The New Year began with Arsenal blistering with immense confidence and determination to end their Premier League trophy drought, which began in 2005, and is still persisting. The fans were ardent with the sheer instinct that their club is going to win the most coveted silverware in England. But two months into the year, Arsenal have failed emphatically to emulate the heroics of the first half of the season. The club are just two points adrift of their usual fourth place, but could downfall to it, provided Manchester City win their game in hand.
Arsenal, who were genuine title contenders before this year, have turned themselves into group of players playing with no real hunger, as their fans points out. The most imperative period of their season saw them losing against Barcelona, Manchester United and Swansea, also failing to win against their arch-rivals Tottenham. Meanwhile, the surprise package of this season, Leicester City are firmly stationed in the top of the League, six points safe of Arsenal.
With nine games remaining for the three probable title contenders, it is quite impossible to predict the winner, especially with the insane behaviour of the Premier League this season. But if Arsene Wenger wants to shut out his critics, he has to inject more effervescence and hunger into his demoralized squad.
The intense problems around Arsenal are not only the mediocre team mentality, but also the absence of their midfield magician Santi Cazorla and drop in form of some special players including Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud. Giroud has not scored in last 11 games, and such a poor form was effect in Sanchez, though he scored and saved Arsenal a point in a pulsating North London derby last week.
The team also lost at Emirates Stadium on the first leg of the UEFA Champions League Round-of-16. With a two goal deficit around their neck, it is unlikely for them to turn the tide in their favour against the mighty Catalans at Nou Camp next week. The team is also due to play against Hull City this Tuesday, in the reverse fixture of the fifth round of FA Cup.
Can still Arsene win the Premier League this term? Definitely, yes. Nonetheless, despite a great quantity of luck, what Arsenal need is a collective fire to win games at any cost, a glimpse of which was shown last week against Tottenham. With a man down, and a goal down, Arsenal showed terrific character to save the game, and much more of such is needed if Arsenal wants to lift the trophy in May.
The fellow title runners Leicester City and Tottenham have comparatively tougher fixtures than Arsenal. Tottenham are yet to clash against Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United. They have also a tricky trip to Stoke City waiting for them. Despite these, they have Europa cup matches, which will challenge the fitness of Pochettino’s men.
Leicester will face Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton in the last three games of their campaign. But Arsenal have only one stern test in Premier League, an away game against Manchester City. Their European dreams will most probably be over by next week, which could help them in concentrating on Premier League and defense of their FA Cup.
However, Arsenal will have to show true grit, guts and determination to end their Premier League drought. Arsene Wenger needs to mastermind the strategies which could extract maximum from the players, while keeping them fresh. In this penultimate period, another setback in the form of injury will be the last thing Arsenal wants.