Chelsea are presently leading the chasing pack with six points and it seems a long time now when they lost back-to-back league games in September, and rumors were flying around that Antonio Conte’s job was on the line. A 2-2 draw away to Swansea preceded a 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool and then a first half chastening at the hands of Arsenal culminated in a 3-0 defeat. Cue the crisis talk at Cobhams but some tactical tweak from Antonio Conte has got Chelsea on a winning roll – 11 to be exact – and looking odds on title favorites by Christmas.
Now it is Arsenal who are facing their own test and they must rise up to the challenge. Two defeats in one week has set the alarms sounding in their fan-base. The Gunners were top of the table last Sunday morning but now find themselves nine points adrift of top spot and just one and four points adrift of Tottenham and Manchester United behind them.
Arsene Wenger is being questioned just like Antonio Conte was a few months ago. The Frenchman definitely isn’t new to the criticisms. History will tell you he has never finished outside of the top four spots because he’s a top manager. But with the arrival of young managers like Conte, Klopp and Guardiola, there’s a school of thought that Wenger could finally be find out this season. This alone should motivate the 67-year old to rally his troops to get their season back on track starting with the home game against West Brom on boxing day.
Mesut Ozil has come in for most of the criticisms due to his performances in the defeats to Everton and Manchester City – and rightly so. His part in Everton’s winner and laughable pressing at the Etihad would probably have gone unnoticed or noticed but with far less outcry if he wasn’t in the middle of contract negotiations and asking for some astronomical wages. It’s probably high time Ozil puts the contract issues on pause and concentrate on earning his current wages.
However, Ozil alone can’t do it on his own, the whole Arsenal squad must be ready to turn their week of dejection around. Until the defeat at Everton, they were unbeaten in the league since the opening day defeat to Liverpool. That means they were doing something right and they have to get back to that formula.
Chelsea have shown that it is possible to come back from back-to-back defeats and win 11 on the trot. Two months from now, maybe Arsenal would be top of the league on the back of a winning run of their own. If that happens, remember you read it here first.
Article written by Ariyo Ose, follow him on Twitter – @Osesax