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Friday, 20 January 2017

Arsenal Still Has Hope to Earn Some Silverware

Last year finished with a pleasant surprise for Arsenal as they managed to pull the rug out from Tottenham Hotspur to sneak into second place on the final day of the season. Thanks to the Gunners' 4-0 victory over Aston Villa and Newcastle's 5-1 drubbing of Spurs, Arsenal managed to prevent the ignominy of having Tottenham finish ahead of them for the first time in two decades. This year, the Gunners find themselves once again in the conversation for the top spot, but if they hope to hoist the trophy they'll have to take down Antonio Conte's resurgent Chelsea side.

The three big London clubs are the ones circling the top spot with Liverpool nipping at their heels as it looks to finally earn its first Premier League trophy. Chelsea have looked downright unstoppable under the watchful eye of Conte, and it's hard to believe that this is the same side that Jose Mourinho practically drove into the ground last year. Meanwhile, Arsenal and Tottenham are close behind as they seek to prove just who's the best of the London teams.

The draw against Bournemouth a bit of tough luck for Gooners, but Olivier Giroud's late goal managed to snatch a much needed point from the jaws of defeat. Fast forward to the recent game against Swansea and Arsenal are still in the race for the title. Much of this will depend on whether or not Giroud can continue on his run of peerless late season form. Express' football section noted how Giroud's performance has helped to buoy the Gunners for the past several matches. They even went so far as to called the French striker Arsenal's man of the moment. Given the rate at which he's scoring goals, it's hard to argue against the sentiment. The question will be whether Wenger will continue to give him the playing time he deserves.

According to ESPN FC, one obstacle standing in the way of Giroud's continued success may be the return of Theo Walcott. Walcott could be returning from injury soon and that may have serious repercussions on how much we'll be seeing of Olly in the future. It's hard to imagine benching Giroud given his current run of form, but the team will need to give Walcott plenty of opportunity if they hope to challenge Chelsea.

Sadly, despite both Arsenal and Spurs finding much-needed wins Chelsea still remains very much the favourite to win the league. Betfair's Premier League staff has been documenting the season and has pointed out Chelsea's chances of being champions once again. The club handily defeated Leicester City, despite the absence of Diego Costa, and still managed to score three goals without their starting striker. The Blues have been scoring at a blistering pace and will only be more fearsome when Costa returns, which doesn't bode well for the rest of the Premier League.

While there's still a chance for Arsenal to find their way to the top of the tables, they might be better served focusing on other trophies. Another FA Cup trophy would once again make the Gunners the sole holders for the record of most titles with 13, and the club is still chasing that elusive Champions League title. The squad will face off against Bayern Munich in their round of 16 match on February 15th and will be looking to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Given the team's recent performances, they could do that—and more—and it may be a more realistic goal then a Premier League title.