Arsenal produced a fine performance to see off the challenge of fellow high-fliers Liverpool yesterday at Emirates Stadium.
The 2-0 victory took the Gunners five points clear at the top of the Premier League table. The win will have given Arsenal more than just the three points though.
The triumph will have added to the belief within the Gunners ranks that they can win the Premier League title for the first time in nine years.
Arsenal were not expected to make such a good start to their Premier League campaign and launch such a challenge for the title, with doom and gloom surrounding the club until very late in the summer transfer window.
The game against Liverpool was regarded as the toughest challenge that Arsenal have faced so far in the Premier League. Arsenal have been accused of not having faced any of the top teams in the top-flight. If this was their biggest test of the Premier League campaign so far then the Gunners passed it with flying colours.
In-form Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is growing in influence. The Welsh midfielder was once a victim of the Emirates boo-boys and questions were asked about his ability to produce at the top-level after the youngster recovered from a terrible injury.
This season though Ramsey has proved his doubters very much wrong. The young midfielder has scored 10 times in 15 games this season and arguably been the Premier League player of the season so far.
Ramsey is now regarded as one of the most important players in the Arsenal team. The 22-year-old’s performances this season have overshadowed some of his more high-profile teammates. In fact in recent matches Ramsey has put in far better displays than Gunners record-signing Mesut Ozil.
The Arsenal team of this season looks like a far more confident one than the one that has had to fight for a place in the top four for the past few seasons. The confidence is flowing throughout the team and everybody seems to have confidence in their own ability and that of their teammates.
Arsenal have passed their first big test in the Premier League, but next up is a trip to Old Trafford and Manchester United. The Gunners face a United side on the up, with the reigning champions having won the last four games on the trot in all competitions.
However, first the Gunners face a tricky midweek trip to Dortmund in the Champions League. If Arsenal come through the two games undefeated then I think they will have done well. Arsenal may be confident mood, but the Gunners will face two of the toughest away games of the season in the next seven days.
Arsenal will head to Old Trafford looking to put down a marker for the rest of season. A win at the home of the champions would send a major message to their fellow title contenders that they are capable of winning the big games.
It is very early in the Premier League season and Arsenal are not the first team in the leagues history to have a five point lead at the top of the table. Numerous teams have thrown away first spot and the title with much less time than Arsenal has left in the season.
If Arsenal continue playing the way they currently are then the Gunners are realistic Premier League title contenders. The difference in the mood of the Arsenal fans now compared to after the opening day defeat to Aston Villa is in stark contrast.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has come in for some heavy criticism in the past few seasons for not winning trophies. However, the Frenchman has always kept the Gunners in the top four in the Premier League.
People suggested that Wenger was happy for his team to just finish in that top four. I am sure the Frenchman was always looking to challenge for the big prizes, but was never able to spend big like the likes of Manchester City or Chelsea.
This summer Wenger splashed out £42.5million on Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil and club-record signing has given everybody connected with Arsenal a major lift. The marquee signing of the little playmaker may just convince some more big players to join the Gunners in the January transfer window.
Arsenal does have the quality to keep up their good run of form. The Gunners also have a lot of injured players to return. A lot of the questions being asked about Arsenal’s ability to compete with the best will be answered in the next week.
The Gunners look like real Premier League title contenders this season and Arsenal’s fans wait for a piece of silverware could very well be coming to an end.
Are Arsenal the real deal this season?