After some gritty performances over the last week or two, it feels like we have a real team spirit in the camp at the moment, with everyone fighting for each other. It also feels like ‘all the guns are pointing outwards’ at the moment as players, managers and fans alike all seem to be rounding on us while we fight to put them right.
There was the media furore where some journalist started crying when the Arsenal twitter account retweeted one of his tweets along with a slightly sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek gif. Then Mustafi laid into journalists after rumours about a move to Italy were ahem… less that true, prompting some expletives among some home truths. Added to the ‘controversial penalty’ this weekend against Burnley, which was a penalty, but the media are calling it unfair and saying Ramsey went down easy… ok mate.
It feels like we could really mount a good challenge to the teams above us over the next few games, beginning with Huddersfield Town this Wednesday night. I personally hate these midweek games which aren’t on TV. We always seem to mess them up, or labour to a less-than-convincing win.
I’m thinking of the Swansea game at home when we missed out on the chance to make up some real ground on Spurs and Leicester who both slipped up on the same night a couple of seasons ago. There was the games last year, Leicester at home which needed a late own goal to snatch all three points. There was also Palace A (lost 3-0), Watford h (lost 2-1), Everton A (lost 2-1), the list goes on. Let’s just hope Sunday’s win can give us the confidence we need to move further up the league by winning these midweek banana skin games.
This weekend we play Manchester United at home, another team who have, despite not playing the most entertaining football have been grinding results out and have moved up to second in the league, behind the unstoppable Man City. This will be an amazing game, with Wenger and Mourinho going head to head once more.
After that we have our final Europa League group game at home to BATE Borisov next Thursday, we have already qualified for the knockout stage as Group H winners, so a second string XI will definitely play that one out.
Then two tricky away games, Southampton and West Ham United, the latter another one which is midweek and we’ve seen how they like a London derby and have hurt Tottenham recently. Southampton games always seems to go one of two ways, a hefty win, or we don’t turn up and get turned over (a la Szczesny-smoking-a-fag-gate).
Following that, the unpredictable Newcastle come to The Emirates, followed by West Ham in the League Cup. After that 4 very difficult ties will show if we are going to mount a serious title challenge. We face Liverpool at home, Palace away, West Brom away before our first game of 2018, Chelsea at home. Then, January, the transfer window could destabilise our whole season should Arsene Wenger decide to cash in on Sanchez and Ozil, let’s hope this doesn’t happen.
Spurs have tricky games coming up, Leicester away this week, followed by Man City away and West Ham at home before Christmas. City themselves have Spurs (obvs), have to go to Old Trafford and also play Liverpool in the new year. United have City (obvs), have to come to The Emirates, and also have to go to Leicester and Everton in the next few weeks, with Wembley still to visit in January. Liverpool, who were unlucky not to beat Chelsea this weekend have a Merseyside derby in December before also coming to The Emirates ahead of Man City in January.
So with all of these chances for our rivals to slip up, we need to make sure we do our part, and keep on winning all of our games, especially the home ones. Fingers crossed we can get a result with these next two more-than-winnable games and close the gap on Manchester United.