Arsenal is in a very bad place right now.
Of course that’s all relative to Arsenal, the club which brought us the Invincibles and so many beautiful, flowing football moments, those of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, and — to a lesser extent — Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
The Gunners lost their eighth match of the Premier League season on Monday — a sad display at Crystal Palace — to give them their most losses in a season since 2011-12. That year saw Arsenal lose 10 matches, one of only two seasons with double-digit PL losses under Wenger.
[ MORE: Wenger’s status in Kroenke’s hands ]
The situation isn’t good, and Arsenal’s hopeful trek to the Top Four is fraught with peril. No mistakes can remain, no more bumps in the road. Arsenal has used up every bit of asphalt in the budget when it comes to paving over potholes.
Right now, it looks like fifth or sixth is Arsenal’s situation. The Gunners certainly won’t catch Chelsea or Spurs, and Manchester City won’t be easy to catch, either. In fact, Arsenal’s only hope for the Top Four is to outperform Manchester United and hope for Liverpool to fall apart.
That’s asking a lot. Even given Liverpool’s relative struggles against bottom half sides, the Reds will not see a single Top Seven team the rest of the way. Even if Jurgen Klopp‘s men lost all three road matches, they’d finish with 72 points. Arsenal would have to do better than 6W-2L to catch them.
That would mean defeating either Spurs, Manchester United, or Everton. Not a huge ask, no, but nothing worth expecting given recent form.
April 17 at Middlesbrough
TBD vs Sunderland (originally 4/22)
April 23 vs Man City (FA Cup semi)
April 26 vs. Leicester City
April 30 at Tottenham Hotspur
May 7 vs. Manchester United
May 13 at Stoke City
May 21 vs. Everton
Even if Arsenal were to do enough to catch Liverpool, the Gunners would also need to better Manchester United’s performance the rest of the way. Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils have a hellish rest of the season which includes at least two Europa League matches and league dates with Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, and Spurs.
If the Gunners can’t rally and finish fifth, they need more than just a managerial change. But it’s difficult to find a path to fourth for Wenger’s men. How can Stan Kroenke and Co. swallow that?