Can Arsenal’s squad size maintain its fluidity and flare? Or will Wenger’s men simply gas out?
Year by the year the Premier League gets more and more exciting. Some years are better for others, (Spurs can often have us fans palpitating at key points of the season) this year however, for a fan of football, the league has offered some of its finest moments in history.
To round up some of the highlighted points thus far; Tottenham’s £85 million sale of Bale and loss of AVB has forced the club to win ugly at times, but still sit 5th in the table. The rise of the infamous title contending Liverpool featuring a congealed SAS has struck fear in the big teams this season. Southampton are proving to be heavily invested in the Premier League with no intentions to budge. Manchester United have slumped so quickly nobody’s talking about them. Mourinho’s modest rope-a-dope style attitude keeps trying to cover up the fact that Chelsea are actually a major threat and high in contention for a return victory in the Premier League. Although Man City currently sit in 4th position with 2 games in hand, with the sheer size and quality of their squad, it feels like it’s Pellegrini and City’s title to lose this season or possibility to add to their first trophy. Everton got lost for a few days. Some speculate they walked into a wardrobe on a rainy day, but they found Lukaku and were more convincing against a reviving West Ham. Martinez’s Everton has been ‘one to watch’ this season and still pose threat amongst contention for a top four spot. Fulham’s hole is so deep their fans are going to have to time warp in to the future to see their side rise the ranks of the Premier League table again. And nice guy Alan Pardew seems to be heading in the same direction of Newcastle United, or so Meyler may think. Despite Saturday’s win, the loss of highly rated Cabaye seems to be affecting their fight for a Europa league position. Sam Allardyce is doing what he does best and steering his team well away from relegation, however ‘well a way’ isn’t far at all and he’ll keep his good eye looking over his shoulders. Hull’s inspirational January signings could prove just how pivotal a January signing can be. And Aston Villa worried most of us for the first half of the campaign with Benteke out and losing games they shouldn’t have. However since the turn of the year they have fought well for their manager and fans and deserve their place. Still ten games to go. Unfortunately the remainder of the season cannot be written. And to follow the old cliché, in football anything can happen.
Arsenal’s first defeat against Aston Villa caused an outcry and even featured an amusing rant from an emotional fan on Arsenal TV which had over 8000 hit’s on Youtube, calling out the clubs ambitions and questions over its future. Wenger cunningly responded with the shock “secret signing” of Mesut Ozil, from Real Madrid, a club we’d been heavily involved in business with, and subsequently felt like a nasty stab in the back. Much like a Mafia hit on an affiliates Boss. Arsenal went on to lead in the table relentlessly winning game after game with only Man City and Liverpool in its sights.
Arsenal’s losses to the big clubs of late have slowed down their campaign slightly. Their loss to Stoke on Saturday is starting to feel like their team isn’t quite as big and bad as we’re used to seeing. Arsenal have a very talented first team and to be fair, a nicely congealed Arsenal squad overall. But they lack in size in terms of individual quality. Matching their first eleven player for player, they would match up to any major team in Europe. But at this point of the season, with the knock out stages of the Champions League slotting in amongst their fixtures and playing perhaps the best team in Europe in a few days, fatigue is settling in and injuries to key players are losing them games they should win easily. Is Arsenal’s dazzling one touch football going to be able to keep up the pace that the Premier League requires?
Most Spurs fans will say we’re having an awful season. We’re currently sitting in exactly the same position as last year with 53 points. 2012/13 was a good year for us. In reality, we could and should be having a much better season than we’ve displayed so far. However, we can’t argue with our current league position. The fight for a champion’s league spot has opened more interestingly than we’d all anticipated. Liverpool have displayed dominance within their strike force and look to be challenging for the title pushing Arsenal back to fight for a champions league place. Liverpool currently sit in 2nd place with 59 points and only have the League to worry about. Everton currently have 48 points with a game in hand and host an unconvincing Cardiff City in their next Premier League feature which should secure them 3 points and have them sitting just behind Spurs breathing down our necks. Everton still have to stride through Arsenal first in the F.A Cup semi-final.
March will be a testing month for Spurs. We play an in-form Chelsea away at Stamford Bridge where we will be more than happy to come away with a draw. The following week we feature against Arsenal who will be playing on the back of a Champions League fight against Bayern Munich. Derby games against Arsenal are always testing and with the form they have provided this season, statistics would suggest we would struggle against them. However, Arsenal look tired and depleted and it feels like the perfect time to be playing our return leg in the league against our rivals. A win could rupture they’re chances of title contention and even a Champions League spot. We host Southampton the following week, which will be tough, but if we beat Arsenal, our confidence should lead us to overcome Pochettino’s side at The Lane. The last league fixture of March is against Liverpool at Anfield. Again, like Chelsea, a draw would be a satisfying result for us and perhaps with their troubles at the back and our more secured back line, a stalemate can be realistic. Liverpool’s relentless attacking force however, can punish us.
It would be a good month if we were to take 6 points away. A win against a struggling Arsenal and with the fixtures they have ahead of them can issue a knock-on-effect that could perhaps destroy their chances of a Champion’s League place since the arrival of Wenger. Spurs really need to fly off the blocks relentlessly in the latter stages of the season. The Premier League has had its twists and turns and consequently given us a chance to secure a Champions League place for next season. Everton are a team that could upset us all in North London, with their fixtures slightly easier than the competing top seven teams. Only time will tell.
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