Granted, Arsenal are already five points behind three of their main rivals in the title race. But that’s after just three games. And the history books have shown more often than not that the old cliché is true – this is a marathon, certainly not a sprint.
And it’s a marathon than Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger knows all too well, while two of the managers also challenging for the Premier League title will be experiencing it for the first time.
Neither Pep Guardiola of Manchester City nor Antonio Conte of Chelsea will have faced such a hectic winter schedule before in their managerial careers, whereas this will be Wenger’s twentieth in England.
Of the last seven Premier League campaigns, only three sides at the top of the table with maximum points after their first three games have gone on to win the league.
Known for their slow starts in recent years, Arsenal have still never failed to finish outside the top four since Wenger took over. A second-place finish last campaign came after just four points were picked up before the first international break of the season, while the north London outfit managed a third-place finish back in 2011-12 after picking up just one point from their opening three games.
The Gunners are at home to Southampton on Saturday afternoon, and Wenger’s men will go into the game confident of securing three points – having never lost on home soil in the Premier League to the Saints.
But before a ball is even kicked at the Emirates, at least one of Arsenal’s title rivals will have dropped points, as Manchester United welcome Man City to Old Trafford.
This means the Gunners could potentially bridge the gap between themselves and one of their rivals to just two points, before Chelsea travel to Swansea on Sunday, a place where they lost 1-0 last season.
This weekend could be a huge one for Wenger, who welcomes new signings Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi to the Emirates for the first time.
A worst case scenario sees them eight points behind two of their main challengers for the title, while a best case scenario sees breathing down the necks of the top three.
The Gunners are 3/5 favourites to win on Saturday, while they’re still a tempting 11/1 to win the league.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.