Arsenal ended the 2014/15 Premier League season with a 3rd place finish behind Chelsea and Manchester City. They have made tremendous progress considering they are placed at the top of the table after the end of first round of Premier League fixtures this season.
The summer transfer window did not see Arsene Wenger spend any money as the only piece of business was the free transfer of star goal keeper Petr Cech from Chelsea. This move of not buying any out-field player almost ruined the season for the Gunners as they are in the middle of a bad injury crisis with a busy fixture period.
In one of the most exciting and unpredictable Premier League seasons, Arsenal have shown a level of consistency at times and have shown time and again that they have the quality to challenge the best teams not only in the league but also in Europe.
But their Champions League campaign did not start as expected and even after a thumping victory over German giants Bayern Munich, they went into the last match of the group stage needing all three points to qualify. They did well to come out of that tight spot but before they could rejoice, the fans were shocked after they were drawn with the Spanish Champions Barcelona in the round of 16.
But their league form has been tremendous at times and the ease with which they brush aside some smaller sides in the league is commendable. They have lost the odd match like the 4-0 drubbing at St Marys but have generally been full of confidence.
One of the biggest reasons for the success of the club has been the form of German International Mesut Ozil. Ozil has been in scintillating form this season and has just toyed with the opposition defenders. His vision and the accuracy to find his team mate have been a treat to watch. He has been in the middle of everything good happening at the Emirates and is one of the best players in Europe right now.
He leads the list for assists all over Europe and has had good finishers ahead of him. Theo Walcott who played as a striker for a certain period in the season found form but was injured. Giroud who got his place back at the tip of the attack snatched his chance and found a goal scoring form that has helped the Gunners climb to the top of the table.
The defense has generally been strong but the back four have had their nervy moments in pressure situations. Mertesacker and Koscielny, the first choice center back pairing have settled in well and have produced some strong performances to help their team steal points from strong oppositions.
The only problem for Arsenal has been the growing number of injuries to the squad. As many as 11 first team players were out due to injury at various times in the first half of the season and the transfer business or the lack of it almost came back to bite the manager.
Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin, Mikel Arteta, Thomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla and Callum Chamber have all had spells on the side lines and have left Arsene Wenger without too many options in many positions on the field.
This is what makes the impressive performance of the Gunners even more impactful. A fully fit Arsenal side looks like one of the strongest in Europe and can easily post a proper title challenge this season.
The lethargy shown by the squad in games like the one against Southampton should fast vanish for the club to post the challenge but it is not beyond the 66 year old manager to start showing consistency that might just give them a great shot at the League title for the first time in more than 10 years.
The January transfer window might tempt Wenger who needs some back up for his injury crisis. But finding the right player is not easy in winter and the Gunners will have to stay strong in the second half of the season to end with silverware.
Do you think Arsene Wenger can take Arsenal to the summit of the Barclays Premier Leauge?