Everton are on a very good run at the moment and have won their last five games in a row while Arsenal have only picked up five points in their last five games. Everton have only lost once at home in 15 league games and both Chelsea and Liverpool have gone to their ground and failed to win. On the face of it Arsenal have a tough task ahead of them, but they don't have to go to Everton and win.
With six games to go this season Arsenal could potentially finish with as many as 82 points which would be their highest tally since they were runners up in 2005. Of course they would have to win all six of their games to finish on 82 points and that trip to Everton should be the toughest of those games. Even a draw with Everton and five victories would see them finish on 80 points and that's a very good points haul.
It would be strange to see a team finish with 82 or 80 points and only come in fourth, but that's a very likely scenario for Arsenal. They are more than capable of winning their remaining games and even if the worst were to happen and they lost to Everton I have no doubt that winning their other five games would guarantee a top four finish. Everton are the team with the tougher run in with both Manchester clubs to visit them before the season is over.
For me it's crucial for Arsenal to get some of their injured players back into the squad and hopefully Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil will back for the FA Cup semi final or just after it. The quality those two players bring to the team can't be overestimated and their returns would be a huge boost for the run in. There's still a very real possibility of a trophy for Arsenal this season and those two players could have a big part to play if they're going to win the FA Cup.
There are still a few people who think Arsenal can win the league, but I just can't see the three teams above them all dropping enough points to let Arsenal back in. The big defeats away to all of those teams are seen as the big disappointments in Arsenal's season and the recent heavy defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea have more or less ruled them out of the title race. The funny thing is that Arsenal could still be fighting for the league if they hadn't let points slip to other teams in their last 10 games.
They drew away to Southampton and at home to Swansea after leading both of those games and could quite easily have taken a point at Stoke too. If they had five more points now they would be right up there with the leaders and pushing to win the league despite conceding 17 goals away to the current top three. Football can be a game of fine margins and the points dropped in those games could have made a real difference.
Of course you can look back at the end of the season and point out all the points dropped that maybe shouldn't have been dropped. Equally though there are always points that were gained which might not have been and other teams will feel they might have done better against Arsenal too. Arsenal have been very good at beating the teams below them in the league this season and have only lost three games to teams below them in the table.
Despite losing badly away to the three teams above them Arsenal took five points at home to those three teams. As it stands Liverpool have only taken three points from four games against the rest of the top four and lost away to all of them. The real winners in a mini league of the top four are Chelsea who have 13 points in their five games so far. Their five away defeats to teams below them in the league look like they might have put paid to their title chances this season though.
At the start of the season I would have been very happy to see Arsenal finish on 80 points and to win the FA Cup as well. They're both realistic targets with six league games to go and an FA Cup semi final coming up very shortly too. Hopes were very high when Arsenal led the league for so long and rightly so, but realistically once the injuries kicked Arsenal's lack of depth put paid to their chances.
The season isn't over though and there's still a lot to play for as we head into April. Hopefully it can end on a high after the recent lows and the sight of the team lifting the FA Cup would be a great one ahead of a summer where there has to be a lot of action in the transfer market.
That's it for today.
See you tomorrow.