There should be a moratorium on statements like Samir Nasri's who before the Sunderland match came up with a bold prediction.
'We have the best schedule,' said Nasri. 'United have to play Liverpool, Chelsea and come to the Emirates. They play at Liverpool without Vidic and Ferdinand so something can happen.
'If we are on our game against Tottenham (Arsenal's game in hand), we can be on top. That's why we can win the title.'
The problem is that Arsenal despite these verbal bromides have yet to buckle up and show us that they control their destiny when the occasion demands. They have been helped by other clubs like Wolves, Chelsea, and most recently Liverpool in their effort to take over Man Utd. But when it comes to creating their own impetus they've been found sorely wanting.
On 5th February, United were on 54 points after Wolves ended their unbeaten streak. With Arsenal on 49 points the Newcastle match presented a golden opportunity to close the gap with the league leaders.
In a match marked by a self implosion of epic proportions, the Gunners blew a four goal lead and at the end barely managed to salvage a draw. With the extra two points, the Gunners could've been just a point off United's current total of 60 points. An enervated display against Sunderland saw them drop points again. A favourable result would have swung them two points ahead with a game in hand.
Without the stimulant of the Chelsea and Liverpool wins, the Gunners would have little realistic chances of winning the league.
It does not get easier going forward. They face Spurs, Liverpool, and Man Utd in short order. And their rear is exposed with City and Chelsea showing no signs of going away Statements like Nasri serve no purpose other than lulling the squad into a sense of dangerous complacency. The first sign of opposition resistance has led to disappointingly effete and timorous displays.
Arsenal will be better served plugging into Charlie Sheen's twitter feed. The man has become an overnight cultural phem - a Colonel Kurtz type living on a very rapidly diminishing island of sanity with his stream of consciousness followed by millions. Just a sampling:
''Tiger blood will drip from my veins . . . defeat is not an option."
"My passion. My passion. If you borrowed my brain for five seconds, you'd be like, 'Dude! Can't handle it, unplug this bastard!' ''
''I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man.''
Wenger's boys to men have to play each match possessed by the very demons who've infected Sheen's membrane. Play with tiger blood and without defeat as an option. Only then will they throw off the banality of failure.