In the summer of 2004 it would have been inconceivable that Arsenal would not have won the Premier League title in the following eight years.

Having won the title at a canter, there were numerous hyperboles being used to describe a team which had remained undefeated for the entire season. Arsenal were labelled the 'Untouchables' and the 'Invincables' by the press. Surely this side would dominate the league for years to come?

That team, which included such Arsenal legends as Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljunberg, was recently voted the greatest side in the history of the Premier League.

Arsenal
Arsenal have not won the league since 2003/04 [Arsenal]

Yet, slowly, over the course of the following seasons the players began to move on to pastures new and there is now not a single player left at the club from that title winning side - the final player, Gael Clichy, leaving just over one year ago.

Over the course of the following eight seasons, Arsenal have never finished outside the top four, but they have never looking like genuine contenders for the title come the final weeks of the season.

However, this year there is no-found confidence amongst the Arsenal faithful. We may only be four games into the new season but this side appears to be different. They have conceded just one league goal - after a rare mistake from the usually reliable Wojciech Szczesny - and have discovered a solidity which provides their attacking talent the chance to express themselves.

Santi Cazorla has been a revelation, while Lukas Podolski is beginning to show glimpses of just why he has been capped more than 100 times by Germany.

There has also been plenty of praise for new assistant manager Steve Bould, whose influence can be best seen in the recovery of Per Mertesacker who suddenly looks more at ease with the pace of the Premier League.

With Olivier Giroud yet to find his feet, there is plenty to be excited about by this Arsenal side. There will be big tests to come and the first of these is when they travel to the Etihad to play reigning champions Manchester City.

Last season the sides met In December with Arsenal some 12 points behind table topping City. In an open game which featured chances for both sides, it was David Silva that proved the difference maker with a scrappy goal.

This year Arsenal have plenty of reasons to be optimistic. In six competitive matches the season, Manchester City have conceded two goals on four occasions. They come in to the game on the back of a 1-1 draw with Stoke and a last minute loss against Real Madrid.

City have looked surprisingly open and Arsenal will hope that their attacking talent can do some damage. With Gervinho demonstrating the form which saw him help Lille win the Ligue 1 title two seasons ago, the Gunners have plenty of options in attack.

There could also be an intriguing battle between two diminutive Spanish midfielders. While Cazorla has looked imperious in the early weeks of the season, Silva has looked worryingly off the pace. If the former Malaga midfielder can win this battle, then Arsenal will go a long way to winning the war.

Victory at the Etihad would be a clear indication that Arsene Wenger's side can contend for the title this season. There is a very long way to go, but perhaps, whisper it softly, Arsenal can win the league.