The Gunners are in the best period of their present campaign, having won five of their last six fixtures and drawn the last.
Going into Sunday’s game against Manchester United, the Gunners boast an impressive record, considering the fact that they will be playing at home. Their top form, however, will be overshadowed by Robin van Persie’s return to the Emirates, headlining every news article that has to do with the clash of the two Premier League giants.
Arsene Wenger has cleared the air on the issue concerning a guard of honour for the newly crowned champions, insisting the tradition will be adhered to by his players.
But United who are on the verge of breaking Chelsea FC’s record of 95 points in one season (the highest points ever in an EPL season) insists none of the remaining four matches will be toiled with. They aim to gather the possible 12 points from those four matches.
“Having won the league, it’s always a danger of falling into the trap of it’s all over and we can relax and enjoy ourselves. We have got a duty to other clubs who are chasing the Champions League,” Sir Alex Ferguson prompted, ahead of Sunday’s clash at the Emirate.
Breaking Chelsea’s record will involve winning Sunday’s match at the Emirate and Chelsea’s (the record holder) trip to Old Trafford next weekend. Both games against two teams vying for a top four finish. Guess you now understand what Sir Alex meant when he talked about his team having ‘a duty’ against other clubs.
However, Arsenal’s form going into Sunday’s clash looks much better than United’s. United have lost and drawn one match each of their last six matches. Remember the loss at home to Manchester City, a team more likely to achieve a top four finish this season? How better suited is Manchester United to play a ‘spoiler’s’ role?
Sir Alex will call up the old guards of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand against an Arsenal team that will not be lacking options in the attack, even as Olivier Giroud starts his three- match ban. The Scot is likely to rest Michael Carrick and Jonny Evans with Javier Harnandez and Danny Welbeck both in contention.
Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski remains sidelined; Wenger will rely on Szczesny’s safe hands. Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski will both be pressing for a central attacking role.
Nevertheless, United stands to lose nothing if they fail to play the spoiler. Rather either of Arsenal or Chelsea will be grateful to the team. Should they play the spoiler; Tottenham Hotspur stands to gain. But not after their two- all draw at the DW stadium on Saturday. Hence, every Champions League hopefuls should forget the spoiler and play their games, as this is another critical point of the season when every game counts for every team.
A repeat of last season’s corresponding fixture at the Emirate stadium will not help the gunners’ fight for a Champions League slot. An 81st minute Danny Welbeck’s goal gave United the desired three points, after Van Persie had equalised for the home team. Guess Wenger must have thought about that when he said, “It’s an interesting opportunity to achieve something special.”