With Arsenal odds-on for a first title since 2004, we have priced up the Gunners not to lose another league game this season at 25/1.
It’s not just that Arsenal are leading – by eight points, no less – that’s been so impressive, but the manner of their performances.
Of their 15 wins, the Leeds one sticks out as one where the Gunners were hugely fortunate to escape with all three points, but by and large, Mikel Arteta’s men have been good value for their victories this season.
One potential concern could be that Arsenal are the biggest over-performers on their xG in the league and it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see them drop some unexpected points in games they’ll feel they should have won.
On the flip side, champions typically will over-perform on xG over the course of the season, as Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester have since 2015, and if Arsenal do come out on top come May, they’ll likely have needed a bit of luck along the way.
Arsenal fans’ optimistic insistence that “this time it really feels different” was met with a great degree of cynicism from rivals at the start of the season before they’d faced any real test, but since then, they’ve beaten Liverpool at home, Chelsea away, and did the double over Tottenham for the first time since 2014, and the second time since 2007.
This time, it actually does feel different, and despite Manchester City adding the world’s greatest striker to the world’s greatest attack, they appear to have gone backwards slightly.
Tottenham have also failed to kick on as many expected under Antonio Conte; Liverpool sorely need investment in key areas; the Graham Potter experiment at Chelsea is yet to reap results, and while Manchester United are still on the fringes of a title race, they suffered a huge setback on Wednesday night with Crystal Palace’s 90th-minute equaliser, leaving them eight points off the pace having played a game more.
If Arsenal can take all three points on Sunday against United, it will all but end Erik ten Hag’s faint hopes of launching a title challenge, leaving them with one serious contender again, having taken seven points from fixtures with Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester United.
There is, perhaps, a little bit of revenge on the mind of Arteta’s men, getting one over on the only side to beat them this season, while also eliminating them from the title race, but while Arteta would never admit it, he surely has one eye on the blockbuster clash with Manchester City on 15th February, and the chance to really turn the pressure up on Pep Guardiola.
Then there will be the month that may well make or break Arsenal’s season. Beginning with Liverpool on 8th April, Arsenal then face West Ham away, Southampton at home, Manchester City away, Chelsea at home and finally Newcastle away on 8th May.
Arsenal have been top of the league ever since 20th August, and if they’re still top after the trip to St James’ Park, it’s hard to see them not staying there until the end of the season.