By Scott C. Mossman
This is crunch time. This is where we become Champions or not. Topping the table, earlier in the season, was a pleasant surprise and finally playing with consistency made the road ahead look much brighter. However, the future is now and the fixture list for the next two months puts that painful, anxious feeling back into the pit of my stomach. You know, that feeling when our fears were realized in recent seasons and we couldn’t bear to look at the trophy cabinet? We’ve reached the point of not being satisfied without achieving silverware. This isn’t a fight for fourth like last season. Is finishing second or third in the league an improvement? I think we all know we’d be disappointed with that.
Liverpool away, Manc off united, the European champions, Sunderland, Stoke, Swansea, Bayern again, Spuds, Chelsea away, and Man City (not to mention Everton at the start of April). I’ve thought about it a number of different ways. I’ve thought about how we might prioritize competitions, stack up a shocking injury list, or just not plain be good enough even without crumbling.
I think there are a couple of things we can all agree on. As fans, we can be realistic enough to know that the treble is not going to happen. Sure, anything is possible, but we’re just not going to win the treble. Secondly, there are three main things which need to happen in order for us to be successful.
1. Goals must keep coming from everywhere. Olivier Giroud is perfect for this team, but our style of linking him with the midfield play means others must step up and put the ball in the back of the net. We’ve done that recently, but with no main goal scoring threat we’re never really sure who is going to separate himself with a MOTM goal scoring performance.
2. We need Aaron Ramsey back and healthy. Aaron was the player of the season for the first half of the schedule. I think whether or not he can come back soon enough and continue with that sort of form will be vital to our title chances. A player in his form gets you points you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise plain and simple.
3. The backline. Bac, Per, Laurent, Nacho, Jenks, and Gibbsy have been incredible all season. Especially those first three. They are the difference between Europe’s second favorite team and something Tony Adams could be proud of. If Arteta and Flamini can continue to be effective and those guys stay fit we have every chance at winning the league. Let’s let City take the mantle of prettiest football with threat of getting hit on the counter at any given point this time.
Having said all that, I still can’t get away from prioritizing a bit. Part of me wants to push on and win the domestic double like the good ol’ days and part of me can’t let go of that 2006 European Final defeat. I know I want the league more than anything, though. Teams can win a cup competition with a few good draws and the odd upset or two. You don’t win the Premier League without being the very best over nine months. The table doesn’t lie. I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Come on you Gunners!
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