After Chelsea’s 3-0 win against Arsenal on Nov. 29 people were quick to write off Arsenal’s title aspirations this season. Arsene Wenger was more confident, knowingly pointing out that Chelsea will drop points.
Speaking after Chelsea’s defeat at the hands of Manchester City, Wenger said:
"When we lost against Chelsea everybody said 'make Chelsea champions'. I said: 'It's not finished, Chelsea will drop points.'
"Everybody looked at me thinking, 'This guy has completely lost the plot.' One week later, Chelsea lost at Man City—and will lose more games, don't worry."
Little did he know that they would do so in such dramatic fashion, having looked like they were set to march to Premier League glory, Carlo Ancelotti’s side are now struggling to find a win.
Arsenal currently sit nine points behind Chelsea with two games in hand, one of those is away at Liverpool tomorrow afternoon.
The game has now become season defining.
Champions make statements when the going gets tough, and Arsenal need to go to Anfield and collect three points to reinstate their title credentials.
It’s going to be difficult. Arsenal are without a recognised striker for the game and haven’t been as imposing as their rivals away from home. Despite Liverpool’s relapse this season, Anfield is still an intimidating environment.
But Arsenal need to win. The game will tell us a lot about both their character, and their ability to end their trophy drought this season.
Looking ahead to this afternoon’s fixture, you’d say Manchester United are bankers to claim three points against Aston Villa. Not that it will be easy, but Sir Alex Ferguson is a master of getting a result when his rivals slip. (Apparently not!)
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side need to emulate this quality against much tougher opposition.
Win, presuming they also collect three points from their other game in hand, and Arsenal will be right back in the title race—only three points behind Chelsea.
Two horse race? Tomorrow’s result will give us a definitive answer.