The 2013/14 season is shaping up to be a classic, with a wide open title race and six contenders who all fancy their chances of lifting the trophy. But, after the opening exchanges from the first six weeks, it is Arsenal who are moving forward with the most optimism and confidence – and, arguably, the fewest flaws. What a difference a month makes.

Arsene Wenger has absorbed a steady stream of criticism over the past eight seasons (since the club's last major trophy – the FA Cup in 2005), some of which has been justified, but he has never abandoned his principles. Now, two points clear at the top of the Premier League table, the Gunners are poised for their strongest title challenge since the 2007/08 campaign.

Though few members of that squad remain at the Emirates Stadium, Wenger will remember only too well how his team's promising start petered out in the New Year as Manchester United romped to the title. The 2013/14 season is still at a very early stage and there is a long way to go but, for Arsenal fans, August's gloom has been replaced by September's hope.

Part of that is due to the impact of Mesut Ozil, the £42m signing who salvaged an otherwise fruitless transfer window for Wenger. Once Gareth Bale's move to Real Madrid was finally completed, it opened the door for Arsenal to swoop for Ozil and change the Premier League landscape in the process. It was a high price to pay but his performances thus far are justifying the fee. The German has played in three league games, all wins, and has improved the Gunners' productivity in the final third.

But to credit Ozil as the primary factor in Arsenal's fine run of results, which includes an important win over Marseille in Europe, would overlook some of the other invaluable contributions. Aaron Ramsey has been inspired, scoring eight goals in his last eight games and even overshadowing Jack Wilshere in the centre of midfield. Free from his injury woes, the Welshman looks every inch the star that has was predicted to become when he broke onto the scene at Cardiff.

Likewise, Olivier Giroud has raised his game, profiting from Ozil's arrival and cementing his place as the spearhead of a speedy attack. Giroud has already netted a couple of fine strikes and his confidence levels are sky high in comparison to last season, when he looked overwhelmed at times and unable to provide the mobility that Wenger's style of play requires.

Given some of Arsenal's inconsistent patches over the past few years, it will take more than an impressive month of football before they are taken seriously as title contenders. There are question marks over whether there is enough squad depth to handle the busy schedule, with Champions League trips sandwiched between league fixtures. This is particularly relevant considering the injury track records of Ramsey, Wilshere and Theo Walcott, not to mention the likes of Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Bacary Sagna.

Experience is another area where the Gunners probably come up short in comparison to Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United. The younger members of the squad have not faced the pressure that comes hand in hand with title pursuits and the trophy drought will weigh heavy on the players' shoulders, whether they admit it or not.

That said, there is a sense that this Arsenal team is different; that there is more steel, more quality and more belief. And the timing could not be better. Manchester United are in freefall under David Moyes, looking shaky at the back and short of ideas up front, while Manchester City have shown vulnerability in two away defeats and Chelsea have areas to iron out under Jose Mourinho, including their lack of a true number nine to lead the attack. Tottenham and Liverpool have looked impressive but their title race pedigree must still be earned and confirmed. Advantage Arsenal.

Wenger, of course, has a new contract to negotiate and has expressed his desire to remain at the club long term. Back in August, after Arsenal's shambolic opening day defeat at home to Aston Villa, the Frenchman's future in north London looked uncertain. But, backed by arguably his most talented squad since the Invincibles era, he has quickly regained a position of strength, with the portion of discontented fans now back onboard. Slowly but surely, everything seems to be falling into place at the Emirates.

Without question, the title race is wide open and Arsenal are ready to seize their opportunity. Perhaps it is time to believe that this year really could be different for the Gunners.

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