The congested Christmas schedule has been tough for Arsenal with four draws out of our last six games culminating in the controversial last-minute penalty given to West Brom yesterday. The points dropped mean we are failing to catch all our Top Four rivals and now sit 3 points below Liverpool in Fourth place while Chelsea have leapfrogged Man United into second place howbeit temporsrily as Red Devils put Sam Allardyce’s Everton to the sword at Goodison Park..
Arsenal could not have picked a worse time to face Antonio Conte’s side, who easily beat a ruderless Stoke City side 5-0 three days ago while resting Eden Hazard, and who have only conceded one goal in their last 5 League games as they moved up to be one of Man City’s closest challengers albeit 14 points behind Pep Guardiola’s side.
Another reason to be fearful is Arsenal’s escalating injury problems. On Sunday, Saed Kolasinac had to be replaced with an ankle problem in the first half, and then Laurent Koscielny limped off the field in the second. Wenger also revealed afterwards that Mesut Ozil had missed the game with a knee injury and may not be able to face Chelsea. Add this to Nacho Monreal, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud being in the treatment room already and half of the first team will be missing on Wednesday.
The Gunners that did play on New Year’s Eve are only going to have a couple more days to recover for the game, and even while Wenger was ranting about Mike Dean, he also remembered that Chelsea have an another advantage. “There are two things that are not normal in the Premier League, the schedule and the referees. Maybe we haven’t played well enough, that is down for you to judge, but with those two things you cannot have West Brom with five days to prepare while we have three.
“I am ready to play every day as long as our opponent has had the same recovery time over Christmas, it’s not normal. We have the same problem against Chelsea, they played yesterday, we played today. They have one day more.”
Liverpool and Man United both played yesterday, while Tottenham can go 2 points ahead of the North London club in 5th if they beat Swansea on Tuesday. If they all pick up points then the pressure will really be on Wenger when we face Chelsea at the Emirates on Wednesday evening…