One win in their last five Premier League games, four consecutive away defeats in the division, nine points adrift of a top-four spot in the table, uncertainty over the manager’s future, summer acquisitions heavily under-performing, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil rejecting a contract extension and the squad being at its weakest in years, Arsenal are enduring a real crisis.
Manager Arsene Wenger played down talk of his failure to announce his future plans as a reason for the side’s poor form, saying: “I honestly don’t know but I hope not. When I speak about mental test it is to perform, no matter what the circumstances are around you. Is that an influence? I’d say I hope not.” The manager has long spoken about the need for stability, but is he creating an unstable environment, in addition to Arsenal’s other problems?
“In the last three months there has been no consistency,” added Wenger. He’s not wrong, either. Arsenal are nine points adrift of a Champions League place in the table and have picked up just two league wins in the last three months. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil want to wait until the summer before announcing their own respective plans, but the pair are likely to move on if Arsenal finish outside of the top-four.
Money might also be a factor as Wenger has openly said the club won’t overspend on contracts to keep their top players happy. And while a large summer spend has been mentioned to revitalise the squad, their actions in the previous window left a lot to be desired. Shkodran Mustafi, Granit Xhaka and Lucas Perez – who could be sold in the summer – have failed to hit the mark this season, which puts further criticism at Wenger’s door for poor spending.
Arsenal have a slim chance of finishing in the top-four, but being 21 points off leaders Chelsea won’t sit well. The Gunners are 4/7 to win against Middlesbrough on Monday, to end a four-game losing run on the road and boost their Champions League hopes, but their current situation couldn’t be much more of mess.