Guardiola is certain that Arsenal is taking the Premier League title
Pep Guardiola: "Still Arsenal are the favourites." [Beanyman Sports] pic.twitter.com/gBqvXC39by— AfcVIP⁴⁹ (@VipArsenal) March 13, 2023
Pep Guardiola is either playing high-level mind games, or he’s finally starting to believe what Arsenal fans have been dreaming about for almost two decades: the Premier League title is going back to the Gunners.
Arteta’s team was able to shake off any fatigue from Thursday’s Europa League tie against Sporting, putting up an impressive display for a 3-0 win at Craven Cottage. If Arsenal manages to dispatch Crystal Palace on Sunday, they can go eight points clear.
With just 11 league games to go, that would be a mountain to climb for City. But other teams have faltered late in the season. Who can forget Kevin Keegan’s famous outburst? Or Arsenal’s own capitulation of an 8-point advantage they still held in March for the 2003 edition (sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?).
To be fair to Guardiola, he isn’t the only one who thinks Arsenal will run away with it this season. Alan Shearer is sure of it. So is Gary Lineker. And Sander Westerveld, of Liverpool fame, is so confident that he would bet his house on it.
Not only that, but the local bookies, as well as the ones in the neighborhood are keeping high bets the next Premier League title winner will be Arsenal. So far, the battle has always been coming down to Liverpool and Manchester United, but currently, the odds that Arsenal will come out as the title winner sits at 4/6 (Sky Bet), meaning they are 50.56% likely to win the Premier League. This time, Man City and Man United have slightly lower chances (49.28%, and 0.07% respectively), while Liverpool lags way behind with 15/2 odds. All in all, when it comes to fans and bettors alike, this Premier League season is super exciting. Many are looking for ways to pick hints and guidelines on how to make good title winners bets, where places like IrishLuck come in handy.
So to say, based on the current odds with the bookies, the Gunners are heavy favorites to win the title. So, based on the companies that literally rely on accurate odds for financial survival, it’s Arsenal’s title to lose.
Trossard and Jorginho: Rare January Hits
The January transfer window is notorious for big money flops. You don’t need to think hard to name a couple of infamous signings: Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United, Fernando Torres to Chelsea. Arsenal’s record also isn’t great. Kim Kallstrom with the broken back. Denis Suarez, the underwhelming Barcelona loanee.
But Arsenal needed to do something. With Partey cracking at the seams, Gabriel Jesus out for a significant period, and Smith Rowe only making a regular appearance in a catchy terrace chant, Arteta desperately needed reinforcements.
Yet every attempt for a signing was failing. Chelsea spectacularly pipped Arsenal to the highly rated Mykhailo Mudryk, after most thought the signing was done and dusted. And Moisés Caicedo’s social media attempts to push through a move were slightly embarrassing, and ultimately for nothing anyway.
Fans were left even more frustrated when Arsenal announced the signing of two seemingly subpar signings: Trossard and Jorginho. Reactions on Twitter were extreme, Arsenal FanTV went into its usual meltdown, and some were even calling for Edu’s P45.
These reactions are absolutely laughable when you look at them today. Both signings now seem like the work of a genius, transfers to match January masterstrokes of yesteryear: Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool, Vidic to ManU, or even Arsenal’s own signing of Aubameyang in 2018 (of course, let’s wipe his final season from the record).
First, Trossard. His performances leave you wondering why he was ‘only’ playing for Brighton at 28. He has been immense. Tireless, a very crafty and intelligent player. His three assists against Fulham almost deserve a special DVD release from the Armory.
Jorginho brought back the nightmares of Chelsea imports like Willian, David Luiz, and William Gallas, yet he’s been fantastic. Even if he only manages 10 more solid performances for the Gunners, he’ll have been more than worth it. He’s not just a sideways pass merchant, and he’s been extremely useful in distributing Partey’s heavy midfield load. Should Arsenal win the title, the Italian Euro winner will have had his part.
Gabriel Jesus Returns
Arsene Wenger’s famous saying is still etched in our collective PTSD, but in this case, it’s true: the return of Gabriel Jesus is just like a new signing. When he started warming up at Craven Cottage, it sent a collective sigh of relief through the Arsenal fandom.
His potential contribution to the run-in cannot be understated. Eddie Nketiah was more than serviceable when he first came in, but he lost his spark in recent weeks (and many fans are calling for Balogun to take his place next season). The situation was starting to look dire, with Arteta even opting not to start a number 9 at all.
Let’s not forget, Jesus was Arsenal’s player of the season at the point of his injury. He was Arteta’s key player, the one who perhaps inspired the team to rocket to the top of the league table. His return is absolutely huge.
Arteta: More than Guardiola-Lite
When Arsenal first hired Arteta, fans hoped for a mini-version of Pep. But they feared something a lot worse. What they have now, however, is arguably the best manager in the Premier League.
Ten Hag certainly thinks so. TalkSPORT openly put the question up for debate earlier this month. And most Arsenal fans would not swap their former midfielder for anyone else, whether they’re called Pep, Carlo, or Antonio (yes, that last one is a joke).
No matter where you rank him, Arteta is consistently proving he’s a class manager. He has tactical flexibility, makes players better, and seemingly has the mental fortitude to go the distance.
Sure, Guardiola may just have been playing mind games with his press statement. But on balance, it looks like his prediction is going to happen. Arsenal fans are still scared to say it out loud lest they jinx it, but the title is probably going back to North London.