When all is said and done with this Premier League season, Arsenal could still be rated as the best-placed side to dispose of Chelsea at the top of the tree when top-flight football returns in August.
Although the north Londoners need two wins and the result of Manchester City’s final league game to go their way if they are to claim a first league silver medal for 10 years, their recent display at Old Trafford was another example of their progressive squad showing signs of challenging for gold.
Despite the 1-1 draw with Man Utd, the Gunners’ showing was also a clear indication of where they must strengthen if those title dreams are to be realised.
Not for the first time, Arsene Wenger’s side seriously suffered for a lack of a physically imposing, dominant central midfielder, as Marouane Fellaini ran amok for the Red Devils in the first half.
It was the Belgian’s aerial ability that preoccupied Arsenal’s backline in the lead up to the hosts’ first goal. With all the attention on the former Toffees midfielder, Ander Herrera was left unmarked to volley home following Ashley Young’s cross.
Although the emergence of Francis Coquelin as Arsenal’s anchorman has been impressive, the Frenchman remains a lightweight version of the type of player Wenger really needs if he is to get his hands back on the Premier League trophy.
Nemanja Matic’s dominance in the role for Chelsea should be proof to all sides seriously considering a championship run that a man capable of mixing strength, height and ball skills should be sought this summer.
Arsenal have been crying out for such a specimen for longer than most and it’ll be a sign of Wenger’s ambition should he go out and plug the gaping gap this summer, rather than fill an already congested mantelpiece with more attacking trinkets.
Until such time, the Gunners are 2/7 to beat Sunderland in their penultimate outing of the season.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.