Wojciech Szczesny believes Arsenal are still very much in the race for the title, despite dropping four points in the space of five days.
The Gunners led the Premier League table when they travelled to Anfield on Saturday, but were given a hammering at the hands of Liverpool who, after storming into a 4-0 lead within 20 minutes, recorded a 5-1 win. And on Wednesday an out-of-sorts Manchester United did enough to leave the capital on the back of a goalless draw.
All this has allowed Chelsea to leapfrog them into pole position by a single point, whilst Manchester City are just two points behind with a game in hand. This has resulted in a dip in optimism amongst the Emirates Stadium faithful, who have not seen their side win the league title since 2004, nor any trophy since the FA Cup the following year.
Many of these fans were overjoyed in the summer when Arsene Wenger broke the club transfer record to sign Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.5million, but the failure to land a striker of similar class is seriously threatening to undo their bid for glory. However, Szczesny believes they can still end their wait for the title this term, and has promised supporters he and his team-mates will fight until the very last.
“It is going to be tight but we will put everything into our last 12 games of the season and if we show our character I believe we can do it,” the goalkeeper told The Sun. “We will be fighting right to the end and that’s the least you can expect from players playing for Arsenal Football Club. Now it’s time for us to push on and give it a real go.”
Wenger and his side will take a break from their bid for the title this weekend, when they get an early chance to avenge that humiliating defeat to Liverpool when the Merseyside club visit the Emirates Stadium for an FA Cup fifth round clash. As if that isn’t mouth-watering enough, the following Wednesday Bayern Munich, the European champions, are in town for the first leg of the UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.
The German side won the treble under Jupp Heynckes last season, but if anything, they have improved even more under the leadership of former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola this term. They remain unbeaten in their defence of the Bundesliga, winning 18 of their 20 matches (conceding just nine goals), and are also in the semi-final of the German cup, meaning they are still on course to repeat their remarkable feat of last season.