Arsenal are now as short as 9/4 in bwin’s Premier League outright winner odds after opening up a five-point lead prior to the World Cup break.
The Gunners signed off with a 2-0 win at Wolves, where Martin Odegaard bagged both goals, to reach 37 points from 14 matches.
“We have to come back even stronger and better, but at the moment, it’s looking good,” Odegaard told the club’s official website.
“It’s a good way to go into the break. We said before the game we wanted to finish strongly and we wanted to bring this good feeling into the break and we did that.
“We talked about it before the game and we talked about it at half-time – it’s difficult to play against these teams with five at the back.
“We had to stay patient. I think we did, and in the end, we got the goals.”
More sterner tests will lie ahead rolling on into 2023, but that will not stop Arsenal fans allowing themselves to dream that it could just turn into a vintage year.
Second-placed Manchester City remain favourites to complete a hat-trick of title triumphs but are out to 4/9 after losing 2-1 at home to Brentford.
Phil Foden cancelled out Ivan Toney’s early opener on the stroke of half-time, but Toney struck again deep into stoppage time.
“Sometimes it is difficult to have an explanation,” said midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. “I don’t know, there is no excuse.
“It is always tough to analyse, especially when you feel like you were not there and you were sloppy with the balls and easy passes.
“We lost possession quite easily and then this transmits to the goals we conceded. It was way too easy from our point of view to concede two goals. Unfortunately, they punished us.
“We couldn’t do it well enough today and it is so unnecessary and so disappointing.”
Manager Pep Guardiola added: “Now we will be a little bit behind but it is what it is. The second part of the season will dictate how we are and if we can do it.”
Magpies remain surprise package
Newcastle can enjoy the lay-off lying in third, seven points off the summit, after beating Chelsea 1-0 at St James’ Park.
Joe Willock’s 67th-minute strike proved decisive and the Magpies are 33/1 in bwin’s Premier League outright winner odds.
Eddie Howe said: “I’m excited by what can be, while respecting the quality of the league.”
Meanwhile, Blues boss Graham Potter faces more questions about the direction of his side following three successive league defeats and five without a win.
Chelsea slipped down to eighth, 16 points behind Arsenal, and are out to 200/1 to finish top.
Tottenham shaded a seven-goal thriller against Leeds on home turf and are eight points off the pace in fourth.
Spurs trailed three times but a late double from Rodrigo Bentancur helped them to prevail 4-3 and they are 50/1 here.
Antonio Conte commented: “My hope is to have all the players available for the second part of the season and then we’ll see, but for sure there is a great desire to continue to improve our path.”
Manchester United are three points further back in fifth and quoted at 50/1 after a dramatic 2-1 victory at Fulham.
Christian Eriksen’s 14th-minute opener was wiped out by Dan James just after the hour-mark, but teenage sensation Alejandro Garnacho grabbed an injury-time winner.
Darwin Nunez netted twice as Liverpool beat Southampton 3-1 and the Reds are 33/1 after that left them 15 points adrift of the Gunners in sixth.
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