That’s one third of the season gone already. The 2 months in between May and August passes really slowly without football and yet almost 4 months have elapsed since the start of the season. After 13 games, Arsenal sit pretty in second place just 2 points off leaders, Chelsea. The top four sides are only separated by 6 points as we head into the hectic schedule that normally is at the end of the year.
Given our exploits and the manner in which we won at Wolves and Everton, it would not be unfair to say that perhaps this is a different Arsenal team than the ones that have failed to win any trophies the past 5 seasons. There seemed to be more grit about the team and just about enough resilience to see out any game. Rather surprisingly, this view is shared by both Bacary Sagna and Phil Neville.
I do believe that we have to tread with caution here. There has already been so many times in the past where we taught a certain result or after going on certain runs, that it seemed that this Arsenal have turned the corner. I, myself falls victim to that. Arsene Wenger and his players will have to take it a step at a time.
Usually we are very comfortable at home and exactly the opposite on our travels. Results thus far has not matched that statement. Arsenal have lost just the one time away at Stamford Bridge and has already lost twice at the Grove. No team wins the Premier League without being good on the road. However, it must also be noted that no team wins the league without making their home ground a fortress either.
There’s a chance to rectify our abysmal home record this Saturday against Sp*rs. It is the North London Derby and probably for the first time in many many years, this fixture has a lot more bragging rights riding on it. They have qualified for the first time to the Champions League proper and seemed hell-bent to install Gareth Bale as the king of the world. I’m sure the Arsenal players themselves share our views in thinking that a good hiding would put them in their place once again.
That match is only the first of a crucial period for us. 10 more games until the end of the year. That run also includes a visit to Villa Park, a trip to Old Trafford and a home encounter with Chelsea. It’s basically a game every couple of days. It helps when we have a big squad. If I may add, a big and fit squad.
At this point in time, only Abou Diaby and Thomas Vermaelen remains on the crocked list. It is not exactly a clean bill of health for the entire squad but it is probably the first time in many seasons that we’ve had this few players out injured at one particular time. One look at our bench at Goodison Park and compared that to the one Chelsea had in their loss against Sunderland and it would be hard to argue that they have a better squad than us.
The journey is only starting now. From now on we cannot afford any more slip-ups. It is of course easy to sit here and say that if we had not lose to WBA and Newcastle at home, we would have been top by now. Mind you, these two games had us as huge favourites and yet we fumbled. No more strolling around the ground expecting wins. Arsenal need to put in the same amount of effort and desire that they showed against Everton on a daily basis.
Here’s to an Arsenal injury-free day for the international matches. Till tomorrow.