Arsenal face a must win trip to Everton later today in the Premier League, as they attempt to stay in a Premier League title race that seems to be getting away from them.
The Gunners somehow find themselves 11 points behind league leaders Leicester, who have shown all the qualities the Gunners seem to lack, such as bravery, composure and a will-to-win.
Ingredients missing from the Arsenal team
Arsenal have forever been considered Premier League title challengers, but a decade is a long-time not to have won the top division league title for a club with the history of Arsenal.
Arsenal are always up the top, but the team never quite convinces that they will actually win the trophy. This season was a massive opportunity for the Gunners to end that long wait for a title and instead Arsene Wenger’s side could be looking over their shoulders nervously at the chasing pack later this afternoon.
There is just a bit of bite and grit missing from the current Arsenal team. Some could say that the current squad is too nice. In the days that Arsenal did win the title they had players who were talented, but horrible to play against as well.
It is games like today that Arsenal teams of the past would have rolled their sleeves up, went to Merseyside and come with a result. However, can Arsenal fans really say that they are confident of their team beating the Toffees? I know I would not be if I was a Gunners fan.
Could be a difficult trip for Arsenal
Arsene Wenger’s side have failed to win on their last three trips to Goodison Park in the Premier League and the home side will have their tails-up after a 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over Chelsea last time out.
In young Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku they have a striker in form. The Belgium international has scored 25 times this season in all competitions and will no doubt be a major thorn in the sides of Arsenal’s centre-back pair Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel.
Everton have so much potential in their team, but their home form that has let them down this season and Roberto Martinez’s team are currently languishing 12th in the Premier League table, which most people would say is a poor position for such a talented group of players.
Four home wins all season in the Premier League illustrates just how poor the Toffees have been on home soil. Under David Moyes Goodison Park was a fortress, under Martinez it is more of a day spa with complimentary towels.
Everton do have the potential to defeat Arsenal though and the Gunners will be hoping that this game is a case of after the lord mayor’s show for the Toffees.
Not good for Arsenal
The Gunners are 13/8 favourites to win at Goodison later today, but that is mainly down to the Toffees poor home form and the fact they now have very little to play for in the Premier League this season.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger can try and bat away the criticism all he wants, but the simple truth is that their performances this season have not been good enough. It could even be argued that their performances for the last decade have not been good enough.
Arsenal are a big club in terms of history, finances and reputation on the world stage. Unfortunately the team has not lived-up to any of those in the recent past. Wenger has been quite happy to finish fourth and claim that the team will win the league next season.
Next season never comes and the Gunners fans are left wondering when their team will next win the Premier League title. This season should have been when Arsenal took the bull by the horns.
So many of their previous title rivals are struggling yet Leicester and Tottenham are the top two and Arsenal are struggling to keep pace with the two surprise packages.
This pattern of underachievement will continue until Arsene Wenger leaves the club, as he seems to have made it almost acceptable for his players to think fourth spot is good enough for one of English football’s greatest institutions.
Arsenal are drinking in the last the last chance saloon and I have a feeling that at about 2:45 this afternoon the bar man may just be ringing the bell for last orders. The Gunners fans will just be hoping that their team will not be getting their last rites on their title challenge.
Should Arsenal still be considered title challengers?