Monday, 25 January 2016

Arsenal's Title Hopes Still Intact

The defeat at home to Chelsea on Sunday was a blow to Arsenal, but it certainly wasn't a fatal blow to their Premier League title hopes. A win would have put them back on top of the table, level on points with Leicester and more crucially three points ahead of City. With 15 games left to play for each team there's certainly an awful lot more football to play and a lot of points to be won and lost too.

The most worrying thing for Arsenal is their current run of form with only two points from their last three games. They have got to play on Sunday afternoon for each of those games knowing how City had done before they played and they failed to press home any advantage on each occasion. Admittedly they were tough games, but the two point return from them definitely wasn't that of potential champions.

For the second time this season a game against Chelsea was ruined by a red card for an Arsenal player and Chelsea went on to beat them. I was far from impressed by Chelsea's performance, but Arsenal weren't good at all either despite working very hard. If they're going to go the distance they need to improve and very quickly too.

On the plus side Alexis Sanchez made his return from injury as a sub and others look set to follow him shortly. When Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla first got injured the team seemed to cope well enough without them, but they have struggled for the last few games. They're struggling badly in midfield and the return of Coquelin can't come quickly enough, but unfortunately Cazorla has a bit to go before we see him again.

Arsene Wenger has had very few options available to him for the last couple of months, but those options are increasing now. It doesn't look like he will add any more players before the transfer window closes despite the squad still being short of a striker. The players who have struggled recently will still be called upon in the main to get the job done and they need to find some form quickly.

Arsenal managed to finish third last season, but they never really managed to challenge for the title. They did better against the rest of the title contenders than they had done in a while, but they dropped too many points against the teams below them in the rest of the top half of the table. It's a pattern they're following again this season and one they need to change quickly.

As it stands they have 10 points from four games against the rest of the top five, but only six points from six games against the next four teams. It's difficult to explain why they have done so well against the teams right up there and have struggled against the teams below them. It could be a lack of focus in those games in comparison to games against the top five or maybe it could be that the teams at the top of the table are more prepared to play a style which is more suited to Arsenal. 

For whatever reason it is they need to sort it out quickly. They have a cup game against Burnley this weekend, but they follow it up with a home game against resurgent Southampton and that's the type of game they need to win, but have struggled in this season. They have a busy and very tough schedule coming up with Barcelona on the horizon twice as well as Leicester and United in the league.

As it stands Leicester lead the way even if the common consensus is they won't last the pace. They are out of all cup competitions though and can concentrate on the league while Arsenal try to challenge on three fronts and City on four. City only lead Arsenal on goal difference, but they have their own troubles and still haven't won back to back league games in over three months. I'm not convinced by either of them and I think the league is still there for Arsenal to take.

The thing is Arsenal are far from convincing too and the title is there for any team to take if they can put a good run together. I just hope the players returning from injury can add the impetus that the team needs to change their fortunes. It's still the best chance they have had to win the league in 12 years and they need to grab that chance with both hands.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Of course Arsenal are still in the fight. The problem is most managers know how Arsenal play.
    Wenger likes to play with ahdl . If you want to play this tactic your last defenders must bespeedy and can backtrack quickly. The big German is not thedefender for this type of game.
    Believe me if Arsenal cant get going,there will be calls for the FG to go.
    There are many high caliber and younger candidates beside one Guardiola.