Many onlookers thought that Arsenal would have slipped off the pace before now, but to their credit they have maintained their title challenge so far.

They have contributed to what looks like being one of the most keenly fought Premier
League title races since the birth of the Premier league in 1992.

However, this weekend's 5-1 hammering that they sustained at the hands of Liverpool at Anfield may well have dented their title challenge permanently as they slipped from pole position to second, allowing Chelsea to take over top spot.

The manner of the defeat is what must concern Arsene Wenger the most. Arsenal were, quite simply, inept and way off the pace in the game.

Defensively Arsenal were very poor but the finger cannot be pointed just at their frailties at the
back. As a team they were lifeless and severely lacking pace and urgency. Arsenal have enough experience in their side to know that a visit to Anfield is never going to be easy and will always be fast and frenetic particularly with the pace and confidence in this current Liverpool side. However, it seemed to take them by surprise.

Some supporters are yet again pointing the finger at Arsene Wenger who was unable to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window. With injuries to key players, such as Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott, Wenger is suffering from a depleted midfield.

The only notable signing was Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom, who is himself injured.

Although Mezut Ozil is a world-class player he cannot simply carry the side on his own and has himself suffered a slight dip in form which is understandable given it's his first full season in the Premier League.

Olivier Giroud, who has led the Arsenal attack well all season, will be looking towards Lukas Podolski to help him with Arsenal's goalscoring threat with Aaron Ramsey absent. This is one area of the pitch where Arsenal do need to strengthen as any injuries to their strikers could prove to be the final knockout blow to their title chances.

This is what makes the failure to land Julian Draxler in the transfer window particularly bewildering. Arsenal did have the money to spend but were seemingly not happy with Schalke's valuation of a player they so desperately need.

Goals win titles and Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have that threat in abundance. Arsenal, for me, do not have the same threat.

Can Wenger's decision not to sign Draxler ultimately cost Arsenal the title? Has it cost Wenger another season without a trophy?

Despite Arsenal's inept display at Anfield we should take nothing away from Liverpool who showed that they are a side full of pace and power and, if not this season, can be a true title challenger once again. Brendan Rodgers must take the credit for this.

Arsenal now face some tough fixtures. Manchester United visit north London on Wednesday followed by a re-match with Liverpool in the FA Cup this weekend. Next week they face European Champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League. The next three games may well decide their season once and for all.

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