Our Title Challenge Starts Now…

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!

  • pires

    Yes, never give up! Come on you arsenal!!!

  • Sam

    I love the way we’re keeping our collective chin up!
    We need to be at our very best to gain all points in the remaining fixtures, and for Chelski & ManU to drop more than 9 points in 13 games. It’s not likely, but it’s done before.
    As the song goes; Against all odds!

  • Sam

    Is this true?! Quote;

    Arsenal are set to make captain Cesc Fabregas the highest-paid player in the club’s history by offering him a contract worth £30 million, according to The Mirror.

    It is claimed that the Gunners want to tie down the Catalan midfielder on a five-year deal worth £120,000 a week, despite the 22-year-old having three years left on his current terms

  • http://northminsterpcusa.org/blog/?cat=13 The Mad Parson

    Are you smoking crack? Do you really intend for us to believe that we can win eleven games with our present goalkeeping situation? I’m all about keeping the chin up and wearing the colors and singing the chants and so on, but really?

    When one takes into account our flappy, mental ‘keeper and our lack of a striker and our defensive insecurities, it is quite difficult to think we can win silver this season. To say otherwise is to blithely ignore reality, says me. . . .

  • ny

    Arsene …. please put Eboue on LB position.He was the best attacking palyer in the last game.

  • Mehedi

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNxaOVGQioo

    “Keep The Faith” – Mehedi

  • Mehedi

    youtube.com/watch?v=HNxaOVGQioo

    Keep The Faith

  • jeffvip

    sam, i hope wenger did that. he deserve this salary

  • dampatti

    So we lost against Chelsea. This is no fun but we just have to accept it. This is football and in football you can win and you can lose a game.

    In fact all the statistics were against us. So far this season when we lose a game we lose the next one also. We lost in succession against Manchester United and City, we lost against Sunderland and Chelsea and now we lost against again United and Chelsea.

    So if you look at the statistics this season a defeat was on the cards and a possibility.

    We had a very difficult fixture list. If there would have been 7 or 8 weeks between the last two games and we would have lost them then the feeling would be completely different. It not easy to accept defeat and two defeats in a row against other top teams is even more difficult.

    But the fixture list is what it is and now we have after the Liverpool game a very different perspective in fixtures. The others are going to start playing each other and we are going to play mostly lower placed teams.

    More important was the reaction after the previous defeats. After the previous round of defeats we dusted ourselves off, we came out with great determination to set things right. And now it is up to the team to show their reaction. Are we going to hang our head and let it all slip away or are we going to fight for themselves and for the fans ?

    The answer could be found today in the second half. After the defeat last week the last thing the team needed was an early goal against, and that is what we got.

    But we didn’t let our head hang down and we got a very good chance but Arshavin couldn’t take it. And instead of the 1-1 we conceded the second goal on the break. This was a very big blow for the team and some heads went down.

    But in the second half we threw everything we have for the moment at them. Chelsea played like a bottom of the league team in the Emirates. All behind the ball and hoping on a counter to score a goal. And after some time in the second half the heads went up again. Again we had some chances but again we couldn’t take them. But the way we played and pressed was good to see.

    Okay we didn’t score in the game but you could see that the team didn’t gave up and I really think that if we had scored a goal we could have come back.

    I also think that there were some positive notes on individual performances. Clichy looked like he is coming back to the level we have seen in the past years. He was more solid than in the last games and looked better in his game and he also tried for the first time since his comeback some raids like we have seen them so often.

    Diaby was back and looked really good for the first hour. He used his strength and was strong in midfield and in the challenges. After an hour his legs began to let him down and was substituted but he showed he will be a vital player for the rest of the season. Just have to keep him fit please.

    Bendtner came on and although not everything worked out and it was not all gold, his physical presence was felt in the Chelsea defence. But we must not forget he like Clichy, have been out for a very long time this season and need time to get them back to their level. But they are coming back and will get better.

    Now we have played the 2 teams that are in front of us. From now on we have to pick ourselves up and do like we have done after the previous defeats: start winning again and just look at our own game and just win those games.

    If we can start a good run from now till the end of the season and with the determination I saw in the second half, don’t forget we played against one of the top teams in the PL and the world, we largely dominated play.

    We got more possession, we got more shots on goal, we got more corners. Unfortunately the only statistic that will go in the history books is the one we didn’t win… goals scored.

    Sunday’s result was negative but this team isn’t finished yet, whatever some will say, just let them. Wednesday next game, just bring it on.

  • Nick

    I think we can make a serious push. Alongside our game against Liverpool (lets hope for another Arshavin 4 goal game) we will see what Aston Villa does against Man U @ Villa Park. If Villa can take the 3 points we gain on Man U. The way Agbonlahor and Brad Friedel are playing I can see Villa taking them down. I think Everton can give Chelsea a tough fight as well. I can honestly see both CHelsea and Man U losing their games.

    The most important thing for us is to maintain the formation that’s been working for us and the defenders to sure up the back line. I’d like to see Sol put in there to help out. Almunia needs to be sat. I’d honestly prefer Mannone or Fabianski to him right now. Theo & Diaby need to keep improving.

  • Mehedi

    Chamakh has just signed with us.

  • Mehedi

    He will get 60,000 per week

  • Mehedi

    The problem is, will wenger play Chamakh and RVP togather?

    Or will he go for 4-4-2

    Oviously for the next semister!

  • Mehedi

    sorry season

  • Mehedi

    We are the greatest fan on earth

    Even after all of this we still have the full faith in our bloody arsenal.

    feels awsome reading some comments above

  • kodjo

    @ Mehedi what/where is the source of the info that chamakh has signed for the gunners?

  • kodjo

    Yes Dampatti its the goals scored that matters…that is the bottom line…ask any fan. Having said that we still have a good platform to build on…

    others have suggested that until clichy regains confidence eboue should play in that position..which is not a bad idea only that it may have a negative psycological effect on clichy, but then if we are winnng who cares…clichy needs to knuckle down and do his work well.

    my big beef with wenger is the way he set up the team…this was one game that we did not have to go all guns blazing…we could have played on the counter!!!!

    but we move on….better days ahead i hope…

  • Josiah

    Loved the post, everybody keep the faith :)

  • Kuka

    Great post Dev. After a long day, one needs words that would pick us all up.

  • Kuka

    *week

  • kodjo

    any confirmation of the chamakh signing?

  • Will Scott

    Some good news for Arsenal, Jack Wilshere is in the starting line up tonight for Bolton’s game at Citeh. Hopefully he can show the Premiership what he’s made of!

  • vj

    This is the time when champions shine, we need to buckle down and start grinding the points. The title is not over yet. We need to believe in our team and they need to believe in themselves. If they can do that then we could be holding the trophy come the end of the season

  • Gooner Get Ya

    Sport.co.uk is a source saying we have signed Chamakh

  • Mehedi

    For all the gunners

    go to BBC.co.UK and watch wenger’s press conference; He said some awesome things.

  • tom G

    thanks Dev