What has changed at Arsenal this season and can they continue title hunt?

Arsenal beat Chelsea on Sunday afternoon to once again move two points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.

With over a third of the season gone and the break for the World Cup coming after the next round of fixtures, the Gunners have stayed the course until Christmas.

Here, the PA news agency look at how Arsenal have achieved their fine start and whether they can turn it into a sustained title tilt.

Arsenal have not finished in the top four since 2016, how are they flying so high?

Martin Odegaard (left) and Bukayo Saka (right) have been instrumental in Arsenal's fine season.
Martin Odegaard (left) and Bukayo Saka (right) have been instrumental in Arsenal’s fine season (Aaron Chown/PA)

Manager Mikel Arteta has often spoken about a “process” taking place at the Emirates Stadium, something that has been used as a stick to beat the Spaniard following successive eighth-placed finishes.

But last year there were signs of the green shoots of recovery as Arsenal were fifth, Arteta receiving praise for putting unwavering faith in the young talent at his disposal.

The likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard have all kicked on this season and with shrewd acquisitions such as Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko in the summer, Arteta’s process is beginning to truly develop.

What has changed with their performances?

Sunday's win at Chelsea was another game where Arsenal showed a new-found level of maturity, according to Arteta.
Sunday’s win at Chelsea was another game where Arsenal showed a new-found level of maturity, according to Arteta. (John Walton/PA)

Arteta praised the “maturity” of his side following the 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge and this season Arsenal have definitely found a way to win even if things have not gone their way.

That was not always true in the past but now they can beat teams in different ways it gives them scope to collect plenty of points.

Great displays against Tottenham, Liverpool, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest have drawn the plaudits – but hard-fought victories over Leeds and Aston Villa and even a strong showing in their sole league defeat at Manchester United have shown this Arsenal side are built of sterner stuff.

So what could stop them winning the league?

The form of a player such as Erling Haaland could prove the difference for Manchester City this season.
The form of a player such as Erling Haaland could prove the difference for Manchester City this season. (Nick Potts/PA)

Theoretically, nothing. If Arteta can keep the majority of his squad injury-free then there is nothing to suggest, at this stage of the season, that Arsenal cannot last the pace.

But those young players do not have experience of battling for league titles, and going up against perennial winners in Manchester City would be a steep learning curve for this squad.

Goals could also prove a sticking point, Arsenal’s leading scorers Jesus, Martinelli, Saka and Odegaard have 18 between them in the league so far this season – the same as Erling Haaland alone.

So it may not even be any Arsenal deficiencies that see them drop off, if indeed they do, but rather Pep Guardiola’s superior squad depth and collective winning experience that could be their undoing.