Judging by Arsenal's fixtures, March is going to be "the" month of the season that will decide Arsenal's fate this campaign. This is nothing new for everyone at the club, including manager Arsene Wenger and the players, acknowledged this fact prior to the match against Stoke City and on the importance of starting the month on the right note.
As it turned out, it was not to be the case. Arsenal succumbed to a 1-0 loss while and at the same time, falling four points behind the league leaders, and in the eyes of a few, perhaps blowing their chance of winning the Premier League title this season.
The fact that Arsenal have to play Bayern (A), Tottenham(A), Chelsea(A) and Manchester City (H) in the same month has complicated things for Arsenal. The other teams at the top will surely drop points, but unless Arsenal produce some outstanding results, by the end of March they could fall too far behind the other teams to play catch up later.
The Stoke defeat was the last thing they needed heading into this important period because more than anything, I think it would have caused a few players in the Arsenal team itself to question the quality of the team to win trophies and hence negatively affect their belief. I know many Arsenal fans may not agree but I think the international break could not have come at a better time of Arsenal. Usually, international breaks mean knocks and injuries to Arsenal's players and Arsenal fans rarely enjoy this break. But I think it is a good way to take the minds of the players away from the defeat. Hopefully they come back afresh and start to deliver once again.
Unfortunately, everything comes at a price. For those Arsenal hopefuls who are hoping for a repeat of last year's performance at the Allianz Arena, this could sound ridiculous but, Arsenal have to be pragmatic. Yes, Arsenal will have to prioritise. Arsenal will have to field a weaker side at the Allianz arena to keep up with the league leaders in the Premier League and perhaps the FA Cup. Realistically, for me, as I have mentioned previously, the FA Cup is what Arsenal should be looking to get this season.
I'm not saying they are out of the title race. They have to tackle every game as they come, and you never know. Just look at Liverpool. Everyone thought they were out of the title race and fighting for fourth and look where they are now! Arguably, they are actually better placed for the title challenge because this is the only competition they are playing in and they could take advantage of other teams around them playing against each other while they quietly sneak into the top.
As they say, there is still some hope.Arsenal are not completely out of the title race yet. Teams around Arsenal have fixtures against each other as well as some difficult fixtures coming their way and that will surely mean some dropped points. This can be capitalised upon by Arsenal. If only it were as simple as that.
Article by Subesh Bhattarai
Calling all Arsenal fans: Do you believe Arsenal's title hopes are now over? Should Wenger do everything in his power to ensure that the Gunners bring the FA Cup back to the Emirates? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.
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