Time for change, time for Arsene Wenger to leave Arsenal – but Walcott, Ramsey and Giroud need to go too

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I don’t know an Arsenal without Arsene Wenger, but I would like to meet it.

The reality is that if Arsene Wenger was the manager of any other team in the Premier League, he would have been sacked years ago, never mind after this car crash of a Premier League season.

After the 0-0 draw with Sunderland, it became mathematically impossible for Arsenal to win the league, ending their season. So much for judge me in May, eh Arsene? We didn’t even get that far.

Two FA Cup wins on the bounce looked like they could springboard the club from fourth place mediocrity to mount a REAL title challenge, where we didn’t crumble after Christmas. That went well.

Failure in the Champions League AGAIN in the Round of 16 and cheap knockouts in both cups left the league the only option. SURELY with ALL the big clubs crashing dramatically around us, now was the time. But no. Leicester City or God forbid Tottenham are going to win their first Premier League.

In my book, this was Wenger’s last chance.

“But, but, but, the player’s have let him down…”

Their performances have been shambolic, but when you think about it that makes no sense. Arsene Wenger’s reign of success ended in 2004, followed by the following 12 years (so far) of no league titles and consistently average seasons.

Have the players been letting him down for 12 years? We’ve seen countless changes in the squad throughout those years, so to me that just doesn’t add up.

The axe falls on the managers head. He has become un-defendable. Throughout my teenage years I have said to give him time, with excuses such as the stadium being built and having to sell our top players.

Then it hit me.

I’m now almost 20 and those excuses are complete nonsense now. The stadium was paid off years ago and Wenger’s continual failure in every single transfer window falls on him and him alone.

His team selections become more and more questionable every week and he seems too stubborn to make a sub before the 70th minute. It’s as if he’s sat there repeating “it will work soon” in his head. It won’t, Arsene. Starting Olivier Giroud was never going to work against Sunderland. He hasn’t scored in 19 of his last 20 games.

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How he can claim there are no better options out there than everyone’s favourite French striker Giroud, is quite frankly beyond me. The human lamp post. I’ve seen milk turn quicker.

Aaron Ramsey is getting progressively worse as his career goes on. He’s like a reverse Pirlo. He’s gone from our Lampard to our very own Welsh Xavi (Joe Allen). Except of course that Joe Allen can make a simple pass.

Theo Walcott. I mean, I don’t even know what to say. He gets paid over ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS A WEEK and he’s somehow worse than he was when he joined over ten years ago. His attempt at taking the ball past Kaboul earlier with the goal at his mercy was a disgrace.

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I wouldn’t even start him in his own testimonial.

All three need to be shipped out in the summer, or perhaps given a new lease of life under a new manager.

“A new manager Luke? But there is no one else available to take over from Wenger?!”

Oh yeah because it’s going so well now, would be a massive gamble to risk our prestigious spot at fourth place every year… (sarcasm).

I challenge a manager to do any worse with this crop of actually talented players (when they want to be) to do worse than the top four. We are UNDER performing with Wenger. Inject £200 million pounds into this squad and we could be looking at a team who can actually challenge the biggest teams in Europe.

Of course, it is not that simple, but you know what I mean.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Pellegrini or Simeone at Arsenal, at least they would be a change and would breath some fresh air on the rotting squad.

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The performances of late point to a poor mentality and that comes from the manager. He is where the buck stops, and I’m ready to get off.

There is some talent at the football club (Ozil and Alexis in particular) but they are being undernourished and wasted by a manager who refuses to build a team around them that can be successful domestically and in Europe. It CAN be done!

Mesut Ozil just broke a Premier League record for most chances created in a single season. He also has 18 assists. We have had Ozil in the peak of his career, one of the best footballers on the planet and what do we do? Stick a walking selfie stick in front of him. Frustration doesn’t even cover it.

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What a waste.

We all know what is needed, everyone except for Arsene Wenger of course. A new core. CB, CDM and ST. It is quite literally not rocket science. This is not a secret, I wonder if anyone at Arsenal has actually mentioned to Wenger that we have £200 million in the bank and he should actually spend it.

