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Friday, 22 March 2013

Arsenal: Can the Gunners end the season unbeaten?

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The past weekend was a great one for Arsenal Football Club. Not only did they overcome the potential banana skin of playing Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, but their arch rivals Spurs were turned over at home by Fulham.

The Gunners now go into the final nine games of the season just four points behind AVB's men in the race for Champions League football with a game in hand, knowing that Tottenham's next game is against Swansea before facing Everton, Chelsea and Man City.

However, Arsenal should not be too concerned about how Spurs get on. Arsene Wenger and everyone with Arsenal running through their veins know that unless Arsenal win more games than Spurs or Chelsea then their hopes of finishing in the top four again are over.

Following the international break Arsenal get back to action with a home game against relegation threatened Reading followed by West Brom away, Norwich and Everton at home, Fulham away, Manchester United at home, QPR away, Wigan at home and Newcastle away. That is by far the easier of the run-ins compared to Chelsea and Tottenham's, but Arsenal have been frustrating to watch this season and have dropped far too many points for their liking.

With nines games left to play for the Gunners, can they end the season unbeaten and retain their place in the top four? Here is what a selection of Squarefootball writers, readers and fans on Google+ think.

Squarefootball's Liverpool reporter Dave Disciascio

"Not a chance. Quite simply, Arsenal fold under pressure. The derby loss to Spurs and first leg against Bayern are only the latest examples. However, the Gunners find their form when the burden has already been dropped; as in, the return leg against Bayern and the recent Swansea win.

"If Arsenal get close to fourth, Giroud will punt the ball toward Row Z, and Wenger will slam a few water bottles into the Emirates pitch."

Squarefootball writer and West Ham fan Mitch Waddon

"Arsenal certainly have the ability and the team to go the rest of the season unbeaten, but the Premier League is one of the most exciting and unpredictable in the world. Any team can beat anyone on the right day. I look at fixtures like Manchester United at home as the biggest banana skin. But QPR away is going to be a tough match as well, especially if QPR can keep up their quest to stay in the Premier League. Based on this, I’m going to say no. Arsenal will lose at least one more time this Premier League season."

West Brom fan Andy Wakeman

"Arsenal can't go unbeaten as Albion will beat them at the Hawthorns! They may not need to win all their games as Spurs seem intent on throwing away their advantage as they do most seasons at about this time."

Arsenal fan Jeremy Fernand on Google+

"I think if we keep playing at our current form - we can win them all. Manchester United will be the hardest, no doubt. Everton and Newcastle will be hard as well and Fulham could be a tricky one. I think we can get fourth place though."

Squarefootball's Manchester United reporter Soohwan Trass

"No. At no point this season have they showed true consistency. Their winning percentage is only 48% - Manchester City is 59% and Manchester United is 89%. There's never 100% assurance that Arsenal cannot be defeated by any team currently in the Premier League. Their last six matches will be tougher than they look on paper. Everton are making a strong charge towards the 4th spot with a great win for them against Manchester City. Fulham are a completely different side when they play at Craven Cottage. It's possible Manchester United will take it easy by this time but I expect them to win the match against Arsenal. Both QPR and WIgan will be fighting desperately for survival and travelling up to Newcastle is always daunting for any team. So no, both in the current Arsenal side and in the upcoming opposition, I see no chance of Arsenal going the rest of the season unbeaten."

Arsenal fan Steven Tchong on Google+

"Wigan, Reading and QPR are fighting against relegation. Tough, tough games but then let's take it one game at a time. If we can keep our defence clean that can make the difference at the end. And we really need to win at home, we have lost too many game at the Emirates."

Sunderland fan Tony Ratton

"I don't think Arsenal will remain unbeaten this season but I do think they have a very good chance of qualifying for the Champions League."

Bolton Wanderers fan Dave Blackburn

"No they can't as they are still inconsistent - WBA are having a good season and could nick it; Norwich at home they will probably win; Everton are doing ok on the road; Fulham have just beaten Spurs and it is a local derby; United will sneak it and QPR is another derby and are still fighting for their lives! Wigan won their last season and they won't fancy a trip up North on the last game of the season! It will be a close run thing re top 4 but their are still plenty of twists and turns yet!"

Squarefootball writer Hugh Larkin 

"Arsenal could go unbeaten to the close but on balance i'd say they won't- but they might well snatch 4th because they have a habit of sneaking it while Spurs have a lot on their plate in Europe."

Arsenal fan Jacob Todd on Google+

"Chelsea and Spurs still have to face each other. So, there is hope that one of them will slip up. We just have to handle our business."

So there you have it. The general consensus seems to be that Arsenal will lose at least once between now and the season's finale, but that they will eventually overtake Spurs into the coveted Champions League positions. It's hardly a trophy for Arsenal fans, but beating Spurs to a Champions League spot and finishing above them again is always a great feeling.

Follow me @sqf_illingworth


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Colin Illingworth



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