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Transfer Rater: Chris Smalling to Arsenal


Wojciech Szczesny should return


Arsenal's most damaging spells under manager Arsene Wenger

We seem to have arrived at that part of the season when the mocking taunts of "Same old Arsenal" ring out with increasing frequency as Arsene Wenger's side capitulate in all competitions at once.

The Gunners' disappointing 2-1 loss to Swansea on Wednesday gave them their first three-game losing streak since 2010, but the feeling of hitting a season-destroying rough patch is all too familiar for Arsenal fans. Their Premier League title challenge is stuttering, they need a miracle against Barcelona to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the Champions League, and even Championship side Hull were able to force an unwanted FA Cup replay by holding on for a 0-0 draw at the Emirates.

While there is still time to turn things around on all three fronts, history suggests Arsenal will struggle to do so. Here is a look at some previous poor spells under Wenger, and the impact they had on the club's season.

February 2007

Arsenal midfielder Denilson and his teammates show their disappointment after losing to Chelsea in 2007.

A classic example of the February blues for Arsenal, as the Gunners lose in the FA Cup, Champions League and League Cup final in an eight-day span. Wenger's men first fall to a 1-0 defeat at PSV Eindhoven in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 matchup, and are then beaten 2-1 by Chelsea in the League Cup final five days later. To round it off, Mark Hughes' Blackburn side win an FA Cup replay 1-0 the following Wednesday. When PSV earn a draw in the return leg, Arsenal are left to focus on the fight for fourth place in the Premier League.

February-April 2008

William Gallas' was visibly upset after Arsenal let slip a lead at Birmingham in the 2007-8 season.
Arsenal captain William Gallas was inconsolable after his side lost late at Birmingham in 2008.

Arsenal led the Premier League table by five points in February, only to suffer one of their most famous collapses. After a demoralising 4-0 loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup, Arsenal throw away a lead to draw 2-2 at Birmingham in the league a week later, leading to then-captain William Gallas' infamous sit-down protest, in a match also marred by a serious leg break suffered by Eduardo. That is followed by three more league draws before a loss to Chelsea leaves their title challenge in ruins. Arsenal go on to lose 4-2 at Liverpool in the return leg of the Champions League quarterfinals in early April to complete the meltdown, and finish third in the league -- just four points behind champion United.

April 2010

Arsenal were hammered 4-1 in the return leg of their Champions League tie with Barcelona in 2010.

This month saw Arsenal's most recent three-game losing streak and another disappointing finish to a once-promising season. After drawing 2-2 with Barcelona at home in the Champions League quarterfinals, Lionel Messi scores all four goals in the return leg as the Spanish giants win 4-1 to eliminate Wenger's team. The next week sees Arsenal lose at North London rivals Tottenham and then at Wigan as well. After a 0-0 draw with Manchester City in their next game, Arsenal fall to a fourth straight away loss at Blackburn. With just four points from their last five league games, Arsenal finish 11 points behind winner Chelsea in third place.

Start of 2014-15 season

Manchester United won 2-1 at Arsenal in November 2014.

Entering the campaign, there were high hopes that this could be Arsenal's season. Wenger had finally ended his nine-year title drought by capturing the FA Cup title in May and Arsenal swept aside Manchester City 3-0 in the Community Shield. But after an opening home victory, Arsenal earn just one league win in their next seven games to fall hopelessly behind in the title race. For good measure, they lose to Southampton in the League Cup and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League during the same span. By the time Arsenal turn things around after Christmas it is too late. The Gunners finish 12 points behind champion Chelsea in third place.

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.


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