A title challenge that won’t fall away mid-March… Can Arsenal win the 2017/18 Premier League?

At long last Arsenal have signed a striker with a big pedigree, to much of the fans delight. After smashing their transfer record for Mesut Ozil, £52million man Alexandre Lacazette has finally arrived at the Emirates, with a reputation as one of Europe’s sharpest strikers having scored over 25 goals in all competitions for the past four years.

Arsene Wenger has struggled to replace Robin Van Persie since he departed for Old Trafford in the summer of 2012, the Arsenal manager has played, Giroud, Podolski, Welbeck and Sanchez to spearhead the attack, yet it’s only been the diminutive Sanchez who has been able to replicate Van Persie’s goals output. It seems that Arsenal finally have a striker with pace, strength a desire to win and an eye for goal, something Wenger has been crying out for, but can he lead them to the title that has eluded them since 2004?

For the first time in many years, Arsenal have been pro-active in the transfer market, getting good quality signings in early. The signing of Schalke full back Kolasinac looks to have been an inspired bit of business, Wenger has never truly been able to replace Ashley Cole. After a terrific season in the Bundesliga Kolasinac looks like an improvement on current options Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs. A player who has been linked with the Gunners this summer has been Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian has grown frustrated at Leicester believing that the ability he possesses, should be playing at a higher level, and who could blame him? Mahrez was unbelievable during Leicester’s spectacular title winning campaign. The season that followed he was less so, often looking like he would rather be somewhere else. The question of Mahrez will be on his temperament, would he go missing in an Arsenal shirt, could he step up and be consistent at the highest level? Playing with better players, would bring the best out of the winger though and I believe he would flourish in an Arsene Wenger side, it’s up to Arsenal to make it happen.

And yet, after all the positivity surrounding the Gunners this Summer, it could be wiped away if Sanchez leaves. If the Chilean forward leaves, the signing of Lacazette or Mahrez won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Sanchez has become so good and so important to this Arsenal side that, if they have any ambitions for winning the title, they can’t let him go, especially to a rival. In today’s game, there are so few players like Sanchez, players who can go past a player like they’re not there, but also want to track back and tackle. Most players, as soon as the season has finished, will enjoy their holidays, Sanchez on the other hands plays games for Chile, and is non-stop (much to the Arsenal fans dismay). I can’t understate how important it is that Sanchez stays if Arsenal want to win the league, he has become as important to this Gunners team, as Henry was from 2004-2007, not quite a ‘one man team’ but very close to it. It’s a predicament for the manager because you don’t want to let a player of his quality leave, but no player is ever bigger than the club, and Wenger can’t be allowed to get bullied by Sanchez and his agent if he is holding the club to ransom.

If – and it’s a big if at this point in the window, as Sanchez or Ozil haven’t signed new contracts – they can keep both of these players at the club and bring in Mahrez, Arsenal have one of the best attacks in the Premier League. We still must remember though, that this is Arsenal, and it has been engrained into their DNA in the last decade to fall away in February and March, and for me personally? I still feel clubs are ahead of them, but even so, Arsenal fans can look forward to the season with a degree of optimism and belief that their club can do well in the upcoming campaign.

Featured image credit: Daily Star

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