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Arsene Left With No Option, He Has To Prioritise The FA Cup
Arsenal are only four points off the top of the Premier League but our weekend loss to Stoke may well have signalled the beginning of the end of this season’s title challenge.
Liverpool have now overtaken the Gunners by moving into second place. With absolutely nothing to distract them from their Premier League campaign, they are focused and have momentum on their side.
League leaders Chelsea are unbeaten in 13 league games, while Manchester City have just secured their first trophy under Manuel Pellegrini and have the games in hand to go top.
It’s quite possible that Arsenal will finish fourth, despite having lead the Premier League for much of the season. It says much for the public perception that Betfair price Liverpool at 5.9 to win the Premier League, while Arsenal are way out at 24.0.
At least the one thing that seems definite is that St Totteringam’s day will be celebrated as usual. Yet for a season that showed such promise, to fall short in the title race can only be viewed as a disappointment.
Progress has been made this season but it promises to be another summer of difficult questions for Arsene Wenger. Had he bought a striker in January to take the pressure off Olivier Giroud then perhaps you wouldn’t be reading this premature obituary.
Mathieu Flamini is another player of whom too much has been asked. Wenger has ignored the defensive aspect of his midfield for far too long. With Flamini on the bench at the weekend, our midfield of ball-players were outmuscled by a robust Stoke side.
It’s almost nine years since Arsenal last won a trophy and many people put the blame for that squarely at the feet of Wenger. He has yet to sign a new contract with the club and if there is another season without a trophy, it’s reasonable to ask whether he deserves one.
With this in mind Wenger would be wise to take the FA Cup very seriously. A trip to Wembley and a much needed cup would make this season what it deserves to be. A success.
For there have been some major positives at the Emirates this term. Wenger’s faith in Wojciech Szczesny has been repaid and the back four has found solidity. In midfield, Aaron Ramsey has made massive strides, while in attack Giroud has proved that he can cut it in the Premier League.
So it would be a shame if the season ended in negativity rather than triumph. We’ve been handed a tough draw against Everton, but it’s at least at home, where we’ve already knocked Tottenham and Liverpool out of the cup. Should we progress then there is a decent chance of avoiding one of the Premier League top dogs, with only Manchester City left in the competition.
While the title looks a distant dream right now, winning the FA Cup would give this group of players belief that they can achieve further success next season. Just as importantly it would kill Arsenal’s current reputation as chokers and remove the pressure on Wenger and his team.
If Arsene and his boys can beat Everton, then the FA Cup should become our main priority. With the team having done enough to make Champions League qualification a probability, Wenger could potentially afford to rest players in a couple of league games and go all out for cup success.