Arsenal went into the international break sitting fourth in the Premier League table, just two points off leaders Manchester City.
Liverpool and Chelsea are also level on points with the reigning champions of England and there’s a feeling that this season’s title race will be a lot tighter than last term’s when Pep Guardiola stormed to the trophy in record breaking fashion.
But are the Gunners genuine contenders under Unai Emery?
The Spaniard was quick to play down talk of a challenge following his side’s 5-1 thrashing of Fulham earlier in the month, instead choosing to focus on the upcoming Leicester City game next Monday.
“I don’t want to look behind, every match is different and very difficult,” he told reporters at Craven Cottage .”We are going up in the table little by little giving us a better position for our objective.
“But I am just thinking about the next match against Leicester at the Emirates, in our home, with our supporters. I want to give them and to show them we are improving with our quality, with our mentality and above all with commitment we had here today.
“When we lost the first two matches against Manchester City and Chelsea, we were calm and when we are winning now I think we need to be in the same way in our mentality.”
The five-goal haul in west London means only Man City (21) have scored more goals than the Gunners (19) across the entire division so far this season and Emery’s side boast the best conversion rate in the Premier League at 25%
And there’s another statistic which simply highlights just how ruthless the north Londoners have been this season.
The 19 goals they’ve scored exceeds their expected goal tally at this stage of the season with a difference of 8.36 which is the highest of any team in the top flight of English football.
In addition, the Gunners had been expected to have scored fewer goals than both Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and even Southampton, but have outscored all but one.
If the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can continue their ruthless streak in front of goal, then a title challenge is a very real possibility as they’re already ahead of schedule when it comes to goals under Emery.
That may be a problem. While the Gunners have been impressive in front of goal of late, players and teams are rarely able to over-perform their xG over a sustained period of time.
With such a large difference between what they were expected to score and the number of shots that have found the back of the net it will be up to Emery to make the most of this purple patch but also prepare for his team reverting back to the mean.
However, given the work put in by the Spaniard to implement his philosophy at the Emirates in his first months in charge as head coach, optimistic fans can hope that the Gunners will only get better, regardless of whether their ruthless touch fades in the weeks to come.