Original article published 29 September 2022
Table-topping Arsenal return from the international break with a mouth-watering double header against Tottenham and Liverpool with bet365 pricing the Gunners at 4/1 to take six points from the two fixtures.
Mikel Arteta’s team have beaten Crystal Palace, Leicester, Bournemouth, Fulham, Aston Villa and Brentford with their only dropped points coming in an away defeat at Manchester United.
Their detractors are suggesting that they sit top due to an ‘easy’ set of opening fixtures having lost the only tough game that they have played in.
However, both Spurs and Liverpool have arguably had even softer starts and haven’t hit top gear.
While Tottenham’s results have been strong, taking 17 points from a possible 21, Conte will be hoping for more from his side.
Even dating back to the opening game of the season when they ran out 4-1 winners against Southampton, there were deficiencies, and the 6-2 win over Leicester paints a different picture to how the game – certainly the first half – played out.
For Liverpool, they could see their slim title hopes extinguished without some big results over the next few weeks. Either side of their trip to the Emirates, they face Chelsea away, Brighton at home and Manchester City at home, and with only two league wins this season, they need a big month.
For Arsenal, though, we’ll know a lot more about their credentials after these two matches.
But, as the saying goes, you can only beat what’s in front of you, and while the Gunners left Old Trafford empty-handed, they could so easily have taken a point to maintain their unbeaten start.
And aside from the defeat to Manchester United and the scare against Fulham, Arsenal have hardly looked like dropping points. Their fast starts to games has seen them lead for 367 out of 450 minutes in the other five matches.
October was earmarked as a key month for Mikel Arteta’s side when the fixtures came out in the summer.
After Tottenham and Liverpool comes a trip to Elland Road before hosting Manchester City, closing the month with Southampton away and Nottingham Forest at home, with four Europa League fixtures to cram in.
While everyone has congested fixtures lists this season, those competing in Europe will see their squads especially stretched, and it’s an issue already rearing its head for Arsenal.
Arteta could be without Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney, Takehiro Tomiyasu, in addition to Oleksandr Zinchenko, Emile Smith Rowe and Mohamed Elneny.
Gunners fans will be desperate to get through these next two games unscathed, and simply going unbeaten might be enough to keep the momentum rolling. A pair of draws can be backed at 10/1.
Arsenal are 15/2 to lose both matches at the Emirates, and 9/4 to win one and lose one.
Looking further ahead, Arteta’s men are rated at 4/6 to finish above local rivals Tottenham for the first time since 2016, and their excellent start to the season has had some fans dreaming of how the table might look come May, with their biggest pre-season price of 66/1 to win the league currently 10/1.