Arsenal's hard edge starting to melt again
Throughout this season, Arsenal have been comfortably ensconced in the top bracket of Premier League teams. Since that seemingly damaging opening-day defeat to Aston Villa, The Gunners have shown a level of grit and consistency that we haven't seen from them in a long time.
The 'new-look' Arsenal's performances and impressive form lead some to believe they were at last capable of mounting a serious assault on the Premier League title, and until recently that looked to be the case. Lately, though, Arsenal have slipped back into old habits and, when we're talking about a team with as little recent silverware as Arsenal, that can't be a good thing.
In their last two away games, they were thumped 5-1 by Liverpool and beaten in quite convincing fashion at Stoke too, even if the scoreline didn't reflect that. They were soft, and were rolled over with ease by two teams that can run, head and tackle. They were too slow in their build-up, making life easy for the opposition, who duly closed down space all over the pitch and intercepted loose passes to get onto the counter attack. More than that, though, they were also outplayed.
Arsenal's mantra for some time now has been that they want to win playing 'the right way'. Unfortunately, some of their performances since the new year have been, well, dull. Not only is their inability to 'grind out' important results still in evidence, their style of play has also not been as electric and as technically superb as we now expect. With the exception of the outstanding team goal they scored against Sunderland in their 4-1 win at the Emirates, there hasn't been an awful lot for Gunners fans to shout about at all.
Arsenal are now looking reliant upon the FA Cup. They are still mathematically well in the title race, but you can't see them beating enough of the teams around them in order to get in front of them. Besides, Man City will have three games in hand on them by tomorrow and you wouldn't put it past them to win all three.
A trophy would breathe new life into a team and a club that is in danger of going stale. They need to win the FA Cup this season, because they are blowing their chance of the title.
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