Arsenal are the early pacesetters in the Premier League this season and club legend Nigel Winterburn expects his former side to remain competitive on all fronts.
Arsenal’s strong start to the season has corresponded with much expectations from the north London outfit.
With transfer business completed early, versatile and important additions added to a young squad and a defined playing philosophy, the Gunners look motivated in a way that has not been seen at the Emirates in quite some time.
After six games, Arsenal find themselves top of the league and not by chance but after producing several top performances since the start of the campaign.
The Gunners also carried their good form to Europe, where they claimed a 2-1 win over FC Zurich in their Europa League opener last Thursday.
Expectations are now starting to grow on Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal side but a club legend still expects it all to be within familiar territory.
The jury still remains out on Arsenal and their supposed ambitions this season and why many expect an ‘upgrade’ from last season, Nigel Winterburn can still see top-four as the main mission to be accomplished this term.
“Arsenal’s aim is to get into the top four this season but I still think it’ll be a massive fight,” he said in an interview with the Daily star.
“Consistency is going to be key. They didn’t show enough of that last season. In terms of where they are now, with who they’ve brought into the football club, for me, the squad is stronger. But we’ve got to add into that as this season they’re playing Europa league football as well. A good, strong run in the Europa League and FA Cup is a must.”
Although cup runs and fixture congestion will stretch the squad to the maximum limit, much is still expected from Arsenal and Winterburn can see a challenge put out on all fronts.
“They’ll be hoping to get to all those finals, and on top of that, they will be expected to get into the top four,” he added.
“They are much stronger than last season. Saliba’s come back at centre-half, and before joining, people were rating him very, very highly. He’s started his Arsenal career well. So they’re stronger in centre half positions and they’re stronger at full-back.”
“Zinchenko can also play in the centre of midfield so that makes us stronger there, and they are definitely better up front with Jesus. I would say that Arsenal are significantly improved and now have squad depth. I always say they shouldn’t hesitate to sign players because if you pick up a major injury or two, to key areas, it can affect you greatly.”
Admittedly, Arsenal are looking good at the moment and the signs are positive, taking many factors into account. However, it is still too early to talk about a challenge and the best mentality is to see every single game like a final.
Just recently, Martin Odegaard was quick to note that the Gunners are yet to ‘achieve’ anything and it only makes sense to think that way, as the season is still pretty much in the early stages.