Opinion: Are Arsenal already out of the title race?

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro looks on.
Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro looks on following the 2020 Vitality Women's FA Cup Quarter Final. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

With nine games gone in the season, all is not well at Arsenal. The Gunners are third and have lost two of their last five games. Their title rivals Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City are all unbeaten in their last five matches.

To make matters worse, Arsenal’s defeats have been against their Manchester rivals. They also drew against Chelsea after a devastating last-gasp own goal by Lotte Wubben-Moy.

Joe Montemurro’s side are beating the teams they are expected to beat. They were 9-1 winners against West Ham and overcame both Reading and Tottenham Hotspur 6-1. However, they have failed to win all three of their encounters with title rivals this season.

The North London side also find themselves at a disadvantage due to their lack of squad depth. Montemurro prefers to work with a small squad which is all well and good when everyone is fit.

Kim Little looks dejected following Arsenal’s draw against Chelsea at Meadow Park on November 15, 2020. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, Arsenal tend to have a lot of injuries to key players throughout the season and not enough cover. If Vivianne Miedema got injured, the back up is not at the same level. Whereas if Bethany England suffered an injury at Chelsea, Sam Kerr would come in and there wouldn’t be a drop in quality.

Furthermore, there are signs of discontent within the team. Lisa Evans was brought on in the 88th minute in the defeat against Man City. After the match, she liked a tweet suggesting she would request a loan move in January due to lack of game time.

Arsenal are a point behind Chelsea and three behind leaders Man United. However, Emma Hayes’ side have a game in hand and Man City are just a point behind the Gunners.

With 20 games in the season, and if Arsenal fall any further behind their rivals, they might not have time to catch up. Failing to win the league would be bad enough. Missing out on the Champions League again may be even worse.

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