I caught the last 20 minutes of the Stoke v Tottenham game yesterday (more out of boredom than anything) and like a kick in the balls, Arsenal’s favourite “striker” scored the winner with a few minutes remaining. He scored against Chelsea as well midweek and is certainly “in form” at the moment. Although he’s been pretty crap for the rest of the season.
The way Tottenham celebrated the goal was that of a team that knew anything less than 3 points was not enough. They celebrated the winning goal like they truly believed that they were going to finish in Top Four.
So it’s time for Arsenal to burst their bubble.
There’s no doubt that we are in the better position as we have it all in our own hands, but if we slip up with our game in hand it’s curtains for us. We host FA Cup winners tomorrow evening and it doesn’t matter how we win, we just need to get all 3 points. People say they will be hungover from celebrating their historic FA Cup victory but I think they will be on a high and give us one hell of a game. Nothing less than 110% from us will be enough as Wigan are fighting for their lives and will be hugely encouraged by beating Manchester City on Saturday. Make no mistake, they thrive in the underdog role.
And from Tottenham’s celebrations after scoring the winner and at the final whistle, it is clear that they honestly believe that we will lose points and they’ll nick 4th spot.
Some Arsenal fans think we’ll give Wigan a hammering at The Emirates but they way results have gone, Wigan need the 3 points as badly as we do. A draw for Arsenal means we’re a point behind Tottenham with 1 game remaining and a draw for Wigan means they are effectively relegated, given Sunderlands vastly superior goal difference.
So tomorrow will be full of tension. The game will be a real battle of mental strength as the longer the game goes being 0-0, the harder both teams will find it. Wigan know that if it’s all square after 60 minutes Arsenal will have no choice but to throw everything forward and go for it – meaning we’ll be leaving gaps at the back. The only way we will breath easy tomorrow is if we score an early goal and build on that. But recently, we haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders.
So Arsene’s decision to play in the attacking third is as vital as it’s ever been. There’s no time for Gervinho to miss 4 or 5 sitters from close range, for Theo to endlessly run into opposition defenders and for Arsenal to waste chance after chance.
The terms mental strength and focus are banded around a lot but this time we need these in abundance.