5 Things Arsenal Must Do to Keep Their Title Challenge on Track
After Manchester City’s defeat to Chelsea at the Etihad, Arsenal are arguably in an even stronger position in the race for the Premier League title. The Gunners now sit two points clear of both teams at the top of the table.
However, there are still 14 games to go. That’s more than enough time for title dreams to crumble. Plus, Arsenal fans have a lingering cause for concern: They have a history of collapsing from contention at this stage in the season.
If they are to finish top of the Premier League, there are five things Arsene Wenger’s team must hope for and aspire toward. Some will be dependent on their own performance, others on the interference of the fates.
Go to the next slide to discover the key components of Arsenal’s continued title challenge.
Keep Olivier Giroud Fit
If Arsenal are to land the Premier League title, the availability of Olivier Giroud will be absolutely crucial.
Giroud has played in 32 of Arsenal’s 36 games in 2013/14. His potential replacements, Nicklas Bendtner and Yaya Sanogo, are often declared inadequate or unfit. Therefore, Giroud is forced into action time and time again. Arsenal’s failure to recruit a striker in the January transfer window cranks up the pressure on Giroud another notch.
Arsenal must wrap Olivier Giroud in cotton wool whenever possible. As soon as the game looks won, they should seek to withdraw him.
Any injury to the Frenchman would significantly reduce Arsenal's chances of lifting the Premier League trophy.
Keep Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny Together
The partnership between Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny is the very foundation of this Arsenal team. Arsene Wenger must keep them together at all costs.
The duo have overseen Arsenal's transformation through defensive chaos to serene solidity. In their last 11 home games, Arsenal have conceded just one goal. It's a truly remarkable record.
The other members of the defensive unit have been outstanding, but none are as irreplaceable as Arsenal's two centre-backs.
Although Thomas Vermaelen is an able deputy, he does not share the telepathic understanding that Mertesacker and Koscielny seem to have. It is absolutely vital that this partnership remains intact.
Get Aaron Ramsey Back
In the early part of the season, Aaron Ramsey was the front-runner for the PFA Player of the Year Award.
Ramsey's troublesome thigh injury and the form of Luis Suarez have seen the Welshman fall behind in that particular race, but he could end the season with an even more important prize: the Premier League title.
When Ramsey returns in March, he should be well-rested and primed to play an important role in Arsenal's run-in. His all-action midfield performances will we warmly welcomed back by the Arsenal fans.
Beat the Big Teams
So far this season, Arsenal have failed to beat Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. If the Gunners are to end the campaign at the top of the pile, one suspects that will have to change.
Over the coming weeks, Arsenal face many of their major rivals in a daunting fixture list. If they can triumph over some of their closest adversaries, it will be a huge boost to their title chances.
Just Keep Going
The truth is, there's very little Arsenal need to change in order to win the league. They simply need to keep going.
No Premier League side accumulated more points in the calendar year of 2013. Arsenal are the most consistent team around.
Retaining that kind of form is not easy, but this team seems to have the discipline and the drive to manage it.
If Arsenal can continue their form to date, their challenge for the Premier League title would certainly continue. What's more, it would take something very special to stop them from winning it.