EPL 2007-2008: Arsenal 1 – Middlesborough 1

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
March 15th, 2008 • 4:27 pm

Let’s not kid ourselves. The Gunners are on a terribly poor run of form. The San Siro performance is looking more and more like a one-off, and the perspective of clinching a title this season is fast receding. Four draws in a row in the league is simply not good enough.

While the 2-2 draw at Birmingham might have been unfortunate, the other three draws achieved since then have been at best an accurate reflection of the quality of the team.

The Gunners were rather fortunate to escape with a point against Aston Villa, and they were fortunate again today to clinch an equalizer. Yes, they should have got an early goal when Adebayor was incorrectly flagged offside, but such errors happen all the time, and you cannot afford to dwell on it. You have to move on and try to create more chances. I am afraid the Gunners created very few real chances today.

Four points out of 12 is certainly not championship form. It’s not even top 10 form. If this continues, the best that Arsenal came hope for is a third-place finish, and even that is not entirely guaranteed.

Given that just over a month ago the team was five points clear at the top, it is a precipitous decline. It is, to be frank, a disaster.

One can only hope that the Gunners have reached the bottom and will now bounce back. But at this point it is looking like they don’t just need to get some kind of result at Stamford Bridge and at Old Trafford. They need to win—both games. Then maybe they have a chance. If not, I am afraid that all these weeks spent at the top will count for nothing.

The only marginally good news today was that Manchester United did not play very well either. The big difference, however, is that they did get the three points, and it’s the result that counts. Yes, Arsenal can still win it, but they’ve given themselves a mountain to climb, and there is little doubt that Manchester United are firmly in the position of favourites. The quality of their performance today will quickly be forgotten, and they’ll thoroughly enjoy their return to the top of the league, which they’ll most probably confirm with a win against Bolton in the mid-week fixture.

It’s not like Arsenal can count on the Champions’ League to salvage their season either. It’s a cup competition, and the draw is not exactly favourable to the Gunners…

It’s still too early to draw conclusions as to “what went wrong,” but this is a team that appears to have lost its edge, through a combination of injuries, fatigue, and lack of focus. It’s still a very good team, of course, but only a few weeks ago there were still very high hopes for them, and now… it looks they will need to rebuild not just the confidence of the fans, but their own. Can they do it? I hope so, but there is good reason to be doubtful. This is a team that is still too inconsistent to be able to challenge for a title.

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.