For five seasons Arsenal has been all but out the race of winning the Premier League title with a country mile still left to run. Now the opportunity has arisen and to the challenge of bidding for a 14th league championship. 4 games, 2 weeks against the best of what English football has to offer that will shape and define a season and the credentials of Arsene’s young guns.
Starting with a Wednesday night clash at Villa Park, Arsenal will play Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool all quicker you can shake a dog’s tail.
Now would Arsenal fans watch the next few weeks in fear or see it as an opportunity to prove their desire for a title? So far this season they have bounced back into the race having suffered the heavy 3-0 defeat to Chelsea at home so personally I am excited to see how Arsenal will handle this significant period.
Looking at the opposition let’s start with Villa – worthy Carling Cup finalists, a team full of talented English players in Agbonlahor, Young, Downing and the best of them all: Milner. They are arguably the best counter-attacking team in England with pace to expose teams who try and bite off more than they can chew. But this style of football suits Villa when they’re away from home and the onus is on the opposition to take the game to them – this is why they have had difficulties with teams at home this season.
Man United, put simply, are weak in defence, mild in midfield and strong up front and that’s only due to the brilliance of Rooney. Sunday will have the usual passion and intensity this fixture always provides but United are there for the taking and will offer just as many chances as they will create – there will not be a better time to get at their arch rivals.
Chelsea and Liverpool offer different propositions, the ‘physical first play football later’ approach of Chelsea with all their boys back from ANC duty (minus Essien) against the ‘pick and mix’ of Liverpool week by week you are never quite sure what the Liverpool team will turn up.
Chelsea will naturally back themselves to get a result with their formidable home record. This possibly means the best Arsenal could hope for is a point, which in the big picture will be a job well done. As for the reds of Liverpool, a home win will be expected – especially if there is no Gerrard and Torres (G&T) available at the bar. However, in recent seasons Benitez has tactically got it spot on for Liverpool against Arsenal including a Champions League Quarter Final and their last two league visits – not a push-over despite their challenging season.
In a nutshell:
10+ points – The ‘Real Deal’ and could go all the way.
6-8 points – Good, but not good enough to be title contenders
5 points or less – Call up the youth squad, they can do better.
but in recent seasons Liverpool