Arsenal face the same problem they face every year in the Premier League: they play well, but not well enough for the title. They land on the third or fourth spot over and over again and this year will probably not be an exception to the rule.
It was only 10 games ago when Arsenal was sitting on top of the Premier League. Right now they are 13 points behind the league leaders Leicester, with one game less played. Even the third spot is in danger now that Manchester City has only 2 points to catch up.
If you take a look at only the matches played in 2016, Arsenal only has the 10th spot in the league with a total of 20 points in 13 games – again 13 points less than Leicester. It shows how both teams developed over the course of the season. And it makes you wonder: What happened to the Arsenal team that their performance has downgraded this much?
Here is what I think has happened:
1) Mesut Ozil has not been performing as well as he had been before. Do you remember how everyone hyped the great assist rate of Mesut Ozil at the end of 2015? He set up at an incredible 15 goals in 16 matches and was at 16 assists total after half of the season. It only seemed like a matter of time until he would overcome Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists in one season. Do you know how many more assists he has collected since then? A total of 2 in 12 games. This has really been hurting Arsenal, since all of their lost points were one goal defeats or draws so one well set up goal would have made the difference in every single game.
2) And while we are at it: Thierry Henry is one example of what I think the Gunners are definitely missing this season: a goal-getter or at least a key player in their offensive line. Tottenham has Kane, Leicester has Vardy and Mahrez, City has Aguero. For Arsenal the top scorers are Giroud and Alexis, but even both of them combined have not scored as much as Vardy or Kane. On the bright side, they have many players who can score goals, but most of the time it is better to have one player you can rely on for the important goals.
3) The team does not seem to be ready for the strain of all competitions combined. Most of their bad games happened right after they had played Champions League or one of the national cups. One of the most painful losses was against Chelsea right after they lost to Barcelona. This defeat also cost them the first place in the league and started their downhill streak. They dropped out of the Champions League quite some time ago, but the damage has already been done and it is going to be another season without a title.