The answer is, probably not. He’s untouchable at Arsenal and that needs to change.

It is not a risk to change the manager, if we don’t then the club will continue to drift into the abyss of mediocrity.

All of this is nothing new, we have know it for a long time, but the reality is it probably won’t change.

Arsene Wenger will continue to sit on his throne at the club and if he does then the abuse towards him from fans will soon make his position untenable.

Especially if we drop out of the top four this season.

I’ve had enough with the mediocrity. It’s the same story every year and it’s finally time to get a new book.

I have immense respect for Arsene Wenger for what he has done for the club over the years, but he’s now damaging his legacy.

As the saying goes, you either leave a hero or stay long enough to see yourself become the villain.

 

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Alexis Sanchez v Eden Hazard: Who’s the best winger in the Premier League?

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Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard are both world class stars, but who is better? Let’s have a look…

Goals

Alexis Sanchez has bagged 13 league goals this season in what has been a ferocious first season for Arsenal, after his £32 million move last summer. The Chilean has been a goal machine, winning Arsenal games with his brilliance in front of goal. His finishing is outstanding, and Sanchez will be looking to reach the 20 goal mark before the Premier League season has finished.

In comparison, Eden Hazard has also had a good goal scoring season so far, netting 10 times this campaign. The Chelsea star has been forced to play second fiddle in front of goal due to the arrival of Diego Costa, but the Belgian is still on course to reach his tally of 14 from last season.

With Sanchez currently leading Hazard on the goal scoring front (and when also considering that two of Hazard’s goals have come from the penalty spot), the Chilean win’s this category and takes the lead.

Alexis Sanchez 1-0 Eden Hazard.

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Creativity

Creativity is an interesting area, as both are very creative players with great innovation, with their tricks and flicks on show every week. Both players also like to go inside and drop into midfield to probe opposition defences, and do so very successfully, but what do the stats say?

Sanchez has grabbed seven assists so far this season, to Hazard’s six. The Chilean may edge it on assists, but the other statistics are where the Belgian comes into his own.

Part of a very polished and well put together attacking unit, Hazard contributes in more ways than just being on the end of Chelsea’s slick moves. The Chelsea man has completed 65 key passes to Sanchez’s 54, whilst completing almost double the amount of passes (1255 to 737) than Sanchez. Hazard also has interestingly made almost 200 more forward passes than Sanchez this season, displaying his attacking intent. It’s also worth noting that Hazard’s pass completion (88%) is far superior to Sanchez’s (77%).

Sanchez may have more assists, but Hazard is no doubt the more effective, creative player, and therefore equalises.

Alexis Sanchez 1-1 Eden Hazard.

Duels

Both players are involved in countless duels every week. Both players love taking on, and beating their fullback, leaving them on their backsides. It’s a huge part of both their games, but who is better at beating their man?

Alexis Sanchez has completed 83 take-ons at a success rate of 56% so far this season, with his delightful drop of a shoulder. His trademark skill that he embarrasses defenders with every week is sublime. As the ball is running out of play Sanchez slows down and does a step over as he fakes to go one way, drops a shoulder and flicks the ball the opposite way with the outside of his boot, leaving the defender for dead. You all know what I’m talking about.

However, Eden Hazard’s stats are far more impressive. The Belgian loves a drop of the shoulder, with his burst of acceleration giving defenders no chance. Hazard has managed to complete a mammoth 119 take-ons this season at a 63% success rate. Extremely impressive.

The Belgian winger has also suffered the most fouls in the Premier League this season, being upended 75 times to Sanchez’s 52 times, showing himself to be a bigger terror to defences.

Sorry Sanchez, you’re good, but Hazard is better. Hazard takes the lead.

Alexis Sanchez 1-2 Eden Hazard.

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Work rate

This category is more cut and dry.

Alexis Sanchez’s work rate is next to none. He is an animal. There are rumours that he refuses to take rest days and trains anyway, and it’s no surprise, the man works the hardest of any player in the Arsenal team. He has unbelievable stamina and isn’t afraid to get stuck in with the dirty side of the game, committing 34 fouls whilst tracking back this season.

