deluded fan, but I’m not sure there’s a better team in England at the moment than Arsenal.

Before you say it, it’s not Chelsea. They might lead the league table, but friends behind enemy lines assure me they’ve played well just once since Christmas. The January signing intended to reinvigorate their tiring team, Juan Cuadrado, is currently looking like the world’s most expensive Gervinho impersonator. They should just have bought this lovely curtain set:

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The game against Jose Mourinho’s men is beginning to feel like our cup final (apart from the actual cup final, of course, which remains very much a possibility). It’s a one-off opportunity to lay down a marker for next season, but more than that it’s an opportunity to make this season infinitely more memorable. You can’t win a trophy every year, but you can ensure you leave behind several glorious results enabling you to lord it over your rivals.

Arsenal finally seem to have got the hang of that, with victories over both Manchester clubs and now Liverpool in 2015. Beating the Anfield side isn’t particularly new, but the emphatic nature of this victory is. Arsenal approached this game with confidence rather than trepidation. That’s a delicious novelty.

I really hope they can do the same against Chelsea. The fact that Arsene Wenger has never beaten Mourinho is both bizarre and embarrassing, and this seems like an ideal opportunity to put it right.

We’re undeniably on a roll. The numbers prove it: we’ve won seven on the spin, Olivier Giroud has 10 in 10, and we’ve just put four past Liverpool.

It can’t be coincidence that the upturn in form has coincided with having a full contingent of outfield players for the first time in years. Shad Forsythe has taken some amusing stick this season, but perhaps we’re finally be seeing the benefit of his inaugural year at the club.

This is now the strongest Arsenal squad in years. It’s not perfect, but there is depth in every department. The fact that Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Debuchy, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby all made a successful return to training during the international break yet were not needed for the bench tells you something about the variety of options at the manager’s disposal. Calum Chambers, who was entirely fit, was not even named in the matchday squad.

Of course, all this positivity comes laced with regret. After leading the league for so long last season and ending the wait for silverware, this should have been the year to mount a serious title-challenge. Unfortunately, our quest for the trophy was over before Autumn was out. Sadly, the emergence of Francis Coquelin and acquisition of Gabriel – both obviously required back in August – came too late to challenge Chelsea.

I’m proud that Arsenal are 2015’s best team, but enormously frustrated that they won’t be 2015’s champions. It was there for the taking.

Gunnerblog is the brainchild of childbrained football writer James McNicholas. Aside from Gunnerblog, James currently contributes to Bleacher Report, The Mirror and ESPN.

6 Comments

  1. Edmund Hill   •  

    In the famous words of one former Newcastle manager, I’d love it if we beat them, I’d love it. Especially if somehow it leads us to stealing the PL from under their noses. Heck, even if they still end up winning it, it would be awesome to see Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea bite some north London dust.

    I suspect though that Mourinho will come to the Emirates for a draw. Expect to see a blue double decker bus parking performance of epic proportions. He will play to not lose, won’t want to risk any league points to a team that could snatch it from him. In any case, I believe Mourinho almost always aims to play anti-football against a team like Arsenal because he knows he can’t match them at actual football. He’s taken advantage of weakened Arsenal line-ups before, but at this stage when the team is this strong and there are vital points at hand, I can see it being a bus depot, only taking whatever counter-attacking crumbs he can afford.

  2. FunGunner   •  

    We certainly are the form team. Playing like Arsenal should play and winning as well. But I don’t believe the title was there for the taking this year. With hindsight, we were always going to struggle at the start of the season with so many new players to integrate, injuries to key players AND a new formation. It’s also unheard of to go from fourth to first in one season. Never happens. We have laid the foundations for next season and although I can’t be disappointed at not getting the title this year – it was never on – I think I would be disappointed if we don’t win or come very, very close next year.

  3. G10   •  

    Instead of day dreaming and wishful thinking, why aren’t you questioning why the manager did not make the right signings in August and why he has has been taken by surprise by the emergence of both Bellerin and Coquelin?

    We know that the 13x champions with the highest match day revenue is world football are capable of winning the league; the question is why do we have a manager who is not?

  4. Mark   •  

    We can win – just play with the same style and confidence and the monkey will be truly off our back and Maureen can brag on about his campaign -

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  6. Football Scouting   •  

    I just came back here to say that this pic made my day :D

    Anyway. Arsenal should play better those days. If you see all of those players and quality in every formation it’s unbelievable that we’re not at better position in Premier League…

    http://www.show-skill.net

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