I have to laugh. I just spent 10 minutes ranting at the wife about Arsenal’s bad luck. I had just seen the FA cup draw that said the Gunners will face Man City or Wigan. Oh that is just great, I thought! And to be honest it was what I was expecting. So basically, Arsenal got City which, after Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool confirmed suspicions that we were not going to get a crumb of luck this season.
Samir Nasri may not be the most loved former Arsenal player around, but he still has some close ties to the club, especially with his compatriot and former boss Arsene Wenger. He may have left Arsenal because of the lack of silverware, although a huge increase in wages might have helped as well, but he also claims it was not Wenger’s fault.
The 26-year old has won two major trophies since moving to Manchester City, but he accepts that the Arsenal boss has not had anything like the sort of resources available to Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini. In an ESPN report, he defends Wenger strongly from the recent criticism, like that dished out by the always unpleasant Jose Mourinho.
Well Arsenal fans, we are into the last 10 Premier League games of the season. The Gunners had a fantastic first half of the campaign but have dropped off a bit in recent weeks. We are sitting in third place, four behind current leaders Chelsea and behind second placed Liverpool on goal difference. Man City are behind us but will leapfrog Arsenal if they win their games in hand.
So we are looking up obviously, having a strong finish and putting pressure on our rivals, but at the same time, we are just six points ahead of Tottenham who are our next opponents. Arsenal.com have compiled stats to show how the Gunners tend to do in the last 10 games and it is pretty encouraging.
Arsenal were top of the Premier League for most of the season and saw little movement between clubs in top spot between late October until early February, however since then our tough testing period of games has come and gone and its left the Gunners in a tricky situation. Considering that both Chelsea and Manchester City are major title rivals this season, it may worry you to know that although we are just one point behind Chelsea and two ahead of City, City do have a game in hand, which on current form they are more than likely to win. This means they would go top of the league on their extraordinary goal difference, with Chelsea in second and Arsenal in third.
When we hear about a tough run of games in the media, it always seems to be Arsenal that they are talking about. But that just does not make sense. Apart from the cup competitions, we all have to play the same teams, home and away, so just how much worse is our impending fixture list than our rivals?
Well we do have another tough period coming up, that’s for sure. Four Premier League games in a row against teams currently in the top seven is no picnic, but that is about it and the last five games are the sort we have been winning all season.
Over the last week or two there have been a number of stories in the papers and a lot of speculation that Arsenal were taking a keen interest in the situation of Mario Balotelli in Italy. Whatever the fans think of this, it was thought to be unlikely because of a vow he made not to play for any other Premier League club after leaving Man City.
With his current club AC Milan struggling in Serie A and looking like they will miss out on European football altogether next season, however, the likelihood of Mario looking for another club in the summer is growing. And perhaps the talented but eccentric striker has heard about the interest from the Gunners, because according to an ESPN report he has changed his tune somewhat.
Whereas all the football pundits and so-called experts were predicting another frightful February for Arsenal, the Gunners have got to the end of a testing month still bang in the title race. One point behind lucky league leaders Chelsea, and Man City if they win their game in hand, gives Arsenal a real shout of lifting the Premier League trophy in May.
We haven’t been exactly brilliant this month, but neither have our rivals, so Arsene Wenger is predicting that the champions might not be known until the final day. According to an Arsenal.com report, the Frenchman feels that consistency is the key to becoming champions of England this season. Many people think that the games between the big teams could be decisive and, as Wenger says, all of us have some tough games to come.
Arsenal are still slap bang in the middle of the most tightly fought and exciting Premier League season for a long time, possibly ever. Now Liverpool have joined in the fun, there are still four really good contenders for the title and even the football pundits and bookies are starting to hedge their bets.
Of course, if Arsenal end up finishing in our usual fourth spot, that will not be a great deal of consolation. But after the Gunners had a little wobble recently, I think that Arsenal have as good a chance as anyone for a few reasons. There is a long way to go and I’m sure a bit of luck will come into it, but the Gunners have good reasons to feel that this could be our year.
It seems as if the contract talks between Arsenal and Bacary Sagna, not to mention all the rumours and speculation about his future, have been going on forever. With his contract due to expire at the end of the season, it is still not sorted, but it is looking a lot closer.
One of the main stumbling blocks, apparently, has been the club’s reluctance to offer the French international the length of contract he is after because of his age. Sagna turned 31 on Friday, so the three year extension he was looking for would take him up to being 34. Money has been an issue as well, but it seems that Arsenal have seen sense.
We all know that Jose Mourinho likes a mind game or three. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger really locked horns with the Portuguese coach the first time he was the Chelsea manager and he probably got under Wenger’s skin more than the other way then.
They have been reasonably civil with each other this time around, although maybe the last time was because Mourinho saw Arsenal as the team to fight, just as he has done with Man City and Manuel Pellegrini this season. The City boss has bitten back a little but tried not to get involved in a running argument, but it seems that Wenger fancies a pop.
Last night was another disappointing game for Arsenal against Manchester United. The draw also provided more ammunition for the many doubters who point to the Gunners’ poor recent results against the other big teams as proof that the Premier League title is out of Arsenal’s reach. But is that really true? I would say not.
Even though Manchester United are having a poor season and are languishing down in 7th place, I am still going to include them as a big team, because of the players and the fact that they are reigning champions. Obviously Arsenal have failed to beat them yet again and it was hugely frustrating for Arsenal fans, but it does not leave us in too bad a position.
A few more twists and turns to come in the Premier League! by Ash
As the Premier League season has now passed the halfway point and will soon be entering the final stages of the season, the competition for the coveted Premier League trophy is beginning to heat up. Arsenal last won the competition ten years ago, a season in which we went the entire league campaign unbeaten. Although it’s not something the Gunners, or anybody ever, has been able to replicate, Arsenal have gone to the extent of challenging for the Premier League again, in a run that could go all the way.