Eden Hazard works harder under Jose Mourinho than he had done in previous years, but the Belgian is no-where near Sanchez in terms of work rate. Sanchez equalises.

Alexis Sanchez 2-2 Eden Hazard.

Importance and versatility

Sanchez is certainly the more important to his team. Arsenal need the Chilean firing on all cylinders if they are to secure a top four place.

However, Hazard is also of huge importance to Chelsea in their hunt for the title. Would Hazard have better stats if he played in a worse team, like Sanchez is? That’s very much up for debate, but it does seem that Sanchez is more of a key player for Arsenal than Hazard is for Chelsea, purely due to the fact Chelsea have more quality players.

Sanchez is also the more versatile player, able to play anywhere in the ‘front four’, on either wing, behind the striker or upfront. He could probably do a job at left-back if you asked him to.

Hazard on the other hand is a left sided midfielder, and not much more. He could no doubt play centrally, but he just doesn’t get the chance.

Unfortunately for Hazard, he does seem to be less important to his team when compared to Sanchez, and with Sanchez’s versatility being far better, the Chilean takes the lead.

Alexis Sanchez 3-2 Eden Hazard.

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So who is better?

Alexis Sanchez has won the comparison here, but no doubt Chelsea fans will have a point to argue. Eden Hazard is a world class star, just as Sanchez is, and comparisons between the two will go on until one of them leaves the Premier League.

One thing is for sure, having them both in one team would be outstanding, with Hazard’s creativity on one wing, and Sanchez’s work rate and goal scoring prowess on the other, defenders would be having nightmares.

Thanks for reading.

Who do you think is better? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @LukeHastings1.

The Premier League’s WORST XI this season

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At the end of another Premier League season filled with great performances, it’s always a bit of fun to look back at the worst performers that have graced the English top division this year. At a time when everyone is choosing their best team team of the year, I’ve chosen 11 players who I believe have performed the poorest this season.

Goalkeeper-

This year, Michel Vorm has had a pretty poor year by the standards he set last season. With only 7 clean sheets in his 24 appearances this year and a goals to save ratio of a minuscule 1.6, he has far from impressed. He has also performed much below par in comparison to the high standard of goalkeeping set by ‘keepers in the bottom half such as by Marshall, Speroni and Mannone (bar the odd error), who have almost single handedly kept their teams in games, something Vorm has failed to do, making errors and ultimately looking uncomfortable between the sticks.

Defenders-

Up first, I’ve gone with Left-Back Patrice Evra who seems to have lost his ability to defend this season. Evra has been part of the leaking Manchester United back line 30 times this season, being out of position too often, getting beaten on the flank and ultimately adding to United’s dramatic demise that has seen David Moyes lose his job.

Now onto another leaking defence belonging to Tottenham, and their centre-half Jan Vertonghen. Vertonghen has been very poor this year, making 3 major defensive errors, all of which led to goals scored by the opposition. After a great first season in the Premier League he has fallen off the pace, performing well under-par for large spells.

Alongside Vertonghen we have Kolo Toure who has sadly become the laughing-stock of the division. His almost laughable performances in his 20 games this year has seen him look a shadow of his former self from his time at Arsenal, making 3 major defensive errors, 2 of which led directly to goals. His highlight of his season being that comical own goal (and his reaction to it) against Fulham. However, Toure may have the last laugh as he looks likely to pick up another Premier League winners medal.

To complete the back-four, I’ve gone with another left-back in the form of Liverpool defender Aly Cissokho. Admittedly, both he and Toure have fallen out of favour at Liverpool mostly due to poor performances, but it really does emphasise how essential the forwards have been this year (most notably the ‘SAS’) for the potential champions. Cissokho’s 20 games this season led TalkSport presenter and former footballer Stan Collymore to describe him as the worst left-back he has ever seen, which sums up the Frenchman perfectly.

