After yesterday’s win, Arsenal will be top of the league at Christmas. Whilst the World Cup break is not at the exact midway point of the season—more like a third of the way, with most seasons having 17 matchweeks before Christmas—it is a default half-way point of the season. Arsenal haven’t been in this position since the 2007-08 season, though in 2013-14 Arsenal were second on goal difference at Christmas and went top on Boxing Day. Of course, being top at Christmas doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be in the title race in April, but it stands to reason that Arsenal are in the title race right now.
Whether Arsenal remain in the title race or not, this is an unexpected boon for this Arsenal side. At the beginning of the season, most experts had Arsenal finishing outside of the top 4. Our own predictions were more bullish: all of us had Arsenal in the top 4 at season’s end, though we all had Manchester City and Liverpool as top 2. And, with two thirds of the season to go, nothing has been secured, of course, but I doubt that anyone had Arsenal top of the league at Christmas, having dropped only five points in the whole campaign.
That is the larger thrust of this piece: it’s not only that Arsenal are top, taking advantage of a meeker Liverpool, a Chelsea going through transition, and a Spurs team seeing the limits of Conteball. Arsenal have been exceptionally good. This is the best Arsenal record through 14 games. Arsenal’s pace right now is 100 points, a record in the Premier League achieved once, by Manchester City in 2017-18. Whatever measure you want to use, Arsenal have been incredibly good this season.
Beyond that, it’s been enjoyable. Arsenal are not only good, but Arsenal are playing good football. The atmosphere, be it at the stadium or watching on television, is infectious. All of which is to say Arsenal fans should enjoy this season, whether Arsenal end up being in the title race or not. The fact that the club are in this position is a testament to the work that’s been done by Mikel Arteta and by the backroom staff, and by the players. It also signifies that Arsenal are going places: this is not a lucky run, with everything coming together. This is a young core of incredibly good and talented players who are just getting started.
I can’t tell you whether Arsenal will win the league or not. None of us can. But at Christmas 2022, I can tell you that Arsenal have a 5 point lead. And what I can also tell you is to enjoy this. Arsenal haven’t had a season like this in arguably 8 years, if not longer, though we’ve won plenty of trophies in the meantime, with 4 FA Cups. So with 6 weeks without Arsenal, let’s be sure to enjoy each game, and take it as it comes, especially because for this group, this is only the beginning.