It has been a strange start to the season for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, but they finally seem to have found their feet following the influx of new signings in the summer.
The additions of defenders Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu was expected to solidify the Gunners back line and address areas of concern that have been apparent over the past couple of years.
Three straight defeats to start the season did little to back up those claims, but since then, Arsenal’s form has drastically improved after the new additions have had the time to settle in. But, could that lead to an unlikely challenge for the top four in the second half of the Premier League season?
Arsenal in the mix ahead of busy festive period
The Gunners have been able to salvage their start to the season, and look primed for a top-four challenge if they can put a run of wins together over the festive period. Arsenal are currently sixth in the league ahead of the Christmas period, and have picked up 26 points from the 16 games that they have played to date. They are just two behind fourth-placed West Ham United, but could also drop out of the European battle with a run of defeats.
The Gunners are just a point ahead of North London rivals, Spurs, and four clear of eighth-placed Leicester. The results that they can pick up over the festive period will be pivotal towards their chances of finishing in a Champions League place at the end of this season.
Gunners fixtures over Christmas
The festive period is so often the pivotal stage of the season for teams in the Premier League, and it is no different for Arsenal this season. Arsenal play four times between December 18th and January 1st, with two away games and two home games on the agenda.
Their festive period steps up a gear with a trip to Leeds United, before a winnable game on Boxing Day against Norwich City at Carrow Road coming after their EFL Cup quarter-final against Sunderland at the Emirates.
Huge home games then come either side of the calendar year, as the Gunners host Wolves, before a showdown with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on New Year’s Day. Nine points from a possible 12 from this run of fixtures could be a solid return for the Gunners, and could increase their chances of finishing in the Champions League places considerably.
Main rivals for top four
It looks set to be a battle for the ages for Champions League places in the Premier League this season, with at least four teams in direct competition with the Gunners.
Leicester City have picked up their form, and a solid second half of the season could put them into a great position to lay down a stiff challenge. However, memories of the Foxes missing out on Champions League qualification last season will still be fresh in the memory, and Brendan Rodgers will be hopeful that isn’t a factor come May.
Tottenham Hotspur have improved since the arrival of Antonio Conte and are looking increasingly difficult to rule out. Hopefully Spurs will be more worried with the best NFL live betting strategies by TwinSpires, preparing for the 2022 NFL Tour that will come to Tottenham Stadium and Wembley.
West Ham United have enjoyed another strong start to the season under David Moyes, and currently sit in the top four. However, whether they have the depth required remains to be seen.
The side that the Gunners will be most wary of is Manchester United. Ralf Rangnick’s side have a decent run of fixtures over the festive period, with home games against Brighton and Burnley, as well as trips to Newcastle and Wolves.