Sometimes it's hard to write about Arsenal when things are going badly, but that's the time that real fans do their best to get behind the team. In my preview of this season I said that I didn't think Arsenal had quite enough to win the Premier League, but that a challenge in the FA Cup was their most realistic chance of a trophy. I stand by that, but it has to be remembered that Arsenal are only two points off the top of the table.
There has been an awful lot of negativity this week after the defeats to The Spuds and Braga, and quite a lot of it has been directed at Arsene Wenger. It's completely understandable as the manner of those two defeats was very hard to take for Arsenal fans. They were two game that Arsenal could have won, and in my opinion should have won. However, the fact remains that Arsenal lost both games, ans are now open to criticism from all corners.
I have always considered that a minimum return of two points per game is needed to stay in touch in any league, but at the moment Arsenal need to win their next two Premier League games to reach that average. Amazingly the two teams at the top of the table are on that average, and it has kept Arsenal in a relatively good position. The sensible thinking of course would point to both "Manure" and Chelsea having had a poor start to their season, and that they will pick their games up very soon.
Whether that's true about "Manure" or not remains to be seen, but Chelsea won their first six league games, and their return in eight games since then has been only 10 points. In fact they have only three points in their last four league games, and they have scored only one goal in those games as well. They are going to need to pick their form up an awful lot if they are going to defend their league crown.
Before the season started it was widely pointed out that Chelsea had a relatively easy start, and that they shouldn't be judged if they ran away with things early on. That is exactly what happened, and although they have had an injury crisis since then, they look to be in a lot more trouble than Arsenal.
On the other hand " Manure" have been letting in a lot more goals than usual this season, and have been far from their best despite being unbeaten so far in the Premier League. With "Shrek" back in their team they will be hoping that their form will pick up, but until they sort out their defensive problems I think they are still very vulnerable.
It all points to a very open title race, and Arsenal have the players that can make a real difference. So far this season Cesc Fabregas has only played just over half of Arsenal's games, and yet they are still challenging. In those games he has been well below his best most of the time, as he continues to suffer from injury problems caused by playing tournaments for the last three summers in my opinion. He needs a break from the game, but he won't get that until next summer at the earliest, if he's lucky. His latest hamstring injury means that he will be out for two weeks according to the club, but who believes official Arsenal statements on injuries. Hopefully he will be back for the crucial trip to "Manure" on Monday December 13th.
I choose to remain positive for the moment, and hope that the manager can sort out Arsenal's obvious problems. The manner in which the goals were conceded against both The Spuds and Braga leaves a lot to be desired, but it is something that can be worked on at least. Arsenal have coped without Cesc for almost half of their league games this season, and they will cope without him again I am sure.
With Aston Villa to come in the early kick off on Saturday Arsenal have a chance to go back to the top of the table, and put some pressure on the other teams that play after them. We may not have won at their ground in the last two seasons, but it is more than five seasons since Villa beat Arsenal at Villa Park. That's a pretty impressive record against a team who have been consistently in the top six for most of that time. Villa are unbeaten at home so far this season, but Arsenal have the best away record in the Premier League. Records are made to be broken as Arsenal learned on Saturday, and hopefully Arsenal will end Villa's unbeaten home record for the season so far.
That's it for today.
See You Tomorrow.