It’s no secret that Arsenal have been struggling to keep up with the other title contenders this season, but lately things have seemed to go from bad to worse. The 2-1 defeat to Brighton Hove and Albion has sent alarm bells ringing, and the problems at the club are growing by the minute.
The defeat brought up the side’s fourth consecutive loss; something that hasn’t happened at the club for 16 years. That included a home defeat in the Europa League to the little Swedish club FK Ostersunds.
It was also their fourth consecutive loss on the road in the Premier League. One of those matches was away to Tottenham Hotspur, which is a hard place to travel to for any team, but the other three opposition were Brighton, Swansea and Bournemouth, and a club of Arsenal’s stature should be at least taking something away from those games.
In total this season, the Gunners have only taken 13 points from their 15 away matches. It’s the club’s worst record in the competition since the inception of the Premier League, and it’s becoming extremely clear that something is terribly wrong.
For a club that has always been competitive, it’s looking increasingly more likely that the side will not take anything out of this season. Even hopes of a top four finish are all but gone, with the side now 150/1 according to Premier League betting on bet365. After the Brighton defeat, Wenger said that it would be very difficult to make the cut - almost impossible. Adding that they would need two teams above them to collapse and realistically he just couldn’t see that happening.
The manager also suggested that some of the negative play could be attributed to the EFL Cup loss they suffered to Manchester City back in February. Losing a final is always hard on a team’s morale and can often take some time to bounce back from. Arsenal were heavily criticised for the lack of fighting spirit in the 3-0 loss, with City controlling the game from the first whistle.
The decline of Wenger’s ability as a manager has been constantly talked about over the past few seasons, and some of the away fans decided to vent their frustration during the Brighton game. The ‘Wenger Out’ signs were once again displayed, showing that the fans are angry with the club’s decision making and want change within the organisation. However, talking after the match, the Frenchman said he still believed he was the right man for the job, and expressed his desire to be the one who brings the club back to its former glory.
For this season, anyway, it seems their only way of salvaging anything would be to win the Europa League. If they happen to do this, they would qualify for next year’s Champions League and the future would definitely be looking a little brighter.
But as we all know, even though it is Europe’s second tier competition, the opposition is extremely strong and the club will have to produce something special to get their hands on that trophy. Let’s hope for the supporters’ sakes, Wenger still has that magic in him and can turn Arsenal’s latest misfortunes around.