A true measure of how badly Arsenal have fallen

Arsenal Defeat

Arsenal dropped more points yesterday. Sure they remain in fourth, but for how much longer?

After their thrilling 7-3 demolition of Newcastle there was bound to be a comedown for Arsenal, and this was it, a 1-1 draw against Southampton which saw the Gunners fall 18 points behind league leaders Manchester United.

That gap is pretty incredible, and we are only one game into 2013. What will the gap be by time May rolls around?

Last season United finished 19 points above Arsenal - They are fast paced to exceed that this season.

It's important to remember that Arsenal have a game in hand on United, and can 'close the gap' if they win the match at home to West Ham, but even at 15 points, they are only a speck of dust in United's rear view mirror.

Even at 15 points the Gunners are an irrelevance in the title picture, and that illustrates just how badly and how quickly the club have fallen off the pace.

Their woes this season are, to the degree they have been, unexpected. I was one who tipped Arsenal to remain in the title hunt until around March before flaking out, but they couldn't even see a title charge in until Autumn was over.

Indeed there were fans who saw the writing on the wall long before their opening day 0-0 draw with Sunderland, with the sale of Robin van Persie effectively being a white flag from Arsene Wenger and the club when it came to challenging for the Premier League title.

So they have £24 million in the bank? Who cares? Not supporters, who were used to beating United and finishing above them in the league a decade ago. It is now coming up to 11 years since Arsenal won the title at Old Trafford, and eight since they won a trophy of any kind.

Arsene Wenger may have famously said finishing fourth is a trophy, but we all know that while it is valuable, it isn't silverware, simply qualification to a trophy Arsenal are unlikely to win, and more money in the bank.

This state of affairs underlines just how much work Arsenal have to do to re-shape their squad. 

Buying and selling, this transfer window and next, if Arsenal are to win trophies and start challenging United- They need to think big and act big, and there is no time like the present.

image: © crystian cruz

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