In a week where Arsenal did not feature, the mood surrounding the club has been lifted by events elsewhere. Tottenham’s defeat to Liverpool and the fact that Chelsea will now have an additional match to play are two results which should serve as an encouragement to Arsenal. The Gunners will now have to make a very difficult trip to Germany to face current runaway Bundesliga leaders, Bayern Munich.
Tottenham’s inability to stretch their lead over Arsenal to 10 points might be regretted at the end of the season. While the seven-point gap is still a sizable one, the onus is still on Arsene Wenger’s men to win matches. Spurs’ defeat could have a bigger impact than a mere three points lost. I say this because this it is their first loss in the league since December 9 last year.
When a team is playing well and winning matches, it gives the players motivation and confidence going into matches. It is more pertinent when teams go on a long unbeaten run. Players run onto to the pitch with the belief that they cannot be beaten. The Red Devils had that in 2004 and it is no small matter. We all remember what happened when the run was ended at Old Trafford.
Despite netting twice, Spurs lost to Liverpool 3-2 in the weekend.
The same could happen to Tottenham and then their bubble could burst. With the right results - two more Spurs defeats - Arsenal will be right on their heels. Famous for their end-of-season collapse, this Anfield defeat might be the catalyst to start it off. Having said that, the Gunners must keep up their side of the bargain and that remains the toughest part.
Over the course of the 2013/13 Premier League season, the longest winning run that Wenger had was four matches and that only happened once. It looks rather impossible to picture Arsenal winning the last 10 games on the trot.
In all honesty, it might not have to be three points from all matches as Tottenham might still drop points. However, Walcott and Co. need to be racking up as many wins as possible, just to put as much pressure on those teams ahead - including Chelsea.
The reality is that from now until the end of the season, Arsene Wenger could ill-afford to rotate his players for the upcoming games. He simply has to select his best XI in every single match.
The other reason why there can’t be too many changes (by that, I mean more than one) between matches because the back-up or the second stringers are just not good enough. It’s debatable that some players have not progressed as well as they are expected, but even that, could be a fault in coaching. On the flipside, some players have limitations and it is not like they select themselves to play for Arsenal - that’s down to the manager.
There’s still the small matter of the Champions League second leg to contend with before the domestic league comes back into focus. Given the result of the first leg, I would see it best for Wenger to focus solely on the Premier League.