Reuters Soccer Blog

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What is Arsenal’s future?

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By Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade

It is a bit early to single out Manchester rivals United and City as the only title contenders this season, but it appears highly likely that Arsenal will not be among the chasing pack now headed by the new-look Liverpool and Chelsea.

What is more, the 8-2 hammering the Gunners suffered at Old Trafford suggests that Arsene Wenger’s side might even struggle to finish in the top six, unless the Frenchman can swiftly turn around their fortunes.

Crippled by early injuries to some regular starters and even more so by the departure of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, Arsenal were so off the pace for most of the match that their fans will want to forget as soon as possible.

With the team’s vertebrae boiling down to inconsistent and injury-prone Dutch striker Robin Van Persie, Wenger faces a mammoth task of rebuilding his side which is now a far cry from the 2003-4 Invincibles who won the league title without losing a match and stretched their unbeaten record to 49 games the following season.

So fans need instructions on scarf-waving now?

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Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium gleamed in the sunshine on Saturday as the north London side produced an exhilarating display to beat Portsmouth 4-1 in the Premier League.

The impressive structure, wedged into a densely populated part of the capital, is one of England’s finest club grounds but many of the 60,000 fans sat on their comfy plastic seats would have pined for the old Highbury ground just across the road.

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