5 Arsenal Storylines to Follow as Season’s End Nears
Arsenal: 5 Storylines To Follow As Season's End Nears
The Premier League has seen its fair share of surprises this season, but perhaps none has been more significant than the emergence of Arsenal as a genuine contender to the crown. The Gunners are in the midst of a fantastic run of form that has seen them climb to the top spot of the table at the end of game-week four. It's a position they have relinquished only once since then during game-week 17 after the draw against Chelsea at the Emirates, but they rightly reclaimed it back during the subsequent match against West Ham.
Critics do not seem to favor Arsenal to win the League this season, and no one probably will as Manchester City and Chelsea are close behind and undeniably possess stronger squads overall. But Arsene Wenger’s experience coupled with the Gunners’ consistency might hold key down the stretch.
The League is far from the finish line as 14 crucial games lie ahead intermingled with the FA Cup and the Champions League fixtures. While Arsenal fans are rather unused to seeing their club in a strong position in February for some time now, they need to be optimistic and get behind the team in its quest to end a nine year drought.
Achieving UCL qualification has been the benchmark the club has adhered to since winning its last trophy – the FA Cup, while legendary striker Thierry Henry was still playing and Highbury was called home – but it needs to transcend into another level and win titles or risk falling behind the big guns again.
Here are five storylines to follow about Arsenal as the season heats up and enters the critical phase which might make or break the club's dreams.
5. Outcome Of A Monster February
Arsenal face a tough February ahead with the two matches against Liverpool and one each against out-of-form Manchester United and all-conquering Bayern Munich being the standout fixtures. The club’s fortunes in all the three competitions it is involved in might face significant impact based on the outcomes.
Winning such important games would do a world of good for the confidence of the gifted players who ply their trade at the Emirates.
4. Madness In March
If February was not tough enough, the month of March that Arsenal faces is enough to knock the stuffing out just by a quick look at the list of teams involved. The UCL second leg against Bayern would be followed by games against rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea and Manuel Pellegrini’s City.
Optimistically thinking, maybe such a tough schedule is what Arsenal needs to realize its true potential, and if the club comes out of the month bruised but not beaten there is an excellent chance that at least one title might be Wenger’s for the taking.
3. Aaron Ramsey’s Form After Comeback From Injury
Aaron Ramsey has been the standout player of the club before his exploits were interrupted by an injury and another unfortunate setback while on the brink of completing his recovery.
It would be interesting to see if the player would be able to replicate his form and lead the team towards a famous victory in either of the three major competitions after his much-awaited comeback.
2. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are the heart of the club's defense, and their continued understanding holds the key to the team’s performances under pressure.
If they manage to hold oppositions scoreless they can give the team a great opportunity to let the creative forces conjure key goals.
1. Will They Or Won't They?
Even though the team has been performing at a high level, the fans are not daring to dream about anything substantial and are willing to take it game-by-game. Wenger’s mantra has been the same, and as he guides his team from one hurdle to the other it would be exciting to watch if Arsenal actually succeeds to break the jinx this time around or if this season too fades away into history as another “almost-there-but-not-quite.”