Arsenal: Chokers?

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Arsene Wenger

It appears that Arsenal have pulled their favourite trick. For most of the season they have been legitimate title contenders. They fooled the Premier League into believing that Arsenal were over their issues and they were capable of actually going all the way and winning the title for the first time since their Invincibles season in 2004 (See more here).

From that moment Arsenal have had two types of seasons. They have been nowhere near the title race but finish in the top four to maintain their streak of Champions League Qualification or they have a season like they have been having now. For half of the season they are unplayable. They win most of their games against the big teams and they finally look to be over the hump. Then February or March comes along and just takes all the air out of Arsenal.

This was meant to be the year they did it. With Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez, Mezsut Ozil, Petr Cech. They were a strong team with great players that Arsene Wenger was getting the best out of. Once again they pulled the same trick again. I was fooled into believing that this was their year with my prediction that they would win the league. They had pulled the wool over our eyes and once everyone finally believed, they cracked under the pressure of success. They had all eyes on them and they couldn’t produce. Leicester City, the unlikeliest title favourites/potential winners since Blackburn, have continued to demonstrate their ability to win games. They got to see Arsenal and Tottenham deliver a huge blow to each other in the Lunch Time kick off in the North London Derby and then in the late game live on Sky Sports they found a way to beat Watford to increase their gap on a day where everything could have gone wrong.

That is the major difference between winning the title and missing out. The area of their play that Arsenal lack. They win the games when the pressure is off but they cannot win the important games. The ones that decide the titles. Going away to difficult, noisy and enclosed away grounds has been something that Arsenal have failed to do. There is something that always seems to trip Arsenal up and it has to go beyond the players. This has happened to the many post-title winning iterations of the team. They have World Cup Winners, Copa America Winners, Champions League Winners, Premier League Winners. They do not lack players who don’t know what it takes to win competitions and leagues but when they play for Arsenal they seem to forget how to win when it matters. Is it Arsene Wenger? It is the club? It is a mental block for the players? We may never know and mostly it relies on speculation and opinion but something in the red parts of North London is preventing Arsenal from getting over the line and to rub it in their arch rivals and neighbours Tottenham look likely to finish above them and present the biggest threat to the fairytale of a Leicester Premier League win.

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