While their rivals Chelsea were struggling in Dortmund, Arsenal flopped in London. Manchester City came to visit in a game that had such great implications for the title. Now, Arsenal fans are dreading the possibility of a great season going to waste.
Arsenal have been one of the stories of the season, with the young squad bringing joy back to the Emirates. A recent run of bad form now threatens to unravel all this magic.
There are reasons for Arsenal fans to be pessimistic about their shot at the title. Their intimidating defense has started to bend, but not break. Combine this with their challengers gaining form, Arsenal will have to dig deep to fend them off.
With a game in hand, it’s entirely possible to see Arsenal lead the Prem again soon. With Jesus coming back from injury, Arsenal will have that needed threat up top. These past few weeks were definitely the hardest spell for the Gunners, as their schedule to end the season eases up.
One of the better title races in recent memory is starting to take shape and neutral fans got to love it. Arsenal fans on the other hand are dreading it.
A spectre looms over the Emirates. A spectre of a devastating collapse after such a promising season.
Arsenal still rank towards the bottom of the league in terms of goals allowed. But they have only kept two clean sheets in the Prem since the restart. At the same time they have allowed 10 goals, one less than they allowed in all matches before the World Cup.
Ramsdale has started to look shaky after a great start to the season. It’s been the same for center back pairing of Gabriel and Saliba, who hasn’t looked the same since the World Cup. The fullback positions have lacked consistency, as players who are not used to those positions have struggled
This is absolutely the worst time for the Gunners to skid. Other top four teams are starting to catch fire and pull away from the rest of the league.
As they showed today, when Manchester City turns up, they are the best team in the league. For much of the new year, they’ve been up and down, but at any moment they can shift gears. They also seem to have a mental hold over Arsenal, as the London club has saved their worst performances for them.
Outside City, both Newcastle and United remain tough opponents who are getting better by the week. Newcastle are the best defensive side in the Prem and are smart enough to know how to get wins with a limited offense. This reinvigorated United side may be missing a true striker, but are technically gifted and hitting their stride.
The warning signs of a collapse are there for Arsenal. At the worst moment, their defense has regressed just as their opponents have gotten better.
There’s just too many good vibes with this Gunners side to doom them. Yes, they struggled during this period, but they have positives to finish the season on.
Especially in the weeks after the new year, Arsenal have desperately missed the presence of Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian suffered a serious injury at the World Cup and has been rehabbing since. Eddie Nketiah deserves a lot of praise for his efforts at replacing Jesus, but he can’t fill the same role as the Brazilian.
Jesus is not Haaland, a machine created to score, he is the connecting piece in a fluid offense. His presence allowed for Ødegaard and Saka to move within the space up top and constantly switch positions. Without him, they just don’t have a striker who can contribute in the build up as well as Jesus.
Without a doubt this January February slate of action has been the hardest Arsenal have faced. Looking ahead, they’ll be thankful they didn’t completely blow it as their schedule begins to ease.
In the next few months, Arsenal will only have two more matches against teams in the top four. Outside of Chelsea and Liverpool, the other teams will likely be a respite from this past month. Brighton and Fulham are no pushovers, so they may want to play spoiler.
One positive to Arsenal exiting other tournaments so early is that they can now focus their full attention on the Prem. Newcastle are in the EFL final against United, while the red devils are still alive in every competition. Most importantly is that City seem to have devoted this whole season to the Champions League and may be willing to sacrifice a title race for European glory.
It’s time for Arsenal fans to look at the positives as the Prem reaches its end. A great attacker will back just as their schedule will lighten up.
For years, Arsenal were the butt of all Prem jokes, a club that existed to make its fans suffer. In one season so much has changed and there is finally happiness back at the Emirates. However, fans will likely spend these next few months chewing on their nails as Arsenal tries to bring glory back home.
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