Arsenal's goal of finishing in the top four is rapidly slipping away from them following a fourth league game without a win. Arsene Wenger's men slipped down to 7th in the table after a frustrating goalless draw away to struggling Bolton on Wednesday, and they are now five points behind 4th placed Chelsea. The battle for a Champions League spot is likely to go down to the wire but it is crucial that Arsenal rediscover their cutting edge and get out of their rut sharpish in order to avoid finishing outside of the top four for the first time since the 1995/96 season.
Arsenal have yet to win a league game this year, losing three consecutive matches to Fulham, Swansea and Man Utd before being held by Bolton. Next up for the Gunners is Blackburn Rovers at home followed by a trip to in-form Sunderland. After these two fixtures they have a potentially make or break four weeks where they face AC Milan in the Champions League second round, a journey up North to play either Sunderland or Middlesbrough in the fifth round of the FA Cup and crucial league games against Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle.
Wenger insists that his side's current form is a mere blip and remains confident as ever that his team can pull themselves together and get back to winning ways. Luckily for Arsenal their top four challengers Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle have also struggled for consistency but with Liverpool and Newcastle winning mid-week the pressure is on Arsenal. The Gunners haven't finished outside of the top four under Wenger and the Frenchman certainly doesn't want to break that trend, with the club currently priced at 3/1 to finish in the top four.
Last week rumours surfaced linking Wenger with a shock move to Real Madrid. Real boss Jose Mourinho has come under heavy pressure following player bust-ups and a difficult relationship with the club's hierarchy, with media reports suggesting Wenger and Mourinho would swap jobs. Wenger has been installed as one of the favourites in the Next Real Madrid Manager Betting, while Mourinho has long expressed his desire to return to England. If Mourinho was to leave Real at the end of the season and Arsenal fail to get into the Champions League then you never know Wenger may just be persuaded to move to Spain.
Arsenal host Blackburn at the Emirates on Saturday looking to put an end to their dismal league run. Stan James have installed The Gunners as the 1/4 favourites, while Rovers can be backed at 12/1, with a draw available at 9/4.
Odds courtesy of Stan James.