Sunday just wasn’t Arsenal’s day.
The 2017-18 Premier League season just hasn’t been Arsenal’s season, and Sunday’s 2-1 defeat away to 10th-place Newcastle United so perfectly exemplified the Gunners’ eight months’ worth of struggles, according to manager Arsene Wenger.
Having gone up 1-0 after 14 minutes, the fatigue of having played away to CSKA Moscow on Thursday eventually caught up to Arsenal as they fell to a fifth straight PL defeat away from the Emirates Stadiu. Following the game, Wenger said Sunday’s game was “the story of our season” and called such a streak “a worry character-wise” — quotes from the Guardian:
“It’s the story of our season. We had 70 percent of possession and were 1-0 up. You wonder how you can lose this game. It could have been over at half-time. It’s very harsh to swallow a defeat like this. It’s very disappointing.
“Of course it’s a concern to have lost five games in a row away, because traditionally we have a very strong record away. It has become a subconscious weight on our minds. Once you’re in a negative spiral like this it is very hard to get out of.”
“It’s very difficult to combine the Europa League on Thursday night and the Premier League on Sunday afternoons. Some of our players were affected physically by getting back from Moscow so late.
“But losing like this is a worry character-wise. Our attitude today was spot on, but I have to be realistic enough to say that maybe our balance offensively and defensively doesn’t work.”
With five league games left to play (Arsenal will face Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semifinals beginning next week), fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur sit 13 points clear of their north London rivals, meaning the anti-St. Totteringham’s Day (and a guaranteed place outside the PL’s top-four) could come as soon as Tuesday, when Tottenham visit Brighton & Hove Albion (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).
Wenger, however, remains in charge and appears to be the sole authority on whether or not he’ll remain the manager come August.