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Midfielders-

I’ve gone with a midfield trio, first up being Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole. The central-midfielder is a walking red card, but to give him some credit he has only received his marching orders once this year; however, with 6 yellow cards he still lacks discipline. He’s only scored 1 time this year and got no assists, admittedly this isn’t his role, but a pass accuracy of 82% is poor for a central-midfielder. He also made 2 errors leading directly to goals, adding to his poor season with bottom placed Sunderland.

Alongside Cattermole we’ve got 27 million pound man Marouane Fellaini who in his 18 games this season has far from justified his transfer fee. Fellaini has notched up no goals or assists this year, summing up David Moyes’ tenure as boss at Manchester United, with Fellaini looking a shadow of his former self from his time at Everton.

The final midfielder in my side has to be Ramires. Ramires has become the dirtiest player in the league, stamping on and kicking other players all season, leading to him receiving 8 yellow cards and 1 red in his 30 appearances this term. Antics on the pitch such as the dive against West Brom at Stamford Bridge and poor discipline such as that seen just last weekend against Sunderland (when he struck Sebastian Larsson), have made him one of the most unpopular players in the league.

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Forwards-

Just as I did in midfield, I’ve gone with a striking trio who couldn’t hit a barn door between them. Firstly, we have Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Saying the Dutchman has struggled since his reported 8.5 million move to Norwich would be an understatement, scoring only 1 goal since his arrival in the Summer. His shyness in front of goal has been the biggest issue, only having 32 shots in his 24 appearances this season. Just to put this into perspective, (although an extreme example), top goalscorer Luis Suarez has taken 166 shots in his games so far.

The final two in this team pick themselves. Roberto Soldado struggles to finish his dinner from anywhere other than the penalty spot since joining Spurs, amazingly going 1032 minutes of football during the season (October to March) without scoring a goal from open play. The 26 million pound man has far from lived up to his goalscoring reputation he gained playing in Spain, proving a disappointing signing.

To complete the team (and the bluntest forward trio you will find), we have Fernando Torres who has AGAIN had a disappointing season at Chelsea. No man has been ‘back’ more times than the 50 million pound striker, who has scored a mere 4 league goals this season. This of course frustrating his manager Jose Mourinho who has publicly claimed he has “no strikers”, adding further to Torres’ torment in another failure of a season since joining the blues from Merseyside.

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So that’s my worst XI from this season. You probably agree/disagree with several of my choices and I encourage you to leave a comment (or tweet me @LukeHastings1) to tell me YOUR worst XI from this season or alternatively any changes you would make to my team.

[ Please note that I chose these 11 from players who have played a significant amount of games this season (mostly over 20 games), which is why the likes of Erik Lamela don’t feature. ]

Thank you for reading!

(Source for statistics: Squawka.com)

 

The Title Race: The Four Contenders.

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The Premier League title race is the most open for years, with four teams still in with a real chance of claiming the title. Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool are all right in the title race with only a few points separating the contenders. All of them believe that they can come out on top of what is shaping up to be one of the hardest fought title races in Premier League history. Here’s my analysis of the title contenders and their key men.

Manchester City

Man City must be the favourites to win it this year as they have the strongest and most talented squad in the league. They have three games in hand on the leaders Chelsea, which if they win all of will catapult them up to first place. Man City have struggled slightly defensively this year, with Martin Demichelis looking a real weak link in their back four. However, their fire power has more than made up for this as they have smashed in countless amounts of goals all season. Being almost unbeatable at home helps their cause too, however the same could be said about Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. They brushed aside Hull last weekend despite going down to ten men, showing their determination to win the title this year.

Key man Yaya Toure

City’s midfield powerhouse will be key to their title challenge in the coming weeks. He had racked up 13 goals from midfield so far this season, showing him to be one of the best midfielder’s in the division. Equally important to City’s charge will be Sergio Aguero, as if they can get him fit he has the ability to fire them to glory.

