Can Arsenal really compete for the title this season?

By Avenell Dave

It says everything about Saturday's demolition of Southampton that many fans leaving the stadium were speaking of the frustration of letting in our first goal of the season.

Southampton were woeful on the day, as weak and unfortunate as any side has been at our new stadium, but the movement and discipline we showed most of the game suggests that the players are really starting to gel.

The fact that we conceded fewer goals than Citeh and M*nure against the Saints and got the same result at Stoke as moneybags Citeh suggests that we are not so bad after all.

My neighbour said after the final whistle that Arsene Wenger has got to sign up more Germans, and I agree.

Years ago, Jens Lehmann didn't let us down and regardless of what others think, Per Mertesacker has been superb in defence. You have to be to keep out Laurent Koscielny who was our best defender last season.

Another neighbour suggested that Lukas Podolski didn't have the skill that some of our other illustrious forwards have possessed.

And yet his deftermination to bully his way through a few challenges and set up Kieran Gibbs for our first, not to mention his superb free kick, suggests we really do have a player on our hands, a player who has matured a great deal since flopping at Bayern Munich and certainly has something to prove.

No one ever wants to go through the upheaval we endured in the summer of 2011 but now those players have really integrated as well and with Steve Bould marshalling the defence, we look a far better team all round.

There are few superlatives that haven't yet been used for Santi Cazorla so let's hope he remains fit and this superb level of threat and invention.

I had just offered the kiss of death, that we didn't look like letting in silly goals anymore, just before Wojciech Szczesny handed the visitors a goal.

There was a time in the second half when a trainer came behind the home goal and I had a feeling, especially with Vito Mannone warming up, that the Pole would be withdrawn, suffering again from the injury that had kept him out beforehand.

It wouldn't surprise me to see him miss Tuesday's Champions League game as well.

I do wonder why Theo Walcott didn't celebrate his goal. The generous and I hope the likely reason was because of his respect for the team where he made his name. If the reason is because he is sulking for being dropped with a new deal as yet unsigned, he's not helping himself at all. When he scores his next goal, we'll see I suppose.

Wenger doesn't make statements about challenging for the title lightly and there are sterner tests ahead of course, namely the Ch*vs and Citeh, who will not be as generous in defence as Southampton, but the confidence the side will gain from such as result certainly bodes well.