It may be tough for the players but as fans I think we all prefer games to come thick and fast. Being in only one competition doesn’t help to achieve that. Only one more midweek game for us till the end of the season, so there should be ample recovery period for the players.
However it’s also about momentum. Momentum that we’re in given the results of our recent winning run. Consecutive wins in game imbues confidence in any team and hopefully creates that unbeatable aura in the team. When I say that, I mean the spirit it creates in the team. Not that they should believe that they’re better than anyone else but the belief that they refuse to be beaten.
Aston Villa are the next opponent tonight and over at the Grove at least, they have enjoyed somewhat of a decent run. They were the first competitive visitors ever to this stadium and since then we’ve found it slightly tough to find a result against them at home. Though, some of those matches came at a period where result wise, we have nothing to play for except pride.
Over the years, they have been built up as a team with good counter attacking abilities but the arrival of Alex McLeish put paid to that. Of course the departures of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing also impacts that strategy. Once can expect Villa to try to prevent us from playing and just sit back defending. Set pieces will be what they’ll be looking for, so we have to avoid giving away silly fouls in dangerous areas.
As for us, we have the same squad as the one that travelled to Goodison Park. I would expect a similar line-up with perhaps one or two changes. The team that was set up there was meant to be a little more compact in midfield and perhaps we can throw a little caution to the wind. An introduction of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Gervinho would do just that. It would be unusual for us to be taking such little risk in a home game.
Arsene Wenger is right, we have now put ourselves in the position not to be worried about other team’s results. As long as we win our remaining games, we won’t be overtaken. It’s a big ask. Winning all our remaining games means we will be on a 15 / 16 games winning run, something resembling championship winning form. While it will probably do nothing for us this season, it augurs well for the next. Old adage but our next season could start here.
Villa are not in the best of forms but we still have to play to the level that we have produced in recent weeks. No more of that turning up expecting to win without any effort. We’ve got a pretty healthy squad now and if we don’t find the goals with the first choices, still plenty of decent options on the bench to call upon.
Shorter than usual post. Holiday post are usually that way. Enjoy the game wherever you’re watching. I will try to do so from Bangkok. Hoping for the run to continue.
Up The Arsenal.