Arsenal news: The Gunners have been in terrific form this season and are on course to win their first Premier League title since 2004 but face a tricky test against Brentford next.
Life at Arsenal is pretty good right now. Mikel Arteta has completely transformed the club from top to bottom since arriving in 2019 and is now battling it out with former employers Manchester City for the Premier League title.
The Gunners lead the way after 20 games by five points, with a game in hand. Last weekend’s narrow defeat to Everton was only their second league defeat all season but the loss was mirrored by City’s defeat at Tottenham the following day.
Arsenal have struggled for success in the league since Arsene Wenger’s Invincible side, closing in on 20 years without a title win. However, after acute micro-management of the club’s transfer strategy and the cut-throat decisions to sell the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Gunners are back at the top end of the table.
There are 18 games left for the Gunners to keep up their tremendous form, but a rerun of last weekend’s defeat on Merseyside could open the door for Manchester City to swoop in and retain their title. And former Gunners captain Nigel Winterburn has urged the Gunners to avoid any further slip-ups.
“Arsenal can’t afford to lose too many games this season and there’s still going to be a couple more twists along the way in the Premier League,” he told Paddy Power.
“Nobody expected Arsenal to be as good and consistent as they have been, and nobody expected Liverpool to be as poor as they have been. Manchester City have the biggest and the strongest squad in terms of their achievements over the last few years. In real terms, they are the powerhouse but at the moment they’re finding it difficult as well.
“This looks like it could be one of those Leicester seasons where the other teams along the way keep slipping up. This is the same for Arsenal this season, it’s a huge opportunity for them but they won’t want to keep giving teams the opportunity to put the pressure on them by losing too many games.
“Arsenal are going to have to be very careful. There’s still a huge number of games to go but they’re in a fabulous position. There’s no need for them to panic over one loss on the weekend.”
Next up for Arteta’s side is the visit of Brentford on Saturday afternoon. Thomas Frank’s men have risen above the so-called ‘second season syndrome’ this campaign to rise to seventh in the league. The Bees have avoided defeat in the league since the return of domestic football following the World Cup, beating the likes of West Ham and Liverpool.
Arsenal comfortably dispatched their London rivals earlier this season and Winterburn has labelled the clash a must win. “It will be interesting to see whether Mikel Arteta mixes the starting XI up slightly against Brentford, but I don’t expect there to be many changes if I’m honest,” he said.
“Teams should never make too many changes, unless someone’s returning from injury, or someone gets injured for example.
“Brentford are a good team, but they set up differently to the way Sean Dyche set up his Everton team. Brentford will try to play out from the back and play a lot more football through the lines as well. Arsenal will get opportunities, and we know Brentford are a good team as well. It will be a very good game, but it’s a game Arsenal need to win.”