Should Wenger set targets or is it too late to even hope?

Even if the game at Spurs had finished with a more positive outcome, Arsenal would still be considered to be ailing but eighth position would’ve been acceptable for now. Of course, such an aspiration did not materialise, so has Arsène Wenger got time left to focus on anything apart from each game as it comes?

The Gunners’ next opponents are Sunderland at home. This would’ve been seen as a tricky but more than winnable contest last season but complacency has never been as unwelcome as it is now for the club. Even a win would only guarantee them a small move up the table and, with Stoke City and Chelsea queuing up for what they hope will be the next Premier League embarrassment for Arsenal, that mediocre position looks unlikely to change anytime soon.

Some Arsenal fans are even envisaging relegation. Many will see this as ridiculous but there is no doubt that any team can beat us now. Whereas in the past decade there were the inevitable few ‘bogey’ teams – Middlesbrough, Bolton etc – we were still perfectly able to beat the rest, as well as the best. Nowadays, even the newly-promoted sides would fancy a game, this trio all managing to acquire more points than the Gunners so far this campaign.

In this stage of the 1995-1996 season, Arsenal were suffering with a similar lack of success with one point more than the current squad today. They finished twelfth. The nightmarish threat of not reaching the Champions League is very much a reality so would a mid-table finish be such a bad conclusion to what is sure to be a long season ahead?

***Tottenham v Arsenal v Highlights***