Man United away on Sunday afternoon, a big stage for a big game, that’s if you count a vital match in the race for the Top Five as a big game of course.
After our good performances and results post the Cynical One Cup Final there’s been a lot of talk of us getting into a Moneybags League place but, and believe me I’d love to be proved wrong, I think it far more likely that we’ll be battling it out with Man Utd and Southampton come the end of season rather than Woolwich and Liverpool.
The team that ends in fourth normally gets around 71-73 points (though the Gooners had 79 last year); we currently have 50 meaning that we’ll probably need to win at least 7 of our last 10 games. That’s quite a run for a team whose attack and defence are each carried on the shoulders of one man (not the same man thankfully). At the front we need someone else apart from Harry to start chipping in with goals more frequently than sporadically and at the back, the magnificence of Hugo does much to disguise the flimsiness of a defence who have kept just one clean sheet in the league in 2015. How fortunate we are to have Lloris gets forgotten sometimes as his genius is taken for granted. When Walker gave the ball away to Austin in the first half last week, I personally had no doubt in my mind that our man would come off better in the resulting one on one.
But cometh the hour cometh the Chadli as the saying goes. Or was it cometh the Townsend? Or maybe both. For us to take the leap forward we’re going to need then one of these (very probably, it’s unrealistic to expect Lamela, Dembele or Soldado to come so drastically good) needs to embark on a run of goalscoring similar to that which Super Pav did in 2010 when his 7 goals in February and March gave Bale the foundation to finish off the job of CL qualification.
The momentum given to the side by Kane since his introduction has now been matched and enhanced by Mason and Bentaleb to transform this side that currently we can’t get enough of but we need another lift if we’re going to snatch Wenger’s fourth place trophy from his grasp.
What better place to start than Old Trafford where we face one of our bunnies of recent seasons. Two victories in Manchester in the last couple of years mean that we go into this game full of confidence and, in what is a very pleasant change, no small amount of expectation. Despite the advantage of all the money spent plus no European football they are still only 3 points ahead of us. We all know of the injuries, suspensions and lack of form of Di Maria and Falcao to name but two but it’s up to us take advantage of any uncertainty in their side, in the manager and most definitely in the crowd.
Rose may come back into the side but otherwise it’ll almost certainly be the same eleven that started against QPR and it’s an eleven that will relish the opportunity to show what they can do once more I’m sure.
Even with Twattenburg in charge (why does he get this fixture so often when he cocks it up so regularly?) this is an occasion for Audere Est Facere if ever there was one especially with faltering Leicester at home next week.
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