So fellow Gooners, it’s been a tough week for all Arsenal fans and everything and everyone connected to the club. Our loss to Stoke in the FA cup was the first of three losses in four games, that now sees us 9 points behind the leaders Chelsea with a mountain to climb to gain some ground back on the top two. But in reality, our title challenge starts here.
Having played the two teams above us twice this season, no game that we will play this season will be that hard. Yes, Chelsea have been better than us in the two occasions that we’ve played them, but not by incredible margins. Our lack of strikers has been somewhat a feature this season in the big games, and defining – we all know what a fit Robin Van Persie can do for us – last season’s 2-1 win over Chelsea is testimony to that. But we’ve got to where we’ve got to and it’s time to give our title challenge one last push.
The difference in 9 points is 3 wins, and with the different runs in presenting the top teams, when you look at who’s got to play who, suddenly, you can see that glimmer of hope that means that we’re not out of the league title just yet.
We have a massive game against Liverpool tomorrow and a win would put a decent amount of distance from Liverpool onwards and the top three. But apart from tomorrow’s game, we have only Man City and Sp*rs to play who could be tricky – then it’s plain sailing all the way to the end of the season. Looking at the fixtures we have, they are all very much winnable…
Let’s take a look:
- Liverpool (Home)
- Sunderland (Home)
- Stoke City (Away)
- Burnley (Home)
- Hull City (Away)
- West Ham United (Home)
- Birmingham (Away)
- Wolverhampton (Home)
- Tottenham Hotspur (Away)
- Wigan Athletic (Away)
- Manchester City (Home)
- Blackburn Rovers (Away)
- Fulham (Home)
We’ve done it before, under Arsene Wenger, when no-one expected us too and put together 11 wins in a row and taken the title. For the two hard games in the list above, Sp*rs away and Citeh at home, we may even have Robin Van Persie back in the team…
Whilst we’ve got this run in, let’s check out Chelsea’s – they have Everton (away), Man City (home), Man United (away), Liverpool (away), Sp*rs (away) and Villa (home)… games in which they could all drop points, easily – Man United similarly have arguably a harder run in with Villa (away) this weekend, and then Everton (away), Liverpool (home), Chelsea (home), Man City (away) and Sp*rs at home…. so suddenly there is a glimmer of hope that we can get our players back – well, they are nearly back and gaining match practice – and push on.
Theo Walcott is one of those players who is back in the team now and gaining match practice and he is confident, despite the gap, there is more to come from the team:
“We dominated the game, but Chelsea took their chances and you have got to be decisive. We need to learn from that and then push on for the Liverpool game, because if we keep the ball like we did against Chelsea, but create more chances, we can kill anyone. However, everyone just remembers the results, and that is what we have to do – win these games and not lie down in the big matches. We have to believe we are always in the title race, no matter where we are in the league. We would like to have more points than we had from these last few games, but now we just have to get the result against Liverpool. Every Premier League game is hard, and other teams can drop points, but we just need to concentrate on ourselves. If we perform like we did at Chelsea, but take our chances, then we can beat anyone on our day.”
One thing – a small consolation for the defeats we’ve had – but we have played really well throughout the season, and if we can take more of our chances, then there is no reason why we can’t go unbeaten for the rest of the season. If either Chelsea or United had the four games that we just had back to back, they’d lose one or two of them, so we really can’t sit around and sulk. Despite the losses, we have without doubt the ability to beat everything in front of us from now until the end of the season.
And Arsene may just add to the team this summer as he did react to the comments by Maroune Chamakh letting us know that he was keen to add the Moroccan to the
“In life you should achieve your dreams, above all you should try for them. We do like him a lot, but the day we sign him – we will let you know.”
Personally, a la Championship Manager, I thought that if you wanted to sign a player out of contract you’d do on January the 1st – but maybe it’s more complicated than that. Chamakh wants to come to Arsenal, Arsenal want to sign the player, but it’s February and there is no agreement in place. Maybe it’s due to compensation that would have to be offered to Bordeaux, I’m not sure…!
Okay, I’ll leave you with that for the moment, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a Liverpool preview… remember, our title challenge starts tomorrow…
Come on you Gooners!