On Sunday, Arsenal suffered another defeat at the hands of Chelsea. It's hard to fault them for this loss as the game was at Chelsea and Chelsea has yet to lose at home this year. However, the loss was somewhat convincing. Arsenal really only had two good opportunities. One was off a beautiful cross from Cesc Fabregas and the other was from a free kick taken by Fabregas (remember I said he was the player to watch during the game? The guy is legit. He's going to make himself a ton of money after he dominates this summer in the World Cup). Two weeks ago Arsenal was in third place and still within striking distance of Chelsea and Manchester United, now they are seven points behind Man U and nine points behind Chelsea. There is still a lot of soccer yet to play, but the bottom line is that those two convincing losses solidified Arsenal as a true pretender this year, and not a contender.
Now that their place is established, I think it will be interesting to see how Arsenal responds fo the rest of the season. They are a great team, but have almost been over performing. I wonder if these two back-to-back convincing losses will be a reality check and if Arsenal will start to slide a bit, or if they will be able to bounce back for their next game.
Speaking of which, their next game is actually on Wednesday since the players' wives all banded together and forced the league to suspend play on Valentine's day weekend. That may or may not be true as no player is willing to admit that he is upset about it and would rather play soccer versus take his wife out for the evening. Regardless, their next game is at home against Liverpool. Talk about a gauntlet. Not sure who made their schedule but they clearly had it out for Arsenal. In three consecutive weeks, Arsenal will have played the first, second and fourth placed teams (they are in third). Just ridiculous. I think they are better than Liverpool, but coming off two brutal losses, it may be hard for them to rebound in such a short period of time and against a team that has some momentum.
Win or lose this week against Liverpool they will still be in third place; which is why I think they could have motivation issues and lose some future games that they should win. It's tough to come out and play each week when you know that they best you can do for the season is finish in third place. Such is the harsh reality of a team that at one point looked like a contender, but in reality, is just a true pretender.