Our worst enemy is our own feckless capitulation.
In any other season taking four points from away games to Leicester and Burnley would have been regarded as a good return. But as we are chasing the pack for European tickets for next season, those two points dropped unnecessarily at Turf Moor have deflated us more than it should have done. We need to get on top of our emotions again and believe in the team and our cause.
The European games are a good chance for silverware, but as Arteta is mainly building a team for next season I reckon we will fall short of making it to the final, unless the boys play at their very best and Lady Luck is on our side. It is great that we are still in this competition and I am looking forward to Thursday’s encounter against Olympiacos in Greece. What I am not prepared to do is give up on the League just yet.
I said at the start of the season that the first third would be the hardest one and the last third would be relatively easier for us. We have now gone into that final third with just eleven games to go. Next up are the horrible Spuds and, for various reasons, it will be hard to get all three points from this one. Look at it as a bonus game. After that we will have ten games from which we can get a lot of points based on a good run. I am always a guy who believes in OGAAT – one game at a time – but it is now also important to provide us with perspective: a good run of results is definitely possible and this could mean a decent finish in the league given the circumstances.
After the Spuddies, who luckily also face European opposition this Thursday, we will play: West Ham, Liverpool, Sheffield United, Fulham, Everton, Newcastle, West Brom, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Brighton.
I believe that all of these teams could take points from us but also that we can take points of all these teams. Furthermore, a victory over Pool (will be hard), West Ham, Everton and Chelsea will in effect be a six-pointer and pull us up with three points against that particular team. There are a lot of teams in those last ten games that are fighting against relegation and they will not make it easy for us, but they can be overcome. Arsenal have the quality and just need to add the discipline and killer-instinct. Unlike the Spuds, who like mushrooms need wet, dank darkness to thrive, Arsenal get usually better when the sun comes out and nature offers us hope again.
The Chavs are currently in fourth position (50 points) and above them are the struggling Foxes (53). They have played a game more than us and we are 12 and 15 points behind them respectively. This is of course a big gap but with the game in hand and still playing the Chavs, Arsenal could halve the deficit in just two games. The Foxes are further away but they could continue to have a bad run, so we must not give up. Of course there are other teams above us with whom we would have to compete for a top four/top six finish but there are still 33 points to be won or lost by us, and who knows where it all may end?
We have an almost fit squad and if both Partey and ESR, or at least one of them, can get back to full fitness levels we really have a good chance to go on that winning run and maybe make it into the Top-Four. Our worst enemy is our own feckless capitulation.
C O M E O N Y O U R I P R O A R I N G
G U N N E R S