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Can Arsenal Launch A Title Challenge Next Season?

The only problem with all the optimism at the Emirates right now is that, really, we’ve been here before. All the talk about being the best team in a given year is reminiscent of what happened in 2013.

There is that perpetual sense of the club self-correcting itself: never suffering the true kind of crisis that would bring them below fourth, but never enjoying the genuine evolution that would lift them to a proper challenge. For the latter to happen, there needs to deeper development of performance. The excellent recent run needs to be an indication of structural improvement, rather than just a streak.

That does seem the case, especially in the defensive side of the game. You only have to look at the drastic increase in tackles and – especially – interceptions, with the latter jumping from 14.3 to 20.3. That kind of aggression offered the platform for sleeker football. Things are looking encouraging – more so than usual.

So the stats show that Arsene Wenger has finally got around to making the Gunners harder to score against. Has he laid a foundation for a title challenge next season?