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    Bournemouth Game Highlights Arsenal Problems

    The Christmas and New Year period is always a crucial portion of the Premier League season. With a lot of fixtures crammed into a short space of time, its usually at this part of the season where the title is both won and lost. Arsenal were clinging on for deal life already, however results such as their 3-3 draw with Bournemouth highlight how difficult it will be to claw themselves back into title contention.

    The squad currently at Arsenal is arguably there best this decade, yet the same old issues of consistency seem to follow the squad and the manager Arsene Wenger. With rivals Chelsea on red hot form, equalling Arsenal's record for 13 consecutive league wins, any missed points from their rivals at this stage only put them further behind the runaway leaders.

    Arsenal comprehensively beat Chelsea 3-0 earlier in the season, however at the turn of the new year they are now eight points behind their London rivals, and if Chelsea win their game in hand the gap will extend to a massive 11 points. As we have just creeped past the halfway stage of the season, closing a gap this big seems very unlikely at this moment.

    Successive away defeats to Everton and Manchester City last month cast them adrift in the challenge for the title, and just when they needed a perfect Christmas/New Year period to recover some ground, they slipped up at the Vitality stadium. A lacklustre performance is something no team can afford in such a fiercely competitive league, and it was only thanks to a excellent recovery in the last twenty minutes that they recovered any points at all from the game. After being 3-0 down, to recover a point will be seen as a positive, however this doesn't help a slight negative feeling around the squad.

    Olivier Giroud celebrates his 90th minute equalizer against Bournemouth. Photo copyright Getty Images.

    It seems both fans and pundits now almost expect an Arsenal wobble at some stage roughly halfway into the season. It's happened for so many years now, and it seems now matter which players are brought into the club, they cannot escape it. Of course fans may start to point the finger at long serving club legend Wenger, however its a very tough one to call.

    On one side the fact he's brought so much success to the club in his 20-year reign and his excellent relationship he enjoys with his players as key reasons to hope and prey he signs a new deal this summer. For some fans however they feel this recent consistent mid-season slump can be attributed to Wenger and maybe its time for him to retire.

    Whilst these concerns are worrying for fans, the tremendous good he has done for the club far outweigh this. He is also potentially key to the future of the club as both star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are close with Wenger and keeping him on will likely prove a factor in whether they decide to sign new deals with the club in the next 18 months.

    With how competitive the Premier League is, its no surprise that the major clubs improve every season with new signings. It always feels as if Arsenal are slightly left behind in this nature, with many other clubs usually signing several key players per transfer window, with Arsenal preferring to bring in these players once each window.

    Arsenal have not been able to shed a perception of being a frugal club, despite signing world class players such as Mesut Ozil for £42.5 million pounds in recent years. Photo copyright Getty Images.

    Whilst both methods have their positives and negatives, its the unfortunate reality in these times that if you want to compete for the Premier League you need to spend big money. This is something Arsenal have the means to do, recently being valued by Forbes magazine as the second most valuable Premier League team, behind only Manchester United, being valued at $2 billion dollars. It seems that despite spending over £80 million this last summer transfer window, the club are still labelled as one that does not spend big money.

    The unfortunate drawback of being a club that doesn't spend as much as rivals is this has an inevitable effect on the all round squad. Whilst the first team can match any team in the league, can the squad rotation players step in and still have enough quality to compete for the title? For me simply as a fan of the club it's difficult to 100% confidently agree with that question.

    Their rivals will likely be hampered by the upcoming African Cup of Nations more than Arsenal, will this be enough of an equalizer to bring Arsenal back into contention? With such a large gap to make up and the fact the tournament is only a month long, it will likely prove too much for the club to overcome considering how well their rivals are currently playing.

    At this stage of the season a realistic title challenge for Arsenal likely seems over for another season, and in their current position they may not even make the top four. Both Tottenham and Manchester United are in great form and find themselves only two points behind Arsenal.  This season is in danger of petering out already, and if the club wants to remain in the Champions League next season they will have shake off this latest disappointment and get back to stringing several wins together.

    By Jordan Wilkins

    Hope you enjoyed reading it and if you have any thoughts on it feel free to comment below.
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    Item Reviewed: Bournemouth Game Highlights Arsenal Problems Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jordan Wilkins
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