Arsenal are in diabolical form.
Throughout his Arsenal tenure, Arsene Wenger has been very good at stopping the rot. Whenever we’ve lost a game, or perhaps two in a row, that’s generally as far as it goes.
It’s why we played out a 0-0 draw against Leicester on matchday 2. It was a direct response to the defensive shambles against Liverpool on matchday 1.
Very rarely is a bad run allowed to fester
We’ve lost back-to-back league games three times this season. First away to both Everton and Man City in December, and then home to Watford and away at Chelsea as January turned to February. Finally, away at Liverpool and West Brom.
In the first two circumstances, we returned to winning ways with home ties against West Brom and Hull. In the third, we have a challenging fixture against top four rivals Manchester City to get out of our rut.
With games fast running out, this is approaching something of a must-win match. Lose the game and we’re a distant ten behind albeit with an extra match to play.
However, Arsenal seasons often turn on a knife edge. Think of how our seasons have swivelled in recent years following our infamous ‘heroic failure’ exits from the Champions League.
Pick up the three points on Sunday, and allowing for the game in hand that could leave us just a theoretical point behind. It’s not perfect, but it’s not a disaster either, considering the competition in the league this year.
City aren’t exactly streets ahead
They’ve hired a new manager, widely regarded as one of, if not the best in the world.
That same manager has spent in excess of £170m on new players.
They’ve been inconsistent all season, winning easily at times and shooting themselves in the foot at others.
They exited the Champions League at the “disgraceful” round of 16 stage.
And they’re in the semi final of the FA Cup.
Sound like anyone you know?
If you switch the new manager for Arsene Wenger and reduce the transfer kitty somewhat, you could be talking about the same club.
Guardiola is hardly under the same level of scrutiny as the Arsenal boss, yet their records are very similar this season. The wrong result this weekend could see them start to diverge however.
I’m so glad we’ve got David Ospina in goal for such an important game then…
It’s crunch time
This match is a tipping point.
Win, and we’re back in the mix. Lose, and we run the risk of losing touch with the Champions League places.
We currently have the potential to collect the same number of points as Liverpool once we catch up on number of games, but it’s always better to have them on the table rather than stored up through games in hand.
It also feels like crunch time on a more personal note.
Friday nights, when you’re tired and cranky, aren’t always the best time to pen a positive Arsenal column. I’ve struggled through the last few weeks, but something’s got to give.
Either Arsenal start winning or I start moaning, and optimism is usually my middle name.
Sort it out lads.