I made four conclusions from an Arsenal-free weekend of football. They were:
- John Terry is a deplorable sportsman.
- No matter how they try to change, Spurs will always be Spurs.
- Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez are wonderful footballers.
- Manchester United will not win the league this season.
I want to talk about the fourth conclusion today.
United’s draw with Blackburn means that Wednesday night’s game is the most important of Arsenal’s season.
It is the most difficult of our final five fixtures, against our fiercest rivals who will be furiously licking their wounds after a demoralising defeat to Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-final.
They have a run of three tough fixtures in a row – against us, United and Chelsea – and know that a home fixture against our boys is probably the best chance to get three points.
With a Champions League spot up for grabs they will be well and truly up for it, even if they haven’t beaten us in the league for ten seasons.
Despite losing heavily to Barcelona in the Champions League an eight-day break will have allowed our boys to prepare both mentally and physically for this one.
With Chelsea likely to beat Bolton on Tuesday we are likely to go into the game six points and a hell of a lot of goal difference behind, so nothing other than a win will be acceptable.
Chelsea will not drop many points (if any) before the end of the season but we need to keep the pressure on if we are to capitalise on any slip-ups.
I believe we can win all of our last five games if we beat Spurs on Wednesday. Blackburn away will be difficult, as will Manchester City at home, yet I believe a derby win will give us a significant boost.
If we don’t I think we will fall away.
More derby day thoughts and team news in tomorrow’s post.
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