Arsenal will be under significant pressure over the next nine weeks as they look to end their 12-year wait for a Premier League title.
Having ended their run of five games without a win in all competitions with their 4-0 victory over Hull City in their FA Cup replay on Tuesday night, Arsene Wenger will be hoping that his players now start to regain their confidence.
However, it won’t be that simple as former Gunners star Paul Merson has written off their chances due to their remaining games which sees them face up to some difficult away trips.
“They have no chance [of winning the league],” Merson said on The Fantasy Football Club podcast. “I say no chance because with the three away games they have at Everton, West Ham and Man City, the best I can see is two draws and a win, and I’m being kind with that.
“That’s five points gained and it still leaves them three points behind Leicester, and Leicester would have three games in hand.”
Arsenal are currently eight points adrift of leaders Leicester, and three behind north London rivals Tottenham after claiming a hard-fought draw in the derby last weekend.
However, for a side that had been tipped to take advantage of the struggles of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City this season, they have stumbled in recent weeks and it has cost them the chance to win a league title.
While of course it isn’t impossible that they will overturn their deficit and apply plenty of pressure on Claudio Ranieri’s men in the coming weeks, injuries are a concern for Wenger and the pressure is certainly building on the Frenchman.
Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Watford is followed by the second leg of their round-of-16 encounter with Barcelona in the Champions League, and the Arsenal boss will hope to at least be in the hunt for one trophy by the end of the week still.
Nevertheless, the real tests come with games against Everton, Watford and West Ham in the league the following three weeks, and with Aaron Ramsey joining the long list of injured stars, as noted by BBC Sport, it is a worrying time for Wenger.
Santi Cazorla, Petr Cech, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will all be absent for at least the next two weeks, and with the banner that read: “Arsene, thanks for the memories but it’s time to say goodbye” on Tuesday, the under-fire Arsenal boss knows that he has to deliver something special in the next two months to get everyone back on side.