Arsenal crisis heating up

Written by Ben Blaschke

There was a shortened Premier League round over the weekend with the FA Cup quarter-finals taking place and involving a number of top flight teams. One of the few Premier League contests saw Leicester City win against a struggling Newcastle United. It was the first game in charge of Newcastle for Rafa Benitez, the former Liverpool manager taking full control of an EPL club for the first time since leaving the Reds in 2010.

[b]Rafa Benitez[/b]

This time however, rather than winning titles, his single objective is survival and unfortunately his first match was against the league leaders. In the end, Shinji Okazaki’s overhead kick was enough for Leicester to score a 1-0 win and restore their five point lead at the top.

But the most interesting talking point last weekend was the FA Cup results, which saw the traditionally big clubs all struggle. Manchester United had to rely on an Antonio Martial’s late goal at Old Trafford to earn a re-match against West Ham United, while Chelsea succumbed to an inspirational Everton. The game at the Goodison Park was all about revenge, with Romelu Lukaku – who was deemed not good enough to represent the west London giant – scoring a brace to sink his old club. With 18 goals under belt this season, Lukaku is also in the top three on the goal scorers list – only one goal shy of Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane.

The most alarming result though was Arsenal’s defeat at home to Watford. Goals from Odion Ighalo and Adlene Guedioura dashed the Gunners’ hopes of becoming the first club since Blackburn Rovers in the 1880s to win the competition three years in a row.

It comes after they also lost the first leg of their Champions League Round 16 tie against Barcelona 3-0, with the likelihood now being another season without a major title. Nevertheless, it was disappointing to see anti-Wenger banners in the stadium considering how much he has brought to English football and the Arsenal football club since the 1990s. As it is, the noise is getting louder and Wenger’s long reign at the club might soon be coming to an end.