Arsenal Have To Ignore Tottenham To Avoid Falling Off The Wagon
So I think we're now officially into what pundits refer to as the 'business end' of the season, and if we Arsenal to leapfrog Tottenham in the coming weeks the message must simply be this: Keep up the good work.
In spite of one of the craziest seasons in Wenger's 16 and a half years in North London, we could still see put an abject few months behind us and finish above one, and maybe two, London rivals – positive thinking has a place, let's remember Munich. Most important though is that we work to maintain our Champions League status. Against the odds. Yet again.
True, if we've learned anything in the time since September it's that this Arsenal team is capable of anything but predictability. But that the Emirates is a sell-out for the visit of Reading, and that Nigel Adkins' last visit saw his team concede six, could both be taken as reasons to be positive. Even so there is simply no place or time for complacency. We're running out of fixtures and another dip could prove fatal.
Seeking more confidence and the stat of the Gunners' one defeat in seven shimmers seductively. So too does the game in hand over our North London rivals, and the measly four points separating us (gap, what gap?). And of course, who's to say, perhaps Swansea can claim a point or three as they welcome the second of two North London teams in two consecutive home ties.
“We want to continue our form”, says Wenger, and for all the tasty sound-bites and rather more interesting things he might have said in his pre-game presser this week, the simplest make the most sense. Let's look at another quote: “We know that if we are consistent we will do it”. Hardly the most inspiring rhetoric, but on current form the belief is palpable.
Wenger also insists that players and fans do not focus on Tottenham, yet who could resist keeping an eye out? After all it's hard not to sense a change of fortunes for the two teams of late. Tottenham's every slip could be to our benefit if we just maintain a metronomic approach.
However, there is still sense in ignoring what Spurs are up to. We've spent much of the season seemingly distracted. The exits from all cups, and the Premier League being well out of reach put pay to that, but I can't help but having noticed a change in focus of the squad. It's coincided with a change of personnel, and a 'freshening up' may have forced a renewal in the ranks, but whatever the reason it needs to continue.
Another clean sheet and a solid victory is exactly what we need from this game. Hopes of a drubbing may be forming in some predictions and I'd welcome one. But let's not be overconfident; there's the lingering fear we might yet fall off the wagon, and an effective, consistent Arsenal is now far more important than one epitomised by free-scoring erraticism.