Last season Arsenal lost two home matches. To Man Utd and Chelsea, both teams top of the table. And this season so far, Arsenal have lost twice at home already out of 11 matches and that against two promoted teams, West Brom and Newcastle.
To mount a title challenge, a team should enjoy exceptional home form. Champions Chelsea won 17, drew 1 and lost 1 of their 19 matches at Stamford Bridge last season. And it was this home form that drove them to the league title. Arsenal conceded first against Birmingham at home and had to work hard against an organized defence to get the 3 points. Against West Ham also, they had to dig deep in to get a result against an amazing Robert Green that day. Both teams in the bottom half of the table. And if this continues, then Arsenal can say goodbye to the league title.
“The home form is a concern because even against Birmingham and West Ham they were struggling wins,” he said Wenger. “Everybody plays tight here. When we are not in full form we have problems playing through the lines. It’s all right when we score the first goal but as long as they can sit deep we have problems playing through them if we are not at full power.”
Arsenal’s performance against Newcastle has to be their worst of the season so far. Their touch and passing was dreadful, and so too was their tackling. Captain Fabregas and Clichy booked for silly challenges.The goal may have come from Newcastle’s first shot on target but it was completely deserved. Fabianski could have done better on Barton’s long free kick from which Carrol scored but there were no defenders around Carroll when he leapt and in that situation he would score 8 out of 10 times.Shocking Performance from Arsenal, so poor. Fabregas was quiet, misplacing several passes. Walcott looked clueless. Newcastle quicker to every ball. Ameobi, Simpson and Barton were immense for the visitors. A bad day at the office was ended when Laurent Koscielny got a red card for pulling Newcastle substitute Nile Ranger down when he was charging towards the box, his second of the season. The only bright aspect was the return as sub of Robin van Persie, who has been sidelined since late August.
Before the match, Arsenal lead Man Utd on goal difference but now they are three points ahead of Arsenal and two behind Chelsea. It was a great opportunity to close the gap on Chelsea as they lost 2-0 to Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.
Trips to Wolves and Everton in the space of four days will be very demanding and it will be a surprise if Arsenal won both matches.