Arsenal certainly have the points to say they’re in the title race this season, but mentality is something far more difficult to measure.
Can players perform under pressure or come out of a difficult spell? Can they do it in the very biggest games or when the squad is thin?
Right now Arsenal are doing all of these things, and have convinced Arsène Wenger that they have the mental ability to cope with the pressure on them.
“You want everybody to want to play and we have shown again recently Olympiacos and Villa that we have a fantastic mentality in the team,” the Arsenal manager said on Thursday.
“I hope in the longer term that will come out.”
Wenger’s belief in his side has never wavered, and he was proven right last season against Monday’s opponents. After years of struggling in big matches, particularly away from home, the Gunners went to the City of Manchester Stadium and won 2-0.
The win was a huge one, and the team went on to win at Old Trafford in the FA Cup within two months. Since then we have won games against Chelsea (neutral venue), Liverpool and Bayern Munich (both at home). There can be no doubting that Arsenal are capable of winning the biggest games.
“It was a needed step for our team,” Wenger admitted. “It was not enough but it was the first step that was certainly vital to strengthen the belief of our team. When you have never done it people can tell you you’re good enough, but when you have done it you know you can do it and that strengthens you.”
That strength can be taken into Monday night’s game, which is certainly the biggest of the season so far. The Arsenal players go into the game knowing they can beat Manchester City, hopefully they deliver.