Although they didn’t close the deal at the end of last season, nobody spent more time on top of the Premier League table than Arsenal. And given the results of today’s action (Arsenal won at Brentford 1-0), they are back in first place, which is the perfect way for manager Mikel Arteta to celebrate his 200th game in charge of the club.
“I love winning and we are top of the table and this is where we have to want to be,” said Arteta.
“For me as well it was a special day — 200 games and I want to say thank you so much to everybody that makes my job so enjoyable.
Winter has started, it was very cold and it is difficult coming to Brentford and I loved the way the team competed, how we played.
With the Gunners London derby win, plus the Manchester City score draw with Liverpool, the North Londoners now have 30 points, to Man City’s 29 and the Reds 28.
That is where we stand 13 games in, and with 25 to go, so about 1/3 of the way in. The hero today for Arsenal was Kai Havertz, who has been much maligned due to a slow start. He didn’t bang in the goals for Chelsea, and he hasn’t been doing that here either, but he came off the bench to score the game’s only goal today.
“That’s the beauty of it. If things come easy, you don’t value them,” Arteta said of the German who achieved just his second scoring strike of the season.
“He’s an example for all of us to do what you have to do when you have difficulties.”
Havertz, in the quest for more playing time, has found himself playing new positions on both the club and country level this season.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now, while writing for the International Baseball Writers Association of America. You can follow the website on Twitter.