Arsenal

Arsenal’s huge win against rivals Tottenham this weekend fired them right back into the title race. Their challenge had been fading in recent weeks but a big win last weekend means they are right back in the thick of it. Arsenal’s side looks to be a different animal to previous seasons with more fight, hunger and spirit in the squad. For the first time in many years the back four can now be relied upon too, with the central defensive partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny being the cornerstone to Arsenal much improved season this time out. Lack of depth upfront is the real worry though, with Arsenal’s midfield craving a world class striker that they just don’t have. Arsenal have been the experts of brushing aside the ‘lesser’ teams this season; however, have struggled against the bigger sides with heavy defeats against title rivals Man City and Liverpool putting their title credentials into question.

Key man Colin Lewin (Physio)

Arsenal have had horrendous luck with injuries this season, having the highest number of injuries compared to any other club in the Premier League. If the medical department can keep the players fit, whilst also getting key players such as Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere back in time to play a big part in the title race, Arsenal have every chance of coming out victorious at the end of the season.

Chelsea

Chelsea under Jose Mourinho look a real force. Mourinho, whether you love him or hate him, is one of the top managers in the world. His tactical guile, clever mind games and outrageous statements mean that the media’s attention is all on him, meaning any criticism towards his players is deflected. The prime example of this of course being his comments about Chelsea being the ‘little horse’ in the title race, taking all the pressure of his players. The money the club spends on players means that the squad is huge and can really challenge at the top. However, the damaging defeat against Aston Villa last weekend throws their title credentials slightly into doubt, whilst the lack of fire power upfront is a real worry for Mourinho’s men.

Key man– Eden Hazard

The 23 year old wide man has had an outstanding season thus far notching up 13 goals and 7 assists. If he can continue his form, Chelsea have a real chance of lifting the Premier League trophy with him creating and putting away chances week in week out.

Liverpool

Any team with the world class forward partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have a real chance of claiming the Premier League crown. The ‘SAS’ have notched up a mesmerising 43 Premier League goals between them so far, with no indication of them slowing down their form. With Captain Steven Gerrard anchoring the midfield, spraying passes all over the place from his new deeper position, Liverpool have a real chance this year. Their lack of European cup commitments this season has left them with a lot of time to recover whilst rivals have been dealing with gruelling schedules, meaning that their small squad hasn’t been exposed at all so far. A win against Man United at Old Trafford last weekend will only add to their belief that they can go all the way. However, Liverpool’s real weakness appears to be at the back, as they are prone to leaking goals. but with the ‘SAS’ upfront this isn’t an issue as they can outscore most teams.

Key man Luis Suarez

Suarez has been sensational this season scoring 25 goals and picking up 10 assists too. His partnership with Sturridge has been the stuff of dreams for Liverpool fans, who will be delighted they managed to hold on to Suarez last summer, a player who is capable of firing them to the title.

So who will win it?

The title race is really spicing up in a fight that promises to provide one of the tightest and greatest finishes in Premier League history. This season is truly remarkable as I can’t remember the last time four teams were still in with a real chance of winning the title at this late stage of the season.

For me, Man City should come out victorious as long as they capitalise on their games in hand and get Aguero fit and firing. They ultimately have the strongest and most talented squad to pick up points in the critical latter stages of the season as well.

What is for sure is that there will be plenty of twists and turns to come in another exciting Premier League season finale.

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Make sure to leave a comment and let me know who you think (or hope!) will win the title and why, plus feel free to answer the poll below.

Costa? Morata? Berbatov? Who will Arsenal sign this month?

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It’s January transfer window time again, that beautiful time of year filled with rumours sprayed across social media by the ‘ITK’s’, whilst the ‘reliable’ media link just about every player to every club. The truth is, no-one really knows for certain what will happen, which is what makes it so exciting. Hopefully there is another blockbuster finish to the window in store for us, with many top clubs still needing to bring in a player or two.

No team needs a new player more so than Arsenal, who are currently mulling over their striker dilemma. With Theo Walcott unfortunately ruled out for the season, Arsenal having been caught short in the striking department, especially now with Nicklas Bendtner out. There’s no doubt Arsenal are still short up top, so if there’s anything we can be fairly sure of in the turbulence and uncertainty of the January market, it’s that Wenger is on the hunt for a forward. Internally, the options are limited. Lukas Podolski seems to lack the movement to play as a lone striker, and with everyone else out injured (and with even Akpom loaned out), Olivier Giroud is left as the only fit and capable Arsenal striker.

