Arsenal are not enjoying the best of times at the moment, but they will soon come face-to-face with a player who appears to be back to his best.
Any hope restored in Arsenal fans following the club’s emphatic victory over Sunderland appeared to be swiftly swallowed by the disappointment of losing away to Stoke City on Saturday.
While Arsenal are still only four points behind league leaders Chelsea, Liverpool have overtaken the Gunners, and Manchester City will do the same if they win their games in hand.
In truth it is impossible to say if this is a good or bad season for Arsene Wenger’s men until it is over. Yes, there is some serious discontent among a section of supporters after the manager failed to sign a quality striker in January, but for now they remain in contention for three trophies.
Well, at least they remain in three competitions, which optimists will see as the same thing and pessimists as just another disappointment waiting to happen.
Currently 2-0 down to Bayern Munich after the first-leg of their last-16 Champions League clash, it will take an almighty effort to beat the reigning European champions in their own backyard. But they did it last year, so why not a repeat?
Unfortunately the dreamers among the Arsenal faithful have been dealt another blow with the return to form of a player who was among Europe’s very best last season.
Arjen Robben has taken some time to rediscover his goal-scoring form after returning from a minor injury suffered back in December. But the former Chelsea player announced he was back to his glittering best against Schalke this weekend, scoring a hat-trick in a 5-1 Bundesliga victory.
Robben may not have scored in the first match against Arsenal, but he did play a vital role in the outcome, fouled by Wojciech Szczesny who was promptly dismissed. But now he appears to be well and truly back on the goal-scoring trail, making it even harder for Wenger’s side to overcome a team who on form – which is now more often than not – are truly devastating.
image: © Lorenzo Blangiardi