OKay Arsenal fans, I know that we are all feeling a little bit dejected after the Gunners went from two points clear at the top of the table into fourth position. Our north London rivals Tottenham have gone above us in the league table for the first time all season, even if it is only by goal difference, and the awful Manchester United side under Louis van Gaal are somehow breathing down our necks with just five points between us.
Arsenal fans and other people watching the English Premier League have continued to see Manchester City as the team to beat of Arsene Wenger and the Gunners are going to lift the EPL trophy for the first time in 12 years. We have been expecting this season’s surprise package Leicester City to fall away sooner or later, but once again this weekend they confounded the experts.
It has been one of the strangest and most topsy-turvy Premier League seasons ever this time and Arsenal have been amongst the clubs fighting to the title for almost all of it so far. But we have not spent nearly as much time on top of the table as we did a couple of years ago.
Arsenal finished fourth that season and so everyone concerned with the club knows that being top right now wins you nothing. But that battling point away to Stoke City did keep Arsenal on top for another week, even if the Man City win did bring our main rivals within touching distance.
Until Arsenal do actually get to lift the Premier League trophy again there will always be plenty of critics and doubters out there in football land. Even now that the Gunners finish the year on top of the league table and have out performed every other club by some distance since last new year, pundits and reporters seem as though they cannot bring themselves to believe that this will be our season.
Only time will tell, of course, and they might be right, and Arsene Wenger accepts that someone like Man City could end up denying Arsenal the title, but he also insists that it will not be because of some perceived deficiency at the club.
Ahead of the visit of Manchester City to the Emirates on Monday night, the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger spoke of the importance of the top of the table clash and highlighted that the Gunners have to win matches such as these in order to clinch the Premier League title for the first time in over a decade.
As quoted by The Guardian, the Frenchman said: “The title will be won by taking points off the bigger teams. Maybe more than ever because the championship appears to be very tight. We have played 16 games and the top team is on 38 points.
There is still a long way to go in the game, but Arsenal fans will already be feeling excited after Stoke City doubled their lead against the current league leaders Man City. The Potters have the backing of their vocal home crowd and having gone 2-0 up at the Britannia Stadium they will be absolutely buzzing right now.
Man City are without their captain and best centre back Victor Kompany and while they may have David Silva back they have no Sergio Aguero to finish things off up front and they have no Yaya Toure driving them forward from the centre of midfield.
There were major fears from anyone that wants Arsenal to do well this season when Alexis Sanchez cut a forlorn figure as he limped off the Carrow Road pitch holding his hamstring. There was, quite understandably, a whole lot of gloom among the Arsenal faithful.
The hamstring problem, if it was as bad as we feared, could have seen the Chilean superstar miss the whole of the festive period and most of January to boot, but the Gunners have been handed a massive boost from the medial scans on our striker according to a report in The Mirror.
If things had really gone against Arsenal this weekend we could have found ourselves slipping out of the Champions League places and unable to catch Manchester United before we had even kicked a ball against Norwich City today. And although that would not have been a comfortable situation for the Gunners, I think we would have responded well.
It appears to me that Arsenal produce our best football when we are under pressure and have our backs to the wall. I cannot be unhappy that Manchester United and Tottenham could only manage a point each in their respective games against Leicester City and Chelsea but I am a little concerned that the Arsenal players will feel that the pressure is off.
For any Arsenal fans that might be cursing our luck and worrying about the lengthy injury list that Arsene Wenger is faced with, I have a few crumbs of comfort for you.
For one thing, Arsenal have more than enough quality to cope with the current injury problems, especially against a West Brom team that is struggling to reproduce their form of last season and were easily beaten by a not very good Man United team in their last outing.
Okay Arsenal fans, I know full well that stats do not tell the whole story and football is about more than the basic facts like possession, shots, attempts on target, clean sheets and all. But stats are used more and more by all the managers and coaches these days and they do give a good indication of individual and team performances.
So it is very encouraging to see the Premier League team stats on the Squawka.com website.