How we think Arsene Wenger’s team will do in their Christmas triple header…
Arsenal threw two more points away against Liverpool on Sunday, continuing an inconsistent run that has seen impressive wins against Newcastle, Galatasaray, Dortmund and Southampton balanced out by their Anfield capitulation and another loss at Stoke. The Gunners don’t have an easy run between now and 2015, and draws simple aren’t good enough with Man United and Tottenham’s form picking up.
Here’s how we think Arsene Wenger’s side will get on in their winter run.
Arsenal v QPR
A fairly easy fixture to start things off Arsenal must be very careful not to be complacent against a dangerous QPR side.
Rangers have the league’s in-form striker in Charlie Austin, and have shown that they have the goalscoring ability to challenge anyone: their 20 goals scored is just 2 fewer than Tottenham and Swansea.
But while QPR’s home form has kept them afloat so far, they continue to be woeful away from home, and Arsenal should pick up three points without too many problems.
Prediction: Arsenal 3 – 1 QPR
West Ham v Arsenal
West Ham have are having an amazing season, and will be highly motivated to beat the Gunners, who are now their direct rival for fourth place. Sam Allardyce is doing a great job, and Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho are a formidable strike partnership.
The only good news for Arsenal is that West Ham face Chelsea on Boxing Day, and will come into the game against the Gunners just two days later bruised, tired and very probably beaten.
It’s going to be tough, and unfortunately for the Gunners, their weaknesses match up pretty well with West Ham’s strengths. If they play with anything like the meekness they did on Sunday, they’ll struggle at Upton Park.
Prediction: West Ham 2 – 1 Arsenal
Southampton v Arsenal
Southampton are a side of great talent and ability, but they are on an awful run. They played well against Arsenal in their match a few weeks ago, but just couldn’t get the ball into the net and capitulated late on, the classic signs of a team in a downward spiral.
The loss to the Gunners was followed by losses to Man United, Burnley and then Sheffield United in the cup. Their unexpected three nil win against Everton on Saturday came from nowhere, and nobody quite knows whether it signifies a return to form, or was just a one-off against another team low on confidence.
It will be a close, but like West Ham Southampton will also have just faced Chelsea when Arsenal play them, and the Gunners should be able to take advantage of that fact to nick a win, especially given their deeper squad’s ability to cope with the bust Christmas period.
Prediction: Southampton 0 – 1 Arsenal
Festive Total: 6 from 9
Six points wouldn’t be a total disaster for the Gunners, and it would keep them in the race for fourth, but if they are to aspire to anything more they will have to pick up the whole nine.