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Arsenal: Acid Test For The Gunners Begins Now




Arsenal are on a roll here. Against Crystal Palace on Saturday at Selhurst Park, they earned full three points and cemented their position at the top of the Premier League table. It was just another routine away victory for them, despite ending the game with 10-men, after Mikel Arteta was sent off in the second half.

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil

Every time when doubts are raised against them, they have found a way to bounce back strongly. In the opening day of the season, the Gunners suffered a 3-1 humiliating defeat at the hands of Aston Villa. The pressure was on instantly. A sulky atmosphere prevailed while fans protested and vented their frustrations.

The record signing of Mesut Ozil on the transfer deadline day has really changed the atmosphere no doubt but the collective effort in turning the tide is also noteworthy. One has to remember the Gunners are without several key players through injuries this season and the team can only get better when they return. They have been outstanding at times in the league and quite deservedly are holding the top spot.

But, the situation could change easily within a space of few games. Arsenal, for all their brilliance, have played against weaker oppositions mainly so it will be interesting to watch how they approach these series of big and tough games coming on their way.

With several key players still injured, Arsenal will have to deal with fixtures against Chelsea, Liverpool, Dortmund, Man Utd and Marseille in various competitions.

An early exit from the League Cup probably won’t hurt Arsenal too much than say a defeat against Liverpool. The reason being, the Gunners would not only lose their position at the top but it would also invite unnecessary pressure before travelling to Germany for the crucial Champions League tie.

I’m not trying to sound pessimistic here but one has to agree that these are not easy games and the result can go either way. Likewise, defeat against Dortmund will pile-up insurmountable pressure on the team. Not only, the pressure to qualify to the knock out rounds will intensify but losing 3 games on the trot could have an adverse effect on this team. Reaching the top spot in tough but holding on to that position is tougher.

On the flip side, if they win against Chelsea and Liverpool, it will set the tone for the rest of the year. They will feel comfortable with their approach while it will give them tremendous confidence to mount a serious title challenge.