Prem Title: poor form not enough to knock us out…yet.

February was difficult for Arsenal, to put it mildly, as we staggered through seven matches (we’ll include Stoke for now) with three wins, a draw, and three losses to show for our efforts. Contrast that against the consistent form of Chelsea, who have not lost in the Prem since their own trip to Britannia Stadium on 7 December. They may settle for draws here and there, but it’s hard to argue against that run. Liverpool have been red-hot in the new year, scoring at an alarming rate and racking up wins as well. Their loss to us in the FA Cup is the only black-mark against them. Man City have been similarly hot and now have two games in hand and newly minted status as league cup champions. We might as well give six points for those rescheduled fixtures, both at home, with Sunderland and Aston Villa. Where does this leave Arsenal? It’s hard to make much of a case that we are still in it, but in it we are. For as hot as our rivals have been, we’re still only four points behind Chelsea. With ten matches left and thirty points available, there’s still time to atone for recent profligacies.

This isn’t myopic optimism. We’ve dropped points that we shouldn’t have—but it’s the first time since West Brom back in October that we’ve really been guilty of that. What I’m after here is that, despite our first truly bad stretch of form, one that’s seen us lose twice and draw once (twice if we thrown in Southampton) in the last month, we’re still right in the thick of things. All teams go hot and cold; it just so happens that our cold stretch coincides with our rivals’ hot flashes. If we can rediscover our momentum, we can look for our opponents to drop points of their own here and there—something we could even force to happen because we do face Chelsea and City, while all three face each other in way or another along the way as well. It wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve closed a gap.

Last season saw us lose to Tottenham, leaving us reeling and against the ropes. What happened, though? We finished the season on an unbeaten run.  Arsène reminded reporters of the same when he advised them  to “look at our results in the crucial points of the season and you will be surprised. Somebody says something that is not checked at all and everybody repeats it and it becomes an opinion even if the facts don’t show it. Our end of season has always been very strong.” Of course, last season’s run-in was much more favorable to us with only a visit from Man U standing out as a high-profile challenge.  However, each of our rivals have tricky fixtures of their own to deal with, with dropped points a virtual guarantee for each club. If we can take all the points from the clubs below us, we’d reach 83 points, leaving six points on the table from our trip to Stamford Bridge and Man City’s trip to the Emirates. Could we take four points? Six?

So much depends on the outcomes of these 42 remaining fixtures (10 each for us, Chelsea, and Liverpool, 12 for Man City) that it’s almost impossible to figure out the different permutations. We’ll take a closer look at that when the time is right. My point for now is that hope still breathes and not just as the result of some wishful thinking. This isn’t me saying, merely, “hey, at least we’re not mathematically eliminated.” Mathematically speaking, Sunderland could still finish second in the Prem, and Southampton could still win it. Our chances are much stronger than that. There’s evidence from the past that we can still contend for, and perhaps claim the Prem title. There’s more spirit and skill in the squad this time around, and there are still plenty of points available. We’re going to have to dig in and refuse to lose. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+’://’;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, ‘script’, ‘twitter-wjs’);

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

7 thoughts on “Prem Title: poor form not enough to knock us out…yet.

  1. Anonymous

    What's was the two days break for before the stoke game? I want to know, is it for players to get faded legs?Those season we did well at the end of the league with 10 matches to go, did we had this same runs of matches to be played? With Chelsea, tottenham, man city. If we fail to address our mentality and fight hard on the pitch, am sorrry to say, we would have blown away 4th place at the end. A season that started so promising and over a 40million man with it.. If arsenal accidentally wins the league in my dreams, then the other teams lost it. Same mistake, same tactics, same manager, same Board. Arsenal and the fans just too bigger than all of them!!! I love for Wenger keeps fading every year we go TROPHY-less. Except for Ramsey, walcot, shezny, kolsheny,maybe metersacker, then cazorla if you have to bench Ozil too. The rest should be in the bench next season. Wilshere, arteta,flamini,cham,giroud, and please sell monreal or offload. Get replacement for him and sagna if gone. Arsenals needs a strong, and pacey team next season. Too many average players nor performing week in and week out and most especially big rivals. It hurt to see my team get bitten all the same way.. Still love though… #COYG

  2. Anonymous

    Good blog, Jon. After March our run in gets immeasurably easier and ideally we don't want to be more than 6 points off the pace if we hope to get something out of the league season. There are 30 points left to play for and we need a minimum of 25 to even consider winning the league. At this moment in time 30/30 won't guarantee us the league. Chelsea still have us, Spurs and Liverpool to play and more than 3 points out of those games I fear will crown them champions. We are the midday shadow of a dark horse in this title race at the moment but that's okay with me. If we can get 25+ points out of the remaining games we should finish no lower than 3rd which would be an improvement on last year. If we can win the FA Cup too then that would be sensational. This is still a team in transition. Technically we are in the final year of transition so the “excuses” are almost entirely exhausted but in the main we have competed this season and if we stay within 5 points until the end of the season we can say we competed for the title. And lets be honest here, many people complain about Arsenal not competing and philosophically say “I know we aren't entitled to trophies but the it is the not competing I can't stand. I just want us to be competitive again”. Well we are.

  3. Anonymous

    Did anyone seriously rate our chances in August? Even in September during the Ozil honeymoon, all us had to know that a title-chase would be a long-shot. For us to then gripe about faltering–not yet failing, just faltering–is fickle and short-sighted stuff. Let the media say whatever they say. We've come a long way from scraping by and backing into 4th place. As the saying goes, don't let 'perfect' be the enemy of the good.

  4. Anonymous

    A team in transition is right. Not only are we arguably a year away from true contention, we've had to endure a fair number of injuries to key players, and this has slowed what has arguably been a surprising run at the top. I don't mean to suggest that we're going to win the Prem by any stretch, just that there's still a chance, however slim. We don't quite control our destinies, just as you point out, but we are hardly at the mercy of others, either. It's as if the trophy drought has given people an excuse to be impatient and greedy on one hand and overly pessimistic on the other.


Leave a Reply