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‘We’ve taken another step’ – are Arsenal the real deal?

First Arsenal brushed aside Tottenham. Then overcame Liverpool.

And now the Gunners will spend another few days at the top of the Premier League table after another statement win over Chelsea.

Mikel Arteta’s side are two points clear of second-placed City after 13 matches.  City, chasing a fifth title in six seasons, will return to the top if they beat Brentford at Etihad Stadium next Saturday in the early kick-off (12:30 GMT).

However, Arsenal will get to spend the following six weeks at the summit if they defeat Wolves at Molineux on the same day in the late kick-off (19:45).

There are no Premier League matches after 13 November until 26 December because of the World Cup, which starts on 20 November.

Arteta said his players reached a “new level” in their victory over Chelsea, Arsenal’s 11th top-flight win of the season.  “It’s a really young team, but they played as a really mature team and it’s a big step against this opposition,” said the Arsenal boss.

The Gunners have not won the title since 2003-04. Can they really sustain a serious challenge post-World Cup?Arsenal have won three consecutive Premier League games against so-called ‘big six’ opponents for the first time since April 2012.

They are the only side to have scored in every top-flight game so far this season, while no team has kept more clean sheets than the Gunners so far (6).  They are averaging 2.61 points per game after dropping just five points all season.

If they carry on at this rate, they will end up on 99 points, six more than City managed last season when they won the league.  Despite his side’s excellent start to the campaign, Arteta is unwilling to talk up his side’s credentials as title contenders.

Arsenal finished 24 points behind champions Manchester City last season, and the Spaniard said: “We are getting much better as a team and competing much better.  “We are getting really good results right now, but this is long, long.

“Just look at the last six years, what Manchester City have done. With the best manager in the world, the best team in the world.

“They have shown it consistently in every single competition. We have to be very, very respectful of that.”Arteta is approaching his third anniversary in charge of the Gunners.

He steered them to two eighth-placed finishes before they sealed fifth spot last season, two points off a Champions League position.  “Arsenal are a team three years in the making,” former Fulham and Bournemouth boss Scott Parker told BT Sport.

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand believes the Gunners are being rewarded for sticking with Arteta after he came under pressure following three straight league defeats at the start of last season.

“Look at the managers who have had success and they have been given time.

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola were given time,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.  “Now Arteta is following that. There is a sense something is happening at Arsenal.

Are this team the real deal? You can sense something.  “There’s an authority about how they play. It is wonderful to watch. We all questioned this team, but they are making it look easy at the moment.”

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