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With popular faces pulling out of the title race, it looked as though the Premier League was Arsenal’s to lose. Frequently topping the table, Arsenal added substance to the belief that their infamous title drought would cease to exist at the end of the season. However, Arsenal inevitably did an Arsenal and currently sit four wins behind deserving leaders Leicester City, albeit with a game in hand.
The Gunners have mustered a meagre 16 points of the possible 33 since the turn of the season. However, the numbers are quite deceptive as their results have seldom been emblematic of their performance.
The Champions League meetings with Barcelona provide evidence to the claim that Arsenal’s good work only occasionally translates to victories lately. As superficial as it sounds, they might still be embroiled in the Emirates Football Association Cup, Premier League title race or even UEFA Champions League if their attackers finished the umpteen squandered clear-cut chances.
Are Arsenal on their path to redemption?
At Goodison Park on March 19, the London club registered only their second victory in nine games. Though Everton appeared as though their pre-game instruction included words of sympathy for their visitors, Arsenal cut an imposing figure on Merseyside, with the midfield oozing creativity and guile.
Given Arsenal had been suffering undeserving defeats prior to the Everton drubbing, the win would certainly boost their mental strength, which Arsene Wenger has always identified as a crucial factor to win games.
With the win over the Toffees easing the pressure off their shoulders, the men in red and white could now work toward redemption.
How will the new heroes’ form help Arsenal?
Much of Arsenal’s resurgence is down to Wenger’s decision to axe established stars such as Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott in favour of the returning Danny Welbeck and youth player Alex Iwobi.
Welbeck and Iwobi have been offering brilliant movement, intent and supplement to Mesut Ozil’s creativity – three attributes the underperforming Arsenal side were devoid of.
Footballers have developed a tendency to perform to their fullest, if not, over-perform when their starting berths are under threat. With the unlikely heroes usurping the game minutes of once-automatic starters in Giroud and Walcott, the latter two naturally will, or at least, make efforts to up their game.
Besides, in the recent past, Arsenal had been losing their key players to injuries in the final few weeks, but the trend might change this season, with Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Petr Cech all making timely returns, provided they do not face any new setback. In a perfect world, the struggling lads will step up under these circumstances.
Are Arsenal still in the title race?
Sitting 11 points behind the Foxes with only 24 points to fight for, the probability of the Ashburton Club outfit club clinching their 14th top-flight is close to zero.
However, Wenger’s men shall hang on to their slim chance in this topsy-turvy humdinger of a season as Arsenal enjoy the luxury of facing relatively less stellar sides when compared to the fellow title contenders heading into the deciding stages of the season.
Arsenal fans will hope for a miracle akin to that of Leicester.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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