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December 17, 2018

Wow, Arsenal are officially second, I hope Wenger can keep us there

WELL DONE: Arsenal’s Theo Walcott (R) celebrates his goal against Aston Villa with Olivier Giroud
WELL DONE: Arsenal’s Theo Walcott (R) celebrates his goal against Aston Villa with Olivier Giroud

Thank you Liverpool for giving Arsenal a teenie bit of competition in the FA Cup. If the Reds had lost to Blackburn then Arsenal would already be celebrating defending her FA Cup title, but after we dismiss Reading next weekend and assuming Liverpool get past Aston Villa, then at least we’ll have a final worth watching.

I don’t understand why Liverpool would want to put themselves through the torture of playing us again, but we welcome the small challenge. Okay let me get serious now! Arsenal are officially second in the log and even though my fellow Gunners have been celebrating this all week, we completely comprehend that it won’t be easy staying there. Our title run-in reads like this: Burnley away, Chelsea at home, Hull away, Swansea at home, Manchester United away before we wrap up with two home games against Sunderland and West Brom respectively.

Given the way the Gunners played against Liverpool last weekend, I am not that worried, even knowing we have to face Chelsea and Man United won’t break my spirit. But we need to find that consistency that we so often lack in the league. In our favour, Arsenal tend to always finish the season on a high but that’s usually when we are chasing fourth position! Last season we were ruined by our January-February performance but then recovered from March onwards. I just hope our hunger to finish better than fourth for the first time since the 2011/12 season will spur us on. We need to solidify that second spot so that we don’t have to start our Champions League season early like we usually do. We broke the Man United curse when we beat the Red Devils in the FA Cup and what happens between now and the end of the season will have everything to do with inspiring the boys.

This is when manager Arsene Wenger needs to rise up to the occasion, to touch the hearts of the players and instil in them the will to win! Perhaps he should bring in a psychologist as well. There is little wrong with our game right now, it’s all up in our heads. Wenger’s team selection will also be extremely important to us now and with several big players like Jack Wilshere coming back from injury; it can only mean good things for the side. Wenger however, needs to trust the players who have been getting results for him; even as the likes of Wilshere have been injured. My biggest issue with Wenger’s selection is the fact he feels a need to start Danny Welbeck in every game.

While Welbeck hasn’t been all bad all season, Olivier Giroud is the name right now that needs to be first on the team sheet. I am once again going to give our manager the benefit of the doubt and trust at this moment: “Wenger knows best.” Note: at this moment. Don’t think I’ve forgiven Wenger just because he has gotten us where we are now. I wish instead of the FA Cup title we were challenging for the Champions League trophy; and instead of fighting for second position we were fighting for the top league spot; afterall, who remembers the bridesmaids after a wedding; it’s only the bride and her dress that everyone is usually talking about.

The fact that this time last season Arsenal had the exact same number of points; wins, losses and draws; also shows that it’s other teams that have fallen by the wayside and not us who have become better. For now though, it’s time to focus on getting 21 points out of the remaining seven league matches.

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