By the time Arsenal kick-off against Crystal Palace today the Premier League table could have a very grim look to it for us Gooners. Not only will Arsenal have dropped to fourth place after the Man City win at Chelsea yesterday, but Leicester City could have stretched their lead over us to 16 points with only 18 still available to us.
So only the most blindly optimistic Arsenal fan would still be holding on to any trace of hope in the EPL trophy coming to the Emirates stadium in May. But with a place in the Champions League for next season still not assured, Arsene Wenger needs to somehow motivate his team.
Of course that place among Europe’s elite clubs is a target for them, but I get the impression from what the Frenchman said in an Arsenal.com report ahead of today’s game that he is setting them a bigger target than that, namely their futures as players of Arsenal Football Club.
After the disappointments of the current campaign and with the club seemingly determined to keep Wenger in charge for at least one more year there is talk of a big shake-up at the club this summer and I think that the next few weeks could have a big say on which players the boss really trusts to give what is required to fight for the title next season.
Wenger said, “The perception is that the league is over. That perception can still have twists and turns until the end of the season.
“Our job is to make sure that we have a go until the last game of the season, until the last minute of the season, forget what other people believe and show that we are capable of dealing with this kind of pressure, as well as showing that our ambition is not artificial but real.
“The only little chance we have is to give absolutely everything in every single game, starting on Sunday against Crystal Palace.
“I believe the quality of our performances recently have been very strong and we want to continue to build on that.
“Of course there’s the short term, and we have to look behind us as well. Everybody will fight like mad to be in a Champions League spot, so we absolutely need a fantastic run until the end of the season.”
But will Wenger’s words and the possible threat of being replaced in the squad get the Arsenal players to perform for the rest of the season?