Four weeks ago even the most fervent Arsene Wenger supporter was starting to have doubts: Arsenal had lost their season opener to Aston Villa and the Frenchman had again failed to act in the transfer window, despite having money available.
At 15:11 today those doubters collectively cheered, and then reflectively hung their heads in shame. It only took Arsenal’s Deadline Day, club-record, signing Mesut Ozil, 10 minutes to ignite and go some way to silencing those who were beginning to question Wenger’s tenure.
Ozil’s deft touch and perfect delivery for Olivier Giroud’s goal had class written all over it.
He was the man Wenger was holding out for, he is the man who can make Arsenal genuine title contenders (10/1 with Ladbrokes).
The £42.5m signing’s debut had been made even more daunting by the forced absence of usual creator-in-chief Santi Cazorla, but the ex-Madrid man calmly took control from the first whistle.
Elsewhere, Aaron Ramsey’s season keeps getting better; the faith shown in him by Wenger paying substantial dividends. His brace was reminiscent of some of Paul Scholes’ finest artistry.
Jack Wilshere is battling through a slight dip in form but there is good reason why England’s international hopes are being pinned on him.
Oliver Giroud is, along with Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge, the Premier League’s best striker at present.
And in Cazorla and Ozil, Arsenal arguably possess the two deadliest play-makers in the country.
An injury to any of the said players would impact Arsenal’s chances adversely but the fact is, all of the big clubs are dropping points and this could be the most open title race in years.
Manchester United were the only other team out of the Big Four to win today and although Marouane Fellaini is a good signing, without Alex Ferguson, United are a different beast entirely.
Manuel Pellegrini seemingly didn’t anticipate how difficult this league was going to be and Manchester City, in the end, were lucky to leave Stoke with a solitary point.
Even Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea have chinks in the armour – their loss to Everton was fully deserved.
If Arsenal are crowned champions next Spring they will have had some good fortune along the way. But who would bemoan a title for Wenger, the master economist, whose £42.5m signing was worth every penny?
All Odds and Markets correct at time of publication