Football

Arsenal shouldn't be ruled out of the title race yet

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On Saturday, Arsenal travelled to West Brom in search of what should have been a comfortable three points. However, thanks to defensive fragility, wastefulness and a missed penalty, the north London club returned empty handed from a game which - realistically as title contenders - they should have won.

It could be played off as 'one of those days', and in fairness, they did create enough chances to win the game comfortably - even without Santi Cazorla’s missed penalty - but failed to put them away.

This, of course, is not helped by the injury crisis facing Arsene Wenger, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck all sidelined could have all put away the chance that Joel Campbell somehow contrived to miss when it looked easier to score.

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But the players on the pitch should have been capable enough to make the difference. It is so often said that title winning teams have the ability to grind out results from poor performances and Arsenal failed to do this at the Hawthorns.

The Gunners now sit fourth in the table, two points behind high-flying Leicester, who stayed top after Liverpool put four past Manchester City at the Etihad.

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Wenger should target nine points from their next three fixtures against Norwich, Sunderland and Aston Villa, before the crucial game against City on December 21. If other results go their way, they could still see themselves top of the table at Christmas.

However, there are still a few key issues they need to fix to mount a serious title challenge.

Firstly, they need to avoid another injury crisis like the one they are currently facing, a situation worsened by the injuries to Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta at the weekend, but with many key players due to return in the foreseeable future, the burden on the players currently fit will be lessened.

The ability to rest star players such as Alexis Sanchez, who hasn’t looked his normal self in recent weeks, and Mesut Ozil, will be crucial in ensuring their long-term fitness - the key to any potential title push.

The second issue is retaining focus. After Arsenal took the lead on Saturday, they appeared to lose focus and conceded two goals in ten minutes. Both of which were easily avoidable if the defence had been fully switched on.

With other top teams not looking overly convincing, this season really does appear to be Arsenal's best chance of winning the league in ten years. They have to make the most of it.

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Topics:
Premier League
Theo Walcott
Arsenal
Arsene Wenger
Football

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