Arsenal have come through October still at the top of the league but will they remain there by the time the World Cup break rolls around?

Arsenal's Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard (C) celebrates after scoring their fifth goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Nottingham Forest at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 30, 2022. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard (C) celebrates after scoring their fifth goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Nottingham Forest at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 30, 2022. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Nobody thought Arsenal would be challenging for the title, yet here we are, two points clear of Manchester City after both sides have played 12 games.

Handily, each side’s game in hand is against each other.

Domestic football stops on 13 December to allow players to meet up with their national teams ahead of the World Cup that starts in Qatar on 20 November, so there is not much more club football left.

For Arsenal, their next game is against FC Zurich which should allow them to rest a number of players.

Although they still need a point to ensure they top the group after last week’s defeat to PSV, Zurich sit at the bottom of the group with just three points and four defeats from five games.

That’s handy because after that for Arsenal is a 12pm kick-off on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's German midfielder Kai Havertz (L) and Chelsea's English head coach Graham Potter (R) on the pitch after the final whistle of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on October 29, 2022. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Chelsea’s German midfielder Kai Havertz (L) and Chelsea’s English head coach Graham Potter (R) on the pitch after the final whistle of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on October 29, 2022. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s easy to look at Chelsea’s recent 4-1 defeat at the hands of Brighton and feel incredibly optimistic, but all those sorts of things go out the window when Arsenal come to play.

Arsenal then welcome Brighton at the Emirates in the Carabao Cup, giving another chance to rest players.

The final game for Arsenal is against Wolves at Molineux. At the time of writing, Wolves are 19th in the league with just two wins and four draws this season and a minute 13 goal difference.

The maths are simple. Beat Chelsea and Wolves and Arsenal will remain top of the table until football returns on Boxing Day, at least.

Drop points and they will be relying on City to do the same, and Arsenal do like to drop points in November, the month they collect fewer points than any other:

Pep Guardiola’s side play Sevilla at home on Wednesday before another home match against Fulham in the Premier League.

A home match against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup is followed by another home match against Brentford.

Like Arsenal, City have won all six of their home league games but they have done so while collecting a +21 goal difference to Arsenal’s +12, so expecting City to drop points at the Etihad against Fulham and Brighton is a bit pointless, really.

As the World Cup takes place in a country where being LGBTQ+ is illegal, please also remember that “Qatari authorities have failed to investigate the deaths of thousands of migrant workers over the past decade, despite evidence of links between premature deaths and unsafe working conditions," according to Amnesty International.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.