Just as he would have done if Arsenal had beaten Tottenham in the north London derby yesterday, Arsene Wenger has moved to pour water on any panic or overreaction to where the result has left Arsenal, reminding us all that there is a long way to go and that it is still very tight at the top.
Arsenal could well have found ourselves on top of the Premier League table over the current international break but due to the good performances and results of Chelsea and Liverpool combined with us being held to a draw we have actually slipped back into fourth place, and in fact we are fourth favourites at 13/2 in the Football Betting Odds as well.
We are still level with the favourites Man City on points, though, with only two points of goal difference between us and that is a bonus as we expected them to beat Middlesborough. We also expected Liverpool (11/4) and Chelsea (3/1) to win their games and Man United to win theirs, while a derby match is always a tough one, so are we really so surprised at what happened this weekend?
In his post match interview on the Arsenal website the Frenchman was also asked about whether the fact that the two big clubs not involved in the Champions League or Europa League are leading the race at this point means that their lack of midweek matches gives them an advantage.
He replied, “I don’t know. It’s a bit easier to prepare for the games because you do not have the intensity of a Champions League game, but if you ask them, both would like to play in there so you cannot complain about that. There’s a little physical advantage, for sure, when you play after the European weeks, but you have to live with that and I wouldn’t say that it is an excuse. Even if we are in front, it’s a small difference after 11 games – it’s very tight.”
Even if there is an advantage to not playing in Europe, which there may well be, we only have two group games left and our EPL games after those are against Bournemouth and Stoke City, both at home, so how do you see the title race going over the next two months?