Ahead of Liverpool’s visit to the Emirates this weekend, the Telegraph’s chief football correspondent, Jason Burt, has claimed that Arsenal are ‘the one side who can stop City’s march to the title’.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 31: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal speaks with Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on August 31, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 31: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal speaks with Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on August 31, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Something is happening, and it’s not just inside Arsenal.

Outside, in the papers, pundits, commentators and journalists are starting to take Arsenal seriously.

They, like us, can see that something fundamental has changed in this Arsenal side under Mikel Arteta. From struggling as fans called for his head this time last year, Arteta has found the ‘on’ switch and firmed up Arsenal’s soft underbelly that we tried to deny existed for so long.

He has created a side that responds to adversity by fighting back rather than crumbling. He has found a way to get the players to believe in him and, perhaps more importantly, in themselves.

Slowly, with every passing 90 minutes, the scars of the previous 15 years, of the f**k-ups and failures, fade. We stop expecting Arsenal to blow and it and merely fear they might on occasion.

Some scars run deeper than others.

If you need proof that this is a different type of Arsenal side, one we haven’t really seen since we moved to the Emirates, you just have to look at the press coverage the club has been getting.

Gone are the broken cannons, the chaos and crisis headlines.

In has come pieces like Burt’s double-page spread in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph Sport section.

Arsenal are the one side who can stop City’s march to title It is a mark of the progress at the club that Arteta’s men take on Liverpool tomorrow in the unusual position of favourites The Daily Telegraph8 Oct 2022By Jason Burt CHIEF FOOTBALL CORRESPONDENT Are Arsenal already the only team who can stop Manchester City from winning a fifth Premier League title in just six seasons?  The likelihood is that City will be top of the table – as they face struggling Southampton at home today – before Arsenal kick off against Liverpool tomorrow.  When the fixtures were released, that encounter would have been earmarked as one in which Liverpool would have expected to be attempting to keep pace with City.  Instead, it is Arsenal who are trying to do that and, remarkably, who will go into the game as favourites. And that has not happened for them against Liverpool since Arsene Wenger was in his prime.  It means the match at the Emirates takes on even more meaning: for Arsenal, for Liverpool, and for the rest of the league.  In fact, Liverpool are already 10 points behind City – and 11 behind Arsenal – and although they have a game in hand, and although they have 93 points still to play for this season, that gap already looks daunting.  Should Liverpool lose to Arsenal, the gap may, even this early into the campaign, be insurmountable. Back in mid-january, Liverpool were 14 points in arrears to City, with Chelsea appearing the most likely challengers, with two games in hand, and clawed that lead back before finishing just a point behind.  Defeat against Arsenal tomorrow would also leave them 14 points behind the leaders and potentially 13 behind City. After just nine games for the top two, it feels that Liverpool are fighting for a top-four finish rather than the top spot.  Tottenham Hotspur are in the reckoning and although they lost at Arsenal last Saturday, and lost badly in the end, they do have the course and distance experience of Antonio Conte – and probably a stronger squad – while this is all new to Mikel Arteta.  Chelsea are getting to know Graham Potter – and new owner Todd Boehly – and Manchester United are in an even greater phase of uncertainty as Erik ten Hag tries to haul them back, admitting they are “not that good”.  It points to Arsenal as the unlikeliest of likely challengers, given their initial ambitions this campaign extended no further than finally reclaiming a Champions League place after finishing fifth last time.  But it has been an outstanding start. Arsenal have won nine out of 10 games in all competitions and while the one setback came against United they redressed the balance, and quietened talk that they may be no more than “flat-track bullies”, by overwhelming Tottenham.  By contrast, after eight games of the previous two seasons, Arteta’s first two campaigns, Arsenal were in 12th place. Indeed, it is the first time since 2013 that Arsenal have been top at this point, although the excitement is tempered by what happened that season, when they finished fourth.  The mid-season break, caused by the World Cup, adds a new factor. In essence, we are working on two seasons in one and even within that there is a “mini-season” – the clutch of games between the last international break, that ended last weekend, and players heading to Qatar in mid-november.  It means that if Arsenal can beat Liverpool and retain top spot there is a distinct possibility that they can hold off City for the remainder of this first half of the season. And, after that, who knows what will happen?  Arsenal’s next opponents are: Leeds United, Southampton, Nottingham Forest, Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Only Chelsea – and, granted, it is away at Stamford Bridge – are in the top half of the table. Two of those five are in the bottom three. That is a highly winnable sequence.  City’s run is, in theory, trickier. They also face Liverpool, then Brighton, Leicester City, Fulham and Brentford. So, only one of their opponents – Leicester – are lower than 10th, and they should not be there. But this is City and no opponent will faze them.  An added factor is that Arsenal may, actually, have fewer players at the World Cup. Erling Haaland is not going but then neither is Martin Odegaard, while none of Arsenal’s three Brazilians made it into their country’s last squad (although Gabriel Jesus could still be selected).  Given how City have the potential to swat aside all comers – they are averaging more than 3.5 goals per game in the league – then it may be clutching at straws to expect anyone to keep pace with them.  But the longer Arsenal can stay in front, the more chance there is of a title race developing that involves them, especially given Liverpool’s problems. Conversely, of course, Jurgen Klopp will hope that a win away to Arsenal will be a fresh start for Liverpool to reset themselves.  With Arsenal the added complication, the big variable, is that this is completely new territory for this manager and for this group of players.  Arsenal finished second in 201516 but were arguably last truly in a title race in 2007-08.  It feels like this weekend may reveal whether they are in one again – and whether they are becoming the only credible opposition to what may otherwise turn out to be a Haaland-led City procession which may, ultimately, prove unstoppable in any case.  The game at the Emirates takes on more meaning, for them, for Liverpool, and for rest of the league
Arsenal are the one side who can stop City’s march to title
It is a mark of the progress at the club that Arteta’s men take on Liverpool tomorrow in the unusual position of favourites
The Daily Telegraph 8 Oct 2022 By Jason Burt CHIEF FOOTBALL CORRESPONDENT

“Are Arsenal already the only team who can stop Manchester City from winning a fifth Premier League title in just six seasons?” Burt asks.

“The likelihood is that City will be top of the table – as they face struggling Southampton at home today – before Arsenal kick off against Liverpool tomorrow.

“When the fixtures were released, that encounter would have been earmarked as one in which Liverpool would have expected to be attempting to keep pace with City.

“Instead, it is Arsenal who are trying to do that and, remarkably, who will go into the game as favourites. And that has not happened for them against Liverpool since Arsene Wenger was in his prime.”

Reading the entire piece, it was hard to argue with anything that Burt wrote.

There were no snide digs that have become so common place in sports journalism when it comes to Arsenal, just a well-reasoned piece that makes the argument very well that Arsenal should indeed be taken seriously.

But as Burt also points out, “With Arsenal the added complication, the big variable, is that this is completely new territory for this manager and for this group of players.

“Arsenal finished second in 201516 but were arguably last truly in a title race in 2007-08.

“It feels like this weekend may reveal whether they are in one again – and whether they are becoming the only credible opposition to what may otherwise turn out to be a Haaland-led City procession which may, ultimately, prove unstoppable in any case.

“The game at the Emirates takes on more meaning, for them, for Liverpool, and for rest of the league.”

It’s hard to argue with that, either.

Previous articleReport: 2 red cards in fiery youth north London derby
Next articleRamsdale doesn’t believe Liverpool have become bad overnight
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.