Arsenal’s potential options are limited, especially in a World Cup year. There have of course been several strikers linked to the club, but the fans favourite option (and mine) seems to be Diego Costa. The 25 year old Athletico Madrid man would provide an outstanding long term option to give Giroud more competition upfront. There is no doubt about Costa’s goal scoring ability, impressively scoring 19 goals in 18 games this season in La Liga. With a reported buy-out clause of around 32 million, it seems a no brainer for the Gunners to sign the Spaniard, especially now that Wenger seems to have now found his wallet after the big money signing of Mesut Ozil last summer. However, Costa is very unlikely to want to risk leaving Athletico in a World Cup year when he is in such great form, and he has no need to, as Athletico are having a very successful season sitting 2nd in La Liga joint on points with Barcelona at the top, and an impressive 5 points above Real Madrid. He would also be cup tied for the Champions League, leading me to think that a summer move is more likely.

Alvaro Morata on loan is probably the most reported rumour around at this moment in time; however I have my doubts about how successful he would be at Arsenal on a short term basis. The loan would be for only 6 months, leaving him very little time to settle and to get used to the premier league’s physicality. The 21 year old has had limited game time at Madrid this season, making only 10 La Liga appearances scoring a mere 2 goals. However, 9 of these 10 appearances in the league have been from the bench to be fair to him. Signing him would be a definite gamble, and with a loan fee reported to be around 2 million pounds, I don’t think it’s worth the money or the risk of bringing in a raw and inexperienced forward at such a crucial point in Arsenal’s season.

From the inexperienced, to the very experienced, as the final rumour concerns Arsenal’s potential signing of 33 year old Fulham forward Dimitar Berbatov. I have mixed feelings about this one, as Berbatov has undoubted quality, but is also infamously a very lazy player. His work ethic is much lower than Giroud’s, so it is questionable if he would be able to play as a lone striker in Arsenal’s system not to mention his past history with Spurs. However, his style of play could fit in with Arsenal’s intricate build up, with his skilful flicks and ability to find space. I really think it could go either way, making signing him a risk too, but I guess you don’t win titles without taking a few risks along the way. With his 4 goals in 15 Premier League games this season, the signing of Berbatov would be very underwhelming, but his moments of brilliance could turn around crucial games.

For me, I wouldn’t mind signing Javier Hernandez from Manchester United. He’s quick and a great finisher but doesn’t get much game time at United, so it’s possible he might want to jump their sinking ship. I also haven’t even considered getting ‘The King’ Thierry Henry back on loan, which would be another interesting one!

Let me know who you think Arsenal should sign: Costa? Morata? Berbatov? Hernandez? Henry!? Or perhaps somebody else?

Originally written for: ‘SatinRowZ’- http://satinrowzblog.wordpress.com/

Christmas comes early for the press as Arsenal slip up

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Yes, it’s that time of year again, Arsenal have taken a damaging defeat. Is this the beginning of the end in regards to their season? Well, if you read the papers you would think so, with broken cannons everywhere. “Turmoil” they say, still top of the league, they don’t say.

The red-top papers are loving it. It’s as if they have been waiting for this one damaging defeat, so they can squash any thought of an Arsenal title challenge. Arsenal’s failure always makes a good news story, and the media has latched on to this, exaggerating Mertesacker and Ozil’s ‘bust up’. The Daily Mail ludicrously called it “fighting in the camp”, when in fact the two players are best friends off the pitch and were clearly just frustrated by the loss, but this reaction from the media is not at all surprising.

The fact is Arsenal are two points clear at the top of the table and in a good position heading into the Christmas period. Far from “Turmoil” as the media would suggest. Ludicrously, Match of the Day’s official twitter page (@BBCMOTD) tweeted yesterday, asking “Are Arsenal still in the title race?” They have now deleted this tweet, and rightly so, as I think it is a fair point to say that Arsenal have been the most consistent side in the Premier League this season are currently leading the title race.

