By Walter Broeckx
If there is one good thing about this midweek fixtures then it is the fact that they are the ideal way to get rid of the disappointing result from the weekend. We had a bad day and several key players were below par.
It can happen but it was rather painful to see it happen over there. But that is football and maybe we were a bit too high after our last fantastic home win against Aston Villa. Thinking it will work out again and then dropping off even 10% can be costly as we found out.
But the players have a good chance to make up for it. And we can only hope that in the future the players will be even more focussed on the job and most of all just play better.
The number of times we got possession and then gave the ball away deep in our own half was staggering to see. And even when not under pressure our passing was too many times off the mark. And this was the case for many players. Too many players.
But the weekend is over and we have seen some other amazing results. Manchester City only snatched a point at home against Hull a team in the bottom three. Only in extra time Man City could score against Hull and this shows that each and every opponent in the PL is difficult; so take note Arsenal players for the visit of Leicester! We will have to be at our best and perform as we can.
Southampton also scored a late winner at QPR in extra time. QPR another team in the bottom 3. So again a good warning that it will not be easy unless we take our chances early on and perform at our best. Leicester themselves only lost by one goal against Crystal Palace. A win that gives Crystal Palace a bit of breathing space in the battle to survive in the PL.
So playing teams from the bottom 3 is not as easy as it looks at first sight. A team battling for survival can cause upsets. So we will have to be sharp from the start and impose our game on them. And take our chances when they come.
After looking at the other results of the teams who are fighting for a place in the top 4 it is amazing to see that there are only 7 points difference between the team in place 2 (Manchester City) and the team in place 6 (Arsenal). And if Liverpool can win against Tottenham at the same time we play Leicester they could also have 42 points and we would have 6 teams within that 7 points gap.
In the case of Liverpool winning or a draw we could jump up to 3rd place level with Southampton again. Southampton who have to play West Ham on Wednesday and West Ham also are a team that could still dream of getting in to a place for European football next year. West Ham United missing out on a win against Manchester United last Sunday after they conceded a goal in injury time. Lots of injury time goals it seems that decided the outcome of the matches in the weekend.
The other teams in that little group don’t have the easiest of matches. Manchester City going to Stoke is not the place you want to go when your form is not the best. As mentioned before Liverpool – Tottenham is a match that when the home team doesn’t lose will be a good result for Arsenal. Southampton – West Ham is a match where you wouldn’t mind our ex-player Song being on song.
The only team apart from Arsenal who have a more easy match ON PAPER is Manchester United who play Burnley at home. But as I said about our own match: there are no easy matches. As Burnley is just above the relegation zone and so will also be battling for survival.
A good win with more than 3 goals could take us up to 3rd place if some results going our way. But to do that our players will have to improve on what they did last weekend. We could do ourselves a big favour and try to score some early goals and then do like we did against Aston Villa and outclass our opponents. But playing too casual like we did at times this weekend cannot be allowed.
We don’t know yet if Alexis could and will be involved. I wouldn’t play him if there was the slightest doubt about his fitness. I think we should have more than enough in our locker to beat Leicester even without Alexis. And there are plenty of games to come in the next weeks and as the CL is coming back at the end of this month we sure could do with an Alexis being top fit and if possible in top form.
And talking about injuries I think that if all goes well Jack Wilshere will be back in full training from this Monday. After his serious injury sustained against Manchester United it will be good to have him battling again for a starting place. I hope he will be on fire from the start and lets keep our fingers crossed that he doesn’t end up being kicked to pieces again.
And as the manager said we still have 8 matches to play at the Emirates. So it will be vital to make our place a fortress for the rest of the season. And only 6 away matches and it will also be vital to dig in and get as many points as possible from those fixtures. And as there are lots of teams in contention for a top 4 place there will be many twists and turns from now till the end of the season. Let the loss of last weekend be the final wake up call.
Players and managers: we are counting on you! COYG
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