By Alex Forbes
The summer transfer window has now closed and Arsenal's title chances have been questioned by many. So where do Arsenal stand in contention to winning the Barclays Premier League?
I’ll take you back to the start of the 2013/14 season. After the loss to Aston Villa on the opening day, Arsenal had a successful first half of the season. They went on to be top at Christmas and remained top of the league for 128 days (twice as many as the eventual champions - Manchester City).
Unfortunately the second half of the season was Arsenal's downfall. After having to use 33 different players, the team found it hard to find consistency in the league and ended being reduced to fourth place. So looking back, you must wonder, could Arsenal have gone on and won the league if crucial players didn't get injured?
They went out into the 2014 summer transfer market and bought Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers, Danny Welbeck, David Ospina and, most importantly a new man to lead the attack, Alexis Sanchez.
Despite the new faces, it was a poor end to 2014. Arsenal were only able to win nine of their first 20 games and seventh at New Year. But the season wasn’t over yet. A remarkable turn around in form was needed to ensure Champions League football.
With players coming back from injury and the reinforcement in the new boy Gabriel, Arsenal looked like a new team. The Gunners’ new-found form was highlighted when they retained the FA Cup. Once again, a season of two halves. If we haven't had our main players injured at the beginning of the year, could we have displayed a title challenging season?
After reviewing the previous two seasons, it was clear to the club that an 11-man team was there to challenge. With the world-class addition of Petr Cech, many pundits regarded Arsenal as being able to launch a serious title challenge. However most hopes were quickly written off after the first few games that saw a lack of Arsenal goals. Consequently it appeared almost essential by many to sign a new striker.
On Giroud. To start off with, he's class. He's shown he can score in the big games, away at Bayern, against Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool last season. He is ready to compete, especially considering that Arsenal are a team that contribute with goals elsewhere. We know Aaron Ramsey is capable of scoring a significant amount, Theo Walcott is now back and will hopefully be available for the season and Alexis was a goal machine last season. Not to mention the likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere who are known to add a few more to the goal tally. Looking at that list, there's enough firepower to mount a strong campaign.
Furthermore, if we look at the two previous seasons, have Arsenal's title chances been disregarded too quickly? We still have the main squad due to no major departures in the previous years. We have made arguably the most significant signing in Cech. Whilst not forgetting that our youthful squad is getting older, better and more experienced.
Arsenal have proven that they can beat any team. We've gone to Bayern and won, last season we went to the previous title winners, Manchester City, and won. A month ago, we played the 2014/2015 title winners and won. So if we can stay moderately injury free, Arsenal can challenge for the league title.