Arsene Wenger admits he is prepared to take full responsibility if Arsenal fail to add to their honours list for a ninth successive season.
Not since their 2005 FA Cup final penalty shootout win against Manchester City in Cardiff have the Gunners added silverware to their cabinet, whilst they last won the title a decade ago. They are currently competing for three honours this season, but their quest for glory is now entering a critical stage with some huge games on the agenda.
Arsenal have dropped five points over the last week to allow Chelsea to open up a single-point lead in the race for the Premier League title, with 12 matches remaining. This weekend is the turn of the FA Cup, and they welcome Liverpool to the Emirates Stadium just a week after the Merseyside club inflicting a humiliating 5-1 defeat on them.
Perhaps the most daunting task of all comes in midweek, when Pep Guardiola and his formidable Bayern Munich side arrive in the capital for the first-leg of the UEFA Champions League last-16 tie. There is, then, as much chance of the Gunners ending their drought as there is of them finishing the season empty-handed, and as disappointing as the latter would be, Wenger insists he is prepared to take full responsibility should they fail.
“I think our job is to be ambitious and to try to win, and if we do not win, to take full responsibility for that,” he said. “That’s as simple as that and that’s how I see it. I say yes we are in it, yes we will have a go for it, we will absolutely give everything to go for it and if we don’t do it I will take responsibility for it, but I just see it like that.”
There was nothing but pessimism in the air when Arsenal lost their opening Premier League match of the season, 3-1 at home to Aston Villa, but the £42.5million club record signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid lifted optimism as the team went on a fine run of form. However, the failure to sign a striker of equal quality could cost them at the business end of the season, with Olivier Giroud visibly tiring in recent weeks.
The France international remains the Gunners leading frontman, with 13 goals in 32 matches in all competitions, but he has only scored more than one goal on one occasion this term. His replacement, should be pick up an injury or be rested, is the much-maligned Nicklas Bendtner, who was deemed surplus to requirements during the summer before Wenger eased him back into the first team fold due to a lack of other options.