During the holidays, Arsenal appeared well on its way to a fourth Premier League title, and then there was the recent resurgence of Leicester City. This fly in the ointment has many wondering whether the Gunners will have their fun spoiled and finish in third or fourth place yet again. Arsenal was recently leapfrogged by Tottenham Hotspur and currently sits in 4th place, though the club is tied with the Lilywhites on points at 45 a piece. There’s plenty of time for the team to turn things around as they still remain in the title race.
The Gunners suffered an immensely frustrating 0-0 draw against Southampton that allowed them to be supplanted by the Spurs in the tables. However, much of the blame for this result can be placed not on the shoulders of Arsenal but instead the unstoppable performance of keeper Fraser Forster, as noted by Deadspin. The Gunners put up 22 shots with 11 of them on target but alas, Fraser turned into an absolute wall between the sticks.
It’s easy to get angry with Arsenal for giving up its hold on the top spot, but it should be noted that the club has actually overachieved so far this year. This is especially true given the sheer number of injuries the team has dealt with this season. At various points throughout the year, the team has been without many of its marquee, first-team players including Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck, Francis Coquellin, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky, and Jack Wilshere. Rosicky recently returned only to suffer yet another injury in the team’s match against Burnley. Also, there are rumours in Metro that the latest injury very well might have ended the Czech midfielder’s career at the Emirates. Thankfully, Sanchez is back in the saddle and Wilshere should be joining the team soon, which will add some much-needed depth to the middle of the pitch.
The Gunners will need all the help they can get if the team hopes to win its first Premier League title since 2004, as noted by Gambling.com. This is especially true when you consider that the Gunners are still rolling along in both the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup. Fatigue will surely be a factor in the second half of the season. In a way, Leicester has been lucky not to be playing in the added tournaments. The Foxes only have 14 games left to round out the season and have only played 29 total games in all competitions. Compare this to the 34 matches that Arsenal have played with a minimum of another 18 to go (possibly up to 26), and one can quickly see how exhaustion could play a big role in the squad’s campaign.
There’s little reason for Arsenal to panic just yet. The team can definitely find its way back to the top and with even more players set to return from injury, there will be more than a few fresh pairs of legs to help boost the team’s chances. There’s a big battle brewing for the available Champions League spots, and we fully expect an exciting showdown as we near the season’s end.