With Liverpool remaining ahead of us as the month of February approaches, we cannot afford to drop further points as we did against Southampton which was a great opportunity to put further pressure on the teams above us for a top 4 spot in the League.
With 14 games left in the season, all is not lost in our quest to finish in the top 4 however there is little room for error despite Liverpool’s surprise defeat to bottom of the table Swansea.
With Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal as our next three opponents in the League, these games could make or break our season. With our first leg game against Juventus in the Champions League, the opportunity is there for us to go on a similar run of form as we did this time last season where we won 13 of our last 16 League games.
The impending return of Toby Alderweireld will be a massive boost for the team who in the recent game against Southampton looked vulnerable in defence with Sanchez not looking as assured as he was early in the season and the right-back position still unresolved as to who should be the number one choice between Aurier and Trippier.
Our FA Cup 4th round tie against Newport County is a great opportunity to get through to the 5th round which would be ideal to give players such as Victor Wanyama and Erik Lamela an opportunity to get more game time. Both had a strong case for being included in the starting line-up against Southampton with Lamela far more likely to be the creative spark to unlock the Southampton defence than Sissoko in the absence of the much-missed Eriksen.
As an alternative to Dier, to see Wanyama partner Dembele in the centre of midfield against Southampton, would have given us an opportunity to see whether Wanyama is more effective in the role as the shield in our midfield to help protect our defence rather than just a cameo 5 minute appearance towards the end of the game.
It remains to be seen as to whether our squad for this season will be strengthened in the January transfer window but with the current squad, we have the quality to climb the table into a top four position and qualify for the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League. However, we will need to rediscover the solid defence which was the best in the Premier League over the last two seasons and play at a high-tempo which the team have demonstrated only in glimpses this season. But with more consistency throughout the last quarter of the season, we have an opportunity to make this season a very memorable one for the right reasons.
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