Monday, 6 April 2015

A Great Weekend For Arsenal As They Go Second

It's been a great weekend for Arsenal as they won at home to Liveepool on Saturday and then saw City lose to Palace on Sunday. The combination of those results means Arsenal climb above City into second place with only seven league games left to play. They're a point ahead of United and two ahead of City, but crucially they have now opened a nine point gap over fifth placed Liverpool. 

Arsenal's chances of a second place finish are looking very good at the moment, but their chances of catching the leaders Chelsea are still very slim. Not only do Chelsea have a seven point lead, but they also have a game in hand and only need 15 points in their remaining eight games to guarantee first place. The teams meet at the Emirates in a few weeks and Arsenal will need to win the game along with virtually every other game to have an outside chance of catching Chelsea.

The way Arsenal are playing right now it's quite possible that they could win their remaining seven games, but the chances are they will drop some points between now and the end of the season. Arsenal have won 10 of their last 11 league games though and they are the form team in the Premier League at the moment. If they're going to continue that fun they will need to win away to Burnley next Saturday evening and that's no easy task against a hard working and determined Burnley team.

That game will be played the day before Chelsea travel to QPR and United take on City and three points for Arsenal would put some pressure on all three of those teams before they play. Chelsea will be expected to beat struggling QPR, but local derbies can be hard to call and QPR have the chance to climb out of the bottom three before that game when they travel to Villa on Tuesday night. If they feel they have a genuine chance of staying up they might just make things that little bit harder for a Chelsea team who have needed goalkeeping errors in their favour to win their last two games.

The game between United and City is a win, win situation for Arsenal with one or both of them having to drop points. Arsenal won't be playing in the league the following week because of their FA Cup semi final, but it would be great to go into that game knowing they are secure in second place. Even when Arsenal are playing their semi final they can benefit a little with Chelsea playing at home to United in the league that weekend. United's results in their next two games will be very important for Arsenal and could have a big say in their final position in the league.

It's no coincidence that Arsenal are looking so strong at the moment as they have their whole first team squad fit to play for the first time since 2005. After the victory over Liverpool on Saturday there were knocks for both Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny while Wojciech Szczesny missed out too, but it has to be hoped they will all be fit again for Burnley. The strength in depth is a key part in the team's chances at the moment and that strength gives Arsene Wenger the opportunity to make changes without weakening the team.

The game on Saturday went better than I could have wished for as I really thought Liverpool would be a lot harder to beat. They were in it at 0-0, but they fell apart once Arsenal got the first goal and Arsenal managed to follow that goal with two more before the break to kill the game. Arsenal controlled the second half well enough to make sure Liverpool couldn't build up a head of steam even after they pulled a goal back from the penalty spot.

The late fourth goal from Olivier Giroud was richly deserved for his performance on the day and it was also the sixth league game in a row in which he has scored. He has a better goals per minute record in the league this season than Harry Kane, Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero and I'm delighted to say he continues to prove me wrong. It looks like his absence through injury might well have been one of the main reasons why Arsenal struggled earlier in the season. 

The team have now scored 91 goals in their 46 games and it looks like only a matter of time before they hit the 100 goal mark. I've always said a team has to average over two points per game to challenge for the title and Arsenal are now above that average for the first time this season. They have finished lower than second in the last nine seasons, but they have a genuine chance of reversing that trend at the moment. 

There's still a trophy to play for too and Arsenal have to be favourites to lift the FA Cup again on current form. It could still all go wrong this season and Arsenal could end up with nothing, but it looks increasingly like they will continue their current form and give themselves a great chance of winning the cup and finishing second in the league. The league is still a pipe dream, but the longer the team keeps this winning streak going the more likely it is that the dream will have a tiny chance of coming true.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.


  1. The MU/MC game ,hopefully will end in a draw. MC have lost 4 away games on the trot.
    Surley they shd be able to put a stop to this unwanted stat. I wont mind if they beat the rd.
    Btw,Arsenal are firing on ally cylinders. Suerly a cl spot is within grasp unless the gunners
    wobbled as in previous seasons.I feel more confident . I think Wenger has finally realized you cannot be so attack minded. Winning ugly is good.
    Owen has claimed Sterling is better than Ozil.If you compare the two guys now ,our german will win hands down.I think he is an over rated guy and will be out of his depth as the going gets tougher.

  2. I was surprised the gunners passed less in the Pool game and that 's why they scored the
    goals by Bellerin,Giroud and Sanchez.The speed in the final 3rd was pleasing. Previously they would pass all day in that area thereby giving defenders times to regroup.
    Btw,that's how MC lost to CP. Too much overpassing in the final 3rd. hopefully Arsenal
    wont repeat this mistake.Burnley wont be easy meat and will be physical .