Yesterday, after Liverpool’s convincing 5-0 win over Spurs (which was great viewing as an Arsenal fan), a very Liverpool biased Sky Studio (that included the current Liverpool Captain) concluded that Liverpool were title contenders. Bear in mind that this is same team that Arsenal brushed aside 2-0, just a matter of weeks ago. It’s ridiculous how Liverpool are now considered title contenders, but Arsenal are in “turmoil”, especially considering Liverpool were torn apart by Hull a fortnight ago!

Away from the doom and gloom, there were positives from the game against Manchester City at the weekend. City have conceded only 2 goals at home in the league all season, and we managed to net 3 in one game. Another positive is Theo Walcott’s return to the starting XI, adding a new dynamic to the side whilst bagging a brace too. Going forward we were strong, but there is no shying away from the obvious negatives. Missed chances ultimately cost us, as well as the multiple defensive errors leading to the bulk of Man City’s goals. The linesman didn’t help either, but ultimately Man City were worthy winners.

Arguably the biggest worry from the game itself was not the result, but the injury to Laurent Koscielny. The gash on his knee looks like something from a horror film, and could see him out for a little while. The central defensive partnership between Koscielny and Mertasacker has been a pivotal part of the season thus far, and although Thomas Vermaelen’s a very capable replacement, Mertesacker and Koscielny complement each other so well that he will be sorely missed, although it is hoped he will be fit for next week’s game.

Arsenal’s recent form has not been ideal with a draw against a very good Everton side, and of course defeats to Napoli and Manchester City, making next Mondays game against Chelsea a must win to stay top of the league and to keep the title push alive. I feel as if the game against Chelsea could be seasoning defining, which makes it the ideal time for Arsene Wenger to get his first win over a Jose Mourinho managed side.

Another defeat next week and the broken cannons will be out in force once again, so I’m desperately hoping for a positive result to avoid the media’s brutal backlash.

Arsenal CAN win the Premier League, and why Theo Walcott is the key

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The Premier League is wide open this season, with Pundits and Managers claiming that any of the ‘top 6’ could go on to win it. This begs the question, can Arsenal actually win the title?

If you ask the two Alan’s over at Match Of The Day, they will tell you (as they reiterate every week) that Arsenal can’t possibly win it. However, I’m going to tell you why I believe that Arsenal CAN win the Premier League title.

The cracks being shown by Arsenal’s title rivals could be an important part of Arsenals title challenge. The team with the best squad in the league, Man City, are displaying worryingly bad away form while at Chelsea, Mourinho doesn’t seem to know his best team (and lacks a striker), whilst also not starting last years Player of the Season, Juan Mata (for reasons I do not understand). Man United are also understandably showing vulnerability after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, as David Moyes struggles to come to terms with his big new job.

But here lies, in my opinion, the key to Arsenals title challenge, the return of Theo Walcott. What Walcott brings to the Arsenal side is huge, with his pace and ability to get in behind defences being vital to push back the opposition, stretching their defence and midfield enabling Arsenal’s midfield maestros such as Ozil, Wilshere, Ramsey and Cazorla to work their magic, creating countless chances and opportunities to score from. The combination of Ozil-Walcott is something that particularly excites many Arsenal fans including myself, and how powerful this combination could be was shown earlier in the season against Sunderland before Walcott’s injury, where Ozil played some memorising through balls to Walcott, who on another day could, and probably should of bagged a brace.

Of course, I do understand why football fans are so sceptical of Arsenal’s chances, the squad is relatively small compared to the other top teams, and in recent seasons Arsenals inconsistency has been their most annoying trait. However, this year feels different, especially with this great start, the like of which Arsenal fans haven’t seen in many years, whilst the signing of Mesut Ozil has given the whole club a boost, buying a world class player instead of selling one, as has been the case in recent years!

No-one can tell who will come out on top, which is why I think Arsenal CAN, but not necessarily WILL win the title. What is for sure is that this competition bodes well for a more open and exciting title race that the Premier League has sometimes lacked in previous years.