Are Gunners really title contenders?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was on target against Watford.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems upbeat about Arsenal’s title hopes but can they really pull off an unlikely triumph?

It has been 15 years since the Gunners last lifted the top-flight trophy after an unbeaten season in 2003-2004 and a couple of runner-up spots is the best they can muster since those heady days.

The north Londoners have finished fifth, sixth and fifth in their last three campaigns as Manchester City and Liverpool have emerged as the dominant clubs in English football.

Unai Emery replacing Arsene Wenger did not bring about the desired result as Arsenal find themselves in the Europa League for the third year running.

It has been an encouraging start to the current season, however, with seven points from five games to sit fifth in the standings.

A 3-1 loss away to the Reds was possibly to be expected although a 2-2 draw with fierce rivals Tottenham just before the international break was a shot in the arm.

Aubameyang certainly feels so and, when asked by Sky Sports at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix whether his side could win the title, he replied: “Yeah, hopefully.”

The feeling is that it is more hope than anything else as it seems highly likely that City and Liverpool will battle it out for honours once again, and the rest of the clubs will have a top-four berth as their aim.

That will not be easy for Arsenal but, with Manchester United struggling and Chelsea facing a period of change under Frank Lampard, the time may be as good as ever for Emery’s side to take the next step.

A trip to Vicarage Road is next up to face a Watford side now back under the guidance of Quique Sanchez Flores after Javi Gracia paid the price for the Hornets’ poor start.

Emery may be without midfield pair Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira, who were both injured on international duty and the duo will need to prove their fitness before the weekend.

A game against a struggling Watford side will go a long way to determining if Aubameyang’s words were just pie in the sky or whether they are serious contenders.

The top teams are ruthless in dispatching the so-called lesser sides and three points will be a must if Arsenal are to keep pace with the leaders as, such is the strength of the top two, even one poor result can now all but end a club’s hopes of glory.