The mood at Arsenal is as low as it has been for a while, and it will be up to the manager Arsene Wenger and the players to try and bring a bit of joy to an already-done season when they host West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Thursday.
After a bright first half of the season, everything has gone rather pear-shaped for the Gunners, following a run where they managed just four wins in 13 games. As a result, from being top of the table in January, Arsenal fans find their club in another top-four battle, rather than a fight for the title.
With Arsene Wenger under serious pressure to change the fortunes of the club – and that cannot happen now, because the best Arsenal look like finishing now is third – the manager will hope to bring some smiles back to the faces of the fans on Thursday.
"I want our fans to be happy and when they are not it affects me," Wenger was quoted as saying by The Guardian. "You do not want to play in a negative environment, but if we do, we can still perform.
"We are responsible for the performance of the team and it is true that, at the moment, it is not a highlight but we have to take a distance with that. I hope in the next years, Arsenal will always play in the top three and, hopefully, people won't get disenchanted."
The main problem lies in the fact that no matter what promise Arsenal show at the start of the season, come the end, it all turns out to be all too familiar. While the players are to blame for caving under the pressure, the majority of the fault lies with Wenger, who, for all of his greatness in the late 1990s and early noughties, seems incapable of guiding a team to the league title.
With very little to play for West Brom in this game – they have as good as secured their place in the Premier League, while being nowhere close to competing for the European places – this should be a game that Arsenal should cruise. But then, the same thing was said for the Crystal Palace game on Sunday as well and quite a few before that.
So, unless Arsenal put this game to bed in the first half with three-four goals – two is not enough, as West Ham showed – expect a nervy, frustrated atmosphere at the Emirates until the final whistle.
Where to Watch Live
Arsenal vs West Brom is scheduled for a 7.45 p.m. BST (12.15 p.m. IST, 2.45 p.m. ET) start. Live TV coverage of the match in India will be on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD1,while the match can also be watched via live streaming online on Starsports online and Hotstar.
The Premier League match will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports 1, while the live stream option is on Watch Sky Sports.
Bein Sports Arabia 2 HD and Bein Sports Arabia 11 will broadcast the game live in the Middle East and North Africa, while the action can also be live streamed on Bein Sports Connect.
NBCSN will show the game live in the US, while the action can also be live streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra. Audience in Canada can watch the action live on Sportsnet World, with the live streaming option on Watch Sportsnet.