Arsenal’s own worst enemy? Themselves. That’s what Olivier Giroud said in an interview, and I’ve got to agree with that. After an important and decisive set of games which included tricky fixtures against Leicester City and Manchester United, the Gunners are found in an extremely difficult position in the title race.
One of the biggest problems in the current campaign is failing to capitalise when rivals stumble: it’s thought-provoking that in six opportunities, the Foxes dropped points, Arsenal did the same – or that the only team in the league who could beat them twice, couldn’t get three points in winnable games against Southampton & Swansea at home and away to arguably the worst Manchester United team in years. When you are chasing the title, you have to beat the “smaller” teams and that has not been the case. When Arsenal were looking for a good run of consistency, matches like West Brom (a), Norwich (a), Southampton (h, a) and Swansea (h) are the ones which you must not let it lie, even though you have beaten Manchester clubs at home.
Twitter: PERSONAL RECORD – Mesut Özil has provided 18 League assists this season; the best tally he has ever managed in a single season. (@MesutOzilStats)
In February, Mesut Özil was named once again (for the fourth time this season) as Arsenal’s Player of the Month. In fact, he’s been one of the few who has stepped up in the big stages and he’s seriously dragged the team to a title-race this term, but without support – Alexis Sánchez, Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud have been subpar in recent weeks – no player in the world can win silverware alone. Take examples of the last few games: against Southampton, Özil created 10 goal scoring chances (more than any other player has in a single PL game this season); against Bournemouth away he scored the first of Gunners’ goal; he also assisted Danny Welbeck’s winner in the 94th minutes against Leicester. However, the match which really drew attention was against the Red Devils at Old Trafford, where Louis van Gaal fielded a team with some youngsters plus others of considerable lower quality compared to Arsenè Wenger’s side but players were completely apathetic and it seemed they weren’t caring about the result. Mesut Özil, however, scored once and assisted another to give some sort of hope, but it wasn’t quite enough.
This Premier League season is unpredictable and you could say twists can happen, but at this point, a miracle is needed to win the trophy. Arsenal have Everton, West Ham, Sunderland and Manchester City to go to, they would have to go on a superb run and pray for Leicester City and Tottenham’s collapse to have any chance of league glory.
Özil started February in a frustrating draw at the Emirates Stadium against a stubborn Southampton. The German could have scored two goals but his efforts were saved by Fraser Forster. Still, he managed to create 10 chances; the most any player has created in a single game in the Premier League this campaign.
In the next fixture, he bagged an important goal away at Bournemouth in the Gunners’ 2-0 win. After that appearance, Özil reached 100 chances created in the Premier League during the season – more than any other player created in the WHOLE of last term (Eden Hazard with 99).
A week later, Arsenal hosted Leicester City at home for an essential match. In a dramatic result, Özil delivered a last minute ball for Danny Welbeck to win the game – his 17th league assist (equaling his personal best in a league season). In the UEFA Champions League, despite doing everything within their reach, Arsenal couldn’t stop Barcelona’s force. Back to championship play, the playmaker went on to provide his 18th league assist at Old Trafford vs. Manchester United, coincidentally for Welbeck, breaking his personal best in a campaign. He also got his fifth PL goal this term.