Despite blowing the chance to move back to the summit of the league table on Monday after managing only a drab goalless draw against London and title rivals Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenale goalkeeper Szczesny still believes the Gunners are well poised to win their first league title in a decade.
So far this month, Arsenal have already spurned seven points and squandered the five point lead they once held over Liverpool. This might have led to worry in some quarters but Szczesny believes it is not good enough reason to jingle the alarm bells.
“I’m very positive,” said the Arsenal goalkeeper when asked to assess the team’s chances of winning their first league title since 2004.
“We want to win trophies this time.
“The mood around the club is much better than it was at the start of the season. People maybe didn’t believe in this team as much as they do now.“
“Our confidence is still quite high and we believe that we can go and do it this year. We’re looking forward to proving that.
“I don’t think the belief within the group was ever missing. This year we’ve just been more consistent.
“That’s made all the difference. We have to keep it going.
“Winning the first trophy is so important. We’ve been missing a trophy for quite a few years and that’s not good enough for such a big club.
“But we enjoy the pressure because we believe that we can be the team that will deliver for the fans and for the club.”
Arsenal take on West Ham at Upton Park on Boxing Day and they then face Newcastle, Aston Villa, Cardiff, Fulham and Southampton before the end of January.
“This Christmas period is going to have a huge bearing on the season,” the Pole said.
“The games are coming thick and fast. You know that teams will drop points.
“We’ve had a very tough run recently and now we’ve got a lot of games coming up and we want to take advantage of the fact that the big teams are playing against each other.
“Liverpool play Chelsea and Man City (on Boxing Day), so we want to collect our points and be right there at the top come the new year.”
Well said Szczesny. While it was disappointing to drop seven points and allow rivals Liverpool, City and Chelsea close in on us, Arsenal still have an edge. The Gunners have already seen out their tough fixtures and can afford to heave a huge sigh of relief. The Gunners next set of games are winnable while their rivals could be up for some stern test.
Liverpool play City and Chelsea on the bounce while Chelsea will also be playing Manchester United in January. In contrast, Arsenal will be playing West Ham, Newcastle, Cardiff, Villa, Fulham and Southampton. All Arsenal need to do is win these games and will once again open up a lead over their title rivals.
Of course, Arsenal have learnt a valuable lesson in the course of the month. They are still not up to the test against their rivals and would have to step up the gas when they meet for the return fixture whether at the Emirates against the Manchester clubs or at the Stamford Bridge.
For now, Arsenal are still very much in the title mix and right to believe they can end the season as champions.