If it was not for the incredible bonus of still being in the FA-cup, with a great chance to win it this time round, we would feel quite deflated right now. Having been top of the league for so long, it looks like we have to battle it out for fourth place once more; and our game against the Toffees this weekend will be another game of the season event.
For me and many other Gooners, it is this annual déjà-vu experience that is so frustrating: the realisation that we once again are not able to push through to the next level – that feeling that we are standing still. Whether we win the FA-cup or not, deep down we know that we are still short of breaking into the very top of national and international football. As such, it constantly feels we are not making much, if any, progress.
This, however, does not take away the importance of winning the FA cup this season. For all the young guys in this team it is just the tonic they need. I want the likes of Ramsey, Gibbs, Ox, Wilshere (hopefully), Jenkinson, Szczesny, and one or two others who form our long-term future, to experience winning something; and they will not get a better opportunity to do so.
The optimists – often also Wenger-loyalists – point towards key injuries and/or the fact that transition takes time. The doomers point towards lack of tactical qualities of the manager, or lack of player purchases and/or lack of investments – having ‘real balls’ – by our major shareholder. I said last season that I would give Wenger one more season to start making real progress, and will leave it till the end of the season to pull my conclusions.
Looking at our remaining six games, they are all winnable; and if we beat Everton this weekend it might well spur us on to get 18 out 18, which would leave us with 82 points at the end of the season. Now, where would that leave us?
Remaining games of current top four:
Arsenal: West Ham, Newcastle United and West Brom at home; Everton, Hull, Norwich away.
Liverpool: Man City, Chelsea and Newcastle United at home, West Ham, Norwich, Crystal Palace away.
Chelsea: Stoke, Sunderland, Norwich at home; Swansea, Liverpool and Cardiff away.
Man City: Southampton, Sunderland, West Brom, West Ham and Aston Villa at home; Liverpool, Crystal Palace, Everton away.
Current League table:
Liverpool: Played 32, 71 points (GD 49)
Chelsea: Played 32, 69 points (GD 38)
Man City: Played 30, 67 points (GD 67)
Arsenal: Played 32, 64 points (GD 19)
Everton: Played 31, 60 points (GD 18)
Liverpool are on a role, but I predict it will come to an end soon. I can see them drop points in at least four of their remaining six games and we might well still catch up with them.
The Chavs have the easiest run-in of all of our competitors and they remain the favourites to win the league. I really hope they don’t, but I reckon they will. They might drop points against Liverpool but should be able to win the rest…. We need another surprise away loss by the Chavs to catch up with them and let’s hope there will be a couple of Welsh Whirlwinds blowing….
Man City are only three points ahead of us but have two games in hand. With five winnable home games they should be uncatchable for Arsenal, although they could drop a lot of points against the Liverpool clubs and CP. If they were to drop two to four points at home, we could still catch up with them, but let’s face it, this is highly unlikely.
So, in fairness, the PL title is a battle between the current top-three, and unless all three slip up disproportionately we will not win the league, even if we were to win all six remaining games. However, there is still every incentive to try and win each and every game, both to secure a top-four finish and see whether we can still finish third or even higher.
Let’s continue to OGAAT and finish as strong as possible: fight for every point till the end.
Just for fun, a few questions for debate:
Who will win the league and why?
Other than Arsenal, who would you like to win the league and why?
What will be the top-five at the end of the season?
What was, according to you, an acceptable finish for Arsenal at the start of the season?
What is an acceptable finish for Arsenal as things stand now?
Do you feel the club has made progress this season and why?
Written by: TotalArsenal.