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Why the next month of Premier League action is crucial to Arsenal's title challenge?

Arsenal is topping the league point table of English Premier League but Manchester City is right behind them chasing in the table.

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Why the next month of Premier League action is crucial to Arsenal's title challenge? | Sportz Point

When the current Premier League season got underway back in August, no one could have predicted how the table would look at its halfway point. Following reigning champions Manchester City being held at home to Everton on New Year's Eve, Arsenal are now seven points clear at the division's summit. Mikel Arteta's young gunners are currently playing without any fear whatsoever. Their midfield maestro Martin Ødegaard, as well as English starlets Bukayo Saka, Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale, are all on top form, and their title challenge shows no sign of slowing down. 

Despite that, OddsChecker, which compares Premier League odds and free bets, still makes Pep Guardiola's Blues the favourites to retain their crown come May. And with Erling Haaland firing on all cylinders, you can never rule the Etihad Stadium outfit out. But with that being said, Arsenal will take some overhauling over the next five months. But Haaland and co. may not need to wait five months - could the majority of the seven-point deficit be wiped out by mid-February? 

Between January 15th and February 15th, Arsenal will travel to local rivals Spurs to contest the North London derby. They will also host a rejuvenated Manchester United at the Emirates before hosting their title rivals Manchester City in a bonafide six-pointer. Sandwiched in between those three tests are a trip to Goodison Park, as well as welcoming Brentford to North London, neither of which are guaranteed victories. And should it all come crumbling down for Mikel Arteta's side in the winter months, it wouldn't be the first time. The Gunners' faithful have felt such pain before. 

15 years prior 

Back in the 2007/08 campaign, Arsenal were once again shock leaders at Christmas, just as they were this term. That year, the North London outfit had just sold their iconic captain and leader Thierry Henry to Barcelona for £16m. Despite that, however, Arsene Wenger managed to amass a wealth of young talent on a somewhat modest budget. And his young side didn't disappoint him. 

Entry to Emirates Ground of Arsenal FC | Sportz Point

Led by midfield lynchpin Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal sat at the Premier League's summit throughout January. They took full advantage of Jose Mourinho's famous third-season syndrome at Chelsea - which saw the legendary Portuguese boss dismissed and replaced with Avram Grant - to storm clear, and they even managed to see out January on top as well. But it all came crumbling down in the space of just four weeks in February. 

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The wheels started to come off on a trip to St. Andrews to face Birmingham City. The Blues were reduced to ten men after just three minutes when defender Martin Taylor shattered striker Eduardo's leg and was given his marching orders. The Croatian striker's teammates were visibly distressed but despite that, a Theo Walcott double gave the Gunners a slender lead as the game reached injury time. In true Arsenal fashion, however, Wenger's side would conspire to give away a 95th-minute penalty which was duly slotted home by James McFadden. 

Arsenal needn't worry, their next three fixtures were more than winnable. They first hosted Aston Villa, before travelling to Wigan Athletic and finally finishing with Middlesbrough's visit to the Emirates. Inexplicably, the Gunners drew all three. They would then throw away a one-goal lead at Stamford Bridge with Didier Drogba bagging a late double, and their title challenge was all but over. 

The similarities 

There are plenty of similarities between the campaign 15 years ago and the current Premier League season. Back then, Fabregas was the club's main man, being the architect-in-chief in midfield. This term, it's Ødegaard. Back then, an injury to a Brazilian-born centre forward was the beginning of the end. This year, Gabriel Jesus returned from the World Cup injured and is potentially out for the season. 

Arsenal fans the world over will be hoping that the similarities stop there. And if their recent 4-2 victory at Brighton is anything to go by, the Gunners faithful might not need to hope at all. 

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