From the next game, every single point they drop could decide the title in favour of Manchester United and the Gunners will need to win all the remaining fixtures in order to keep the destiny of the title race in their hands. There are already a section of Arsenal fans who do feel that Wenger can only take them this far and it requires a new manager who can drive them to trophies. However, the majority of the Arsenal board and the majority of the fans are prepared to give time for the French tactician, who is the greatest modern-day manager in the history of the club.
Arsene Wenger has often admitted his desire in keeping Andrei Arshavin at the club but the Russian is yet to sign an extension to his current contract, which expires at the end of the next season. Arsenal are a club which is run on a sound business model and it would make financial sense to sell Arshavin if he refuses to commit his immediate future to the club.
The Russian has impressive statistics to his name and is currently Arsenal's leader in terms of assists. However, his performances have not been consistent and he has come under scrutiny for some below-par performances. However, since the goal against Everton after coming on as a substitute, Arshavin has been close to his best and has played with a lot of confidence that was missing in the earlier part of the season.
Competition from Walcott
Despite his good performances, he is not assured of his place in the eleven due to the emergence of Theo Walcott who is currently injured. Walcott has performed admirably this season and has adds a new dimension to the team with his pace and direct running at defenders. At the age of 21, Walcott needs to play regularly and has justified the faith shown in him by the manager this season.
Nasri has been in sensational form this season which has earned him a place in the starting 11 whenever he has been fit. The Frenchman's versatility has also worked in his favour as he has played many games in different positions for the Gunners. However, if the midfield trio of Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and Jack Wilshere are fit, then that would leave only the slots for wingers available.
Arshavin has been benched for some games this season and he has admitted that it has been tough for him. He is a player who thrives on confidence and has the ability to change the game with his brilliant creativity but his inconsistency has led him to be dropped in favour of English International Theo Walcott.
The Cesc Fabregas Situation
At the moment, it is debatable whether Barcelona will make efforts to sign the Spanish midfielder this summer. However, if they do try to sign and Cesc Fabregas is interested in the move, it is likely that Arsene Wenger will grant him the move he covets and could be playing in a Barcelona shirt next season. The Frenchman is not the type to spend big money to sign a replacement for Fabregas and there is a possibility that Nasri could play in that role.
In that case, Arshavin will be Arsenal's first choice winger on the left and he will be provided with many opportunities. However, Wenger could also promote either Jack Wilshere or Aaron Ramsey which would mean Nasri and Walcott would continue on the wings. Arshavin would be an extremely useful player to have if the influential Fabregas leaves the club as the Russian has the armoury to unlock any defence in the world.
Arshavin's Experience Invaluable to the Team
This Arsenal team has a number of players who have not won many trophies and do not have enough experience at the top level. Arshavin is a senior International who has captained his team in many big games and his experience could be invaluable to the team. Also, he has the ability to influence the team when the chips are down and that is a characteristic which many youngsters could lack at the top level.
It is evident that Arshavin is an influential player for the Gunners even if he is not in the best form and that is the primary reason why Arsene Wenger would like to hold on to the creative Russian. Arshavin's experience could help in the title run-in and he could have a major impact on the team.
Promising Prospects: Ryo Miyaichi, Carlos Vela and others
Arsenal have a number of talented youngsters who could stake a claim for the left midfield and some of them are on loan in order to gain experience at the top level. Ryo Miyaichi,who was loaned out to Feyenoord, is currently in excellent form producing some exciting performances for the Dutch club. It is clear that Miyaichi needs to develop more physicality and also, another loan spell would suit him to hone his skills better. He is an undoubted talent but one more year of regular top level football would make him more suited for Arsenal.
Carlos Vela has been loaned out to West Brom but he has not enjoyed much playing time which is strange considering he has performed quite well when given the opportunity. Vela needs more playing time before he can challenge for first team places or else, he could only be a squad players.
There are other youngsters like Henry Lansbury, Connor Henderson and Jay Emmanuel Thomas who are quite talented but it will be some time before they can be integrated into the first team.
Arsene Wenger is a manager who does not like to spend much on a player and there are not many wingers in the world who could replace a quality player like Arshavin in the Arsenal team. If Wenger does identify his transfer targets, it is likely to cost him quite a big amount. Eden Hazard was one of the targets but his recent long term contract with Lille indicates he will not be moving this summer.
Arsenal need Quality Players to Win Trophies
The Gunners are in the midst of a frustrating title drought which adds to the pressure on this young team. In this situation, it is better for Arsenal to hold on to their quality players who can win games with their brilliance. Andrei Arshavin is a quality player who has the ability to notch important goals and also, contribute in breaking down may defences with his superb creativity.
Arsenal are in a strong financial position and are in no need to sell their best players. If Arshavin does not sign a new contract, it is better to lose him at the end of the next season which will hopefully add trophies to the cabinet. By the end of next season, the likes of Miyaichi, Lansbury and Vela would have been better equipped to deal with the challenges at the top level and can fill the void left by Arshavin.