Arsenal have gone from being eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table to falling to second place in the space of a month. After setting all sorts of new records at the beginning of the season, Mikel Arteta’s side have failed to win in their last three league games & our stumbling.
However even the best Arsenal team ever, The Invincibles, stumbled along the way. The Arsene Wenger side of 03/04 drew 12 games on their way to their unbeaten season. As I said on social media yesterday… “Everyone falls down, only the best get back up.”
“Everyone falls down, only the best get back up.” pic.twitter.com/KoRBJJOvkR
— now.arsenal (@now_arsenaI) February 15, 2023
There’s no doubt in my mind Arsenal have been the best team in the league this season. I’d even go as far to say Arsenal were the better team last night against Manchester City. The difference was City looked like a team who have been here before as in the second-half they found a way to win. Arsenal are new to these surroundings of being at the top of the mountain, and to stay there they’re going to have to get used to it, and quick.
As the quote says, to be the best Arsenal have to get back up and go again. You’re always going to have setbacks during a season, every team does, it’s how you respond to them setbacks that define you & Arsenal have to respond.
That response has to come this weekend against Aston Villa.
Momentum is a massive part of the game. Football is easy when momentum is on your side. The challenge comes when you stumble & the momentum is no longer there to push you through. That’s where Arsenal find themselves right now, however if there’s one thing I know about a Mikel Arteta team, it’s that they have the character and fight to turn it around. We saw that multiple times last season. This team isn’t going to give up. I can assure you that.
As Arsene Wenger said:
“You go up by the stairs, and down by the lift”
Arsenal weren’t going to win the league by sitting eight points clear until May and anyone who thought that is dreaming. Most of these players have never even finished in the top four, let alone do something that this football club hasn’t been close to doing for nearly 20 years now. They were bound to stumble at some point.
Arsenal were leading the race. They’ve dropped the baton. Now it’s time to get up & go again. With 16 games to go, the race has only just begun. There was no race when Arsenal were eight points clear. You don’t win anything in January.
Now the pressure is on and we will see if Arsenal really do have what it takes to compete with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
The Gunners now sit level on points with City, with a game in hand. It’s not over but Arsenal HAVE TO get back to winning ways and it has to start at Villa Park on Saturday.
Mikel Arteta after the defeat yesterday:
“I have more belief in my players after this match because I see a team that has just matched Manchester City.”
If there’s one thing I’m sure about, it’s the fact that this manager and his players will not give up until the very end.
When I tweeted ‘the dream is over yesterday’, what I really meant was it’s over for now. Arsenal just need to focus on getting back to winning ways, because if it isn’t this weekend then City will be out of sight before they know it and the Gunners will be looking down the table, not up it.
A win at Villa Park could set Arsenal on their way to building up some momentum for the second-half of the season. With 16 games left, it really is a must win game for Mikel Arteta’s side and the boss will know it.
A final message… the title race isn’t over, it’s only just begun, but if Arsenal want it to continue they need to do what got them to the top in the first place. Win & be consistent.