We’re only two months into the new season but Arsenal’s hopes of ending their long wait for the Premier League title already appear to be over following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Watford.
That result leaves Arsene Wenger’s side sixth in the table, nine points behind league-leaders Manchester City with a vastly inferior goal difference to Pep Guardiola’s team.
This was Arsenal’s third defeat of the campaign - Huddersfield have suffered the same number of losses this season - and the bookmakers now have them priced as long as 66/1 to become champions next May.
Arsenal’s long-suffering fans are close to reaching the end of their tether with both Wenger and the players.
How much longer will they continue to part with their hard-earned cash to watch the same thing happen season in, season out?
With huge games against Everton, Manchester City and Tottenham coming up over the coming weeks, Wenger and his players must convince disillusioned supporters that they haven’t lost their spirit and determination. More importantly, they must pick up points from these matches.
But those who watched the Gunners’ capitulation at Vicarage Road won’t be holding their breath.
Shearer explains why Arsenal's season is going so badly
So, why is Arsenal’s season unravelling so early in the campaign?
Alan Shearer thinks he knows.
The Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorer, who now works as a pundit for Match of the Day, wrote about Wenger and his players in his latest column for The Sun.
Shearer believes that both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez should have been sold in the summer after refusing to put pen to paper on contract extensions.
The former Newcastle United striker reckons Wenger should have got rid of the club’s two star players - possibly as early as January - and replaced them with talented young players who were happy to be at the Emirates Stadium.
“It doesn’t help the overall attitude and feeling in the squad knowing that in a couple of months those two key players can start negotiating to play for another club with their contracts up in the summer,” Shearer wrote.
“Two players worth a combined £100 million in today’s market are heading out the door for free in two of the longest and potentially most ignominious goodbyes in the club’s history.
“That in a nutshell is the problem at Arsenal.
“Arsenal should have sold them at the start of the summer transfer window, or even six months before that and got in some young hungry players who do want to be there.”
It’s hard to disagree with that.
Shearer also believes Arsenal should have let Wenger go
Shearer also feels that Arsenal made a huge mistake by handing Wenger a new two-year deal when it was patently clear that things had become stale.
“By giving Arsene Wenger a new contract in the summer it was made clear to the players and the fans that failure to win the title over the last 13 years doesn’t matter,” he added.
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