Former Manchester United and England midfielder Paul Scholes appeared as a guest in the gantry on Sky Sports’ coverage of the Manchester derby on Tuesday evening and the Red Devils legend was not particularly complimentary of Arsenal and their chances in the Premier League title race.
Scholes had stated that the Gunners were “a million miles away from winning the title” to which the French coach responded:
"Look if six points is a million miles away I don't know what the translation of a mile into a point is. Everyone has opinions, even people who have managed zero games.”
Arsenal currently sit fourth in the Premier League table, six points off leaders Chelsea as they head into their showdown with rivals Manchester City at the Emirates on Saturday.
A defeat to the Citizens this weekend off the back of their 2-2 draw with Swansea in midweek and their 6-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge last weekend would surely put the nail in the coffin on their title hopes this term.
However, as the manager rightly states, a win for the North Londoners against City would narrow the gap between themselves and their rivals in third and there are still seven six games left to play in what is shaping up to be a closer than close race.
Arsenal are certainly not favourites given City’s two games in hand and the current momentum of both Chelsea and Liverpool but, as the coach asserted earlier this week, there may well be twists and turn yet in this title race which is far from over.
Even the most loyal of Arsenal fans would likely admit that Scholes has at least a fair point in his belief the Gunners are far away from the title but the manager is right to believe it’s not over yet – it was Wenger, after all, who once said “if you do not believe you can do it, you have no chance at all.”
It would take a lot of slip ups from the other challengers for the Gunners to be crowned champions in May, that’s for sure but with Chelsea and City still yet to face Liverpool, there is still the possibility that Arsenal could capitalize on the games left to play.
Even the league leaders themselves slipped up against Aston Villa, West Brom and West Ham in recent weeks, dropping five points in their last ten games. City dropped three points to Chelsea and a point against Norwich in their last ten and Liverpool dropped points against West Brom and Villa too.
The problem is, of course, and the reason Arsene Wenger’s side sit in fourth place, or as Scholes says ‘a million miles away’ from the title, is their own poor form in recent weeks – the Gunners have won just four of their last ten games and have dropped 12 points in that same period.
The manager clearly knows this and his point that Scholes is not a manager is, in my estimation, only reinforcing his point. In many ways, what is being widely reported as a ‘blast back’ at Scholes' statement is in reality an admission of resignation to it’s truth.