Arsenal now have to cast their gaze over their shoulders rather than ahead at league leaders Leicester City, insists manager Arsene Wenger, according to a report from The Guardian.
The Gunners are at the moment 11 points behind the top of the table with a match in hand and while their title aspirations are not dead, the Foxes would have to slip points in three of their remaining six fixtures to give Wenger’s boys a chance.
Creeping up behind Arsenal are Manchester United, Manchester City and West Ham United. All three are vying for a spot in the Champions League qualification places as the Gunners sit in third place, four points ahead of City in fourth.
“We have to be realistic and just prepare for the next game and not dream too much,” he told the press. “When I say be realistic we have to look behind, over our shoulders, as well.
“Manchester City, Manchester United, West Ham are chasing. Let’s look over our shoulders and also chase [those ahead] if we can.
“To find a team who clicks at the right moment, sometimes you have all kinds of reasons.
“I feel we want to win our games and see what happens. It is too difficult to say any more than that. We have only one target now.”
It was really tempting to believe Saturday’s 4-0 victory against Watford was classic old Arsenal, putting in a performance and racking up the goals when the pressure was off.
This was their back to back second win following a run of one in eight (against Hull in the FA Cup) and they were ousted from the Champions League during that dismal spell, leaving only the Premier League to concentrate on.
Sitting in third place and 11 points adrift of leaders Leicester, they only have a top four place to consolidate and another summer of questioning Arsene Wenger’s methods ahead.
But Arsenal’s run-in seems pretty straightforward, only games against West Ham next Saturday and Manchester City on 7th May presenting significant challenges. The other five should give them few problems and one of those fixtures, a home clash against West Brom, comes in with a game in hand on Leicester and Tottenham above them.
With so few games to go there is still a big gap to make up, but it is not difficult to argue that Arsenal represent a more dangerous challenge to the implausible Foxes than second-placed Tottenham.