ARSENE Wenger could hardly believe it when he was presented with the Barclays Manager of the Month gong last week.
Rewind a few days and he was the top candidate for the Flop of the Season award.
Funny how a good thumping (the 5-2 win over Spurs) can make one see clearly. Take out the Champion’s League mauling and the FA Cup dumping, Arsenal actually had a good run in February – unbeaten in their Premier League campaign.
AC Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng got it spot-on when he said Arsenal are “either brilliant or don’t know what they’re doing”.
True, it has been really frustrating for Gooners to predict which Arsenal would turn up on match day.
Thank God, the last few games showed that the brilliant Arsenal, the team who know what they are doing, might just be staying on for the rest of the season.
The fairy-tale ending did not materialise on Tuesday, but many Gooners were willing to forgive their team. They had, after all, done their best to claw their way back into the Champions League only to lose out by a single goal to AC Milan.
No matter what, the romance is back … now that the Gunners have managed to put some – ok, a teenie weenie – distance between them and the other Top Four contenders with 11 matches to go.
It goes without saying that it is absolutely crucial that the right Arsenal turn up at the Emirates to play Newcastle on Monday.
The Gunners enter the clash high on a three-match winning streak and will be raring to reinforce their claim on the final CL berth, and stay on Tottenham’s coat-tails.
The last time they met, Arsenal could not break through Newcastle’s defence. They were without key creative players in midfield after Wenger left want-away Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri on the bench.
This time around, they have a resurgent Tomas Rosicky stepping up to that role next to Mikel Arteta. If Rosicky can continue his form, along with RVP of course, Arsenal will more than trouble the Toons.
Another improvement in the team is the maturing goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, whose safe hands have helped shore up Gunners’ leaky defence somewhat. So I say 3-1 to the Arsenal.
n Since it was International Women’s Day on Thursday, Hariati gives a shout out to the Arsenal Women’s Team who have been bringing home the trophies the past six years.
- Magpies will feel wrath of the Blue Machine
- A raving Red marriage of convenience
- Gunners need another Spur-ring display
- Return of the King
- No shortage of confidence