At present, Arsenal is sitting with a record of 4 wins, 3 losses and 4 draws with 16 points in the Premier League which is a full 11 points behind league leading Manchester United. At this point, most sports analysts would agree that the team would be a long-shot to take this year’s Premier League title. However, it appears that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is still hopeful that the team can pull off the title despite the fact that they on a run that saw the team win just one game in their last four.
After a 3-3 draw at home against the Fulham over the weekend, Wenger was asked if the team could challenge for the title in the second half of the season. His answer was:
[quote]”Of course, yes why not. We had come through three difficult games, especially the first two. We had to recover from the United game and then we gave it all in Germany.”[/quote]
[quote]”All of us were disappointed not to beat Fulham because we had the chances to do that and in the end we were frustrated, but there were many positives to take from the game. Our performances are not as big a disaster as some people like to portray them and I still have great belief in this team.”[/quote]
A huge problem with the team has been their lack of defence (which actually looked good to start the season). Over the last 4 games alone the team has given up 14 goals (all competitions). Even striker Olivier Giroud has spoken out about the team’s defensive woes. His two goals on Saturday were overshadowed by the team giving up three goals. Giroud stated that:
[quote]”This is not only about the defenders – it is the whole team. We have conceded a lot of goals. If we always concede two or three goals it will be difficult to win, so we have to improve.”[/quote]
While Arsenal feels that they can win the title, their own sports betting site Gunnersgaming.com has them as severe underdogs to do so. The team is currently listed at 54:1 to win the Premier League this year. A few weeks ago, one would have to wonder if those odds were influenced by Manchester United sponsor bwin. Betsson was part of a network that bwin once owned, but they sold their excess poker network to another company. Now, one has to assume that the odds are influenced by reality rather than team rivalry.
Arsenal does indeed have the ability to put on a good defensive showing. The squad put up a spirited contest against league leading Manchester United on November 3rd. The squad just barely took down the Arsenal 2-1 on November 3rd. In addition, Arsenal shutout Queens Park on October 27th so the team can play defence. The question is whether the team can put together a consistent run.
Wenger may have stated it best on Saturday. He said that:
[quote]”You have to defend with more drive, more belief and that’s where we were guilty I feel.”[/quote]
Time is ticking for the Arsenal, and now it is time to see whether Arsenal can arise as a contender or if they will have to begin developing their squad for next season.
Here are some of Arsenal’s stats this season from the Premier League compared to, league leaders, Manchester United:
Arsenal fans – do you agree? Can Arsenal still win it? Leave a comment below.
Stats taken from EPLIndex.com’s Statistical Comparison area – accessible to subscribers only with many more sections and options – subscribe now!