By support

24th Dec, 2016 | 4:42pm

Alan Shearer: This is how Arsenal will silence the critics

By Matt Farr

Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer believes Arsenal must win the title this season to silence their critics.

The Gunners were torn apart by the media after their back-to-back defeats to Everton and Manchester City last week, which left them trailing league leaders Chelsea by nine points.

They began the week in second-place, but after losing their grip on the title fight, questions are once again being asked over Arsenal’s title credentials.

In his blog for Coral, Shearer revealed how Arsenal can set about redeeming themselves.

He said: “Arsenal can only end all this talk about them being soft by going out and winning the title this season.

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“They didn’t play well against Liverpool on the opening game of the season, and they were nowhere near their best against Spurs and Manchester United either, so in three big games against the Champions League challengers, they have not impressed.

“Add to that, against Everton and Manchester City they didn’t compete when the opposition got in their faces, so teams will do that against them. They have to find a way of overcoming that if they want to win the title.

“They have to get all three points at home to West Brom on Boxing Day. Then they have to face Crystal Palace at home, who have a new manager, and Bournemouth away.

“Those are three games which they should be looking to take nine points from to get back on track and prove that they have the character for the title chase.”

The defeats to Everton and Man City brought to an end the Gunners’ unbeaten run in the league since the opening day defeat to Liverpool.

However, they have won just 10 of their 17 league games this season, which made their previous unbeaten record seem much less impressive.

The Gunners have reluctantly earned a reputation as ‘title chokers’ over the years, often building up a run of form that puts them firmly in contention for the Premier League title, only to throw it all away when the going gets tough.

Arsenal have not won the title since their triumph in 2004, but have finished in the top-four in every season since. However, titles are the ultimate prize for the north London club, and they are simply not providing it.

For Arsene Wenger to keep his best players at the club for the long-term – and to attract better players in the transfer market – he needs to reassure everyone that their title ambitions are less of a dream and more of a reality.

In other Arsenal news, teenager Reiss Nelson has tweeted his joy over signing a professional deal with Arsenal.