Good Monday morning, TSFers! Today we return to your regularly scheduled, daily CF programming. It feels as if Fall has finally arrived in D.C., which means I have to bundle up to take the pup on his morning walk. It also means that the holiday season and winter is approaching. That thought makes me happy.
As I was heading back in with Gunner this morning contemplating CF, my thoughts turned to a vibe check for Arsenal with the club returning for 7 matches in 22 days between this coming Saturday and the start of the next international break in mid-November. How are we feeling about the club and where things are at?
I’m pretty happy. The win against Manchester City massively buoyed my opinion of where things stand for Arsenal right now and left me hopeful that the changes Mikel Arteta has been working to implement are finally starting to bear fruit.
I remain concerned about the chance generation, but I have to remind myself that Arsenal’s preferred starting front three of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, and Gabriel Jesus have yet to start a Premier League match together. The same goes for the “best” midfield three — Thomas Partey, Declan Rice, and Martin Ødegaard — although it’s not clear that Arteta sees that trio as his best option.
The Gunners have endured a less than stellar start to the season, marred by injuries, yet they’re tied for first in the Premier League and still favorites to win their Champions League group. It’s good to take a step back and get some perspective. That such a strong start, at least from a results standpoint, could still feel disappointing and somehow less than is an indicator of the raised expectations that follow naturally from the excellent campaign last season, the quality play on the pitch, and the spending from management. It’s a good place to be.