We’ve just entered March and we’re (just about) still on target for what most fans’ minimum expectations would’ve been for this season.
After Sunday’s 2-0 win over Everton we’re in control of our own destiny to finish in the top four, there’s that terrifying game against Manchester United next Monday in the FA Cup and the doomed looking second leg to come against Monaco.
March is very much make or break for our season on these three fronts.
Our run of games in the league in March is arguably our easiest from the final months of the season, with two home games against Everton (tick) and West Ham and two away trips to the struggling QPR and the inconsistent Newcastle.
After the win against Everton, anything other than nine points from those remaining three games would be seen as a big disappointment in the chase for third.
It’s a great opportunity to give us some breathing space between United and Liverpool before we entertain the Scousers, who are still undefeated in the league in 2015, and a Chelsea team we just can’t beat ahead of next month’s fixtures.
We might even be able to close the gap on Man City in second. Stranger things have happened.
If we manage to get nine points from the next three games then we’d surely be favourites to finish third with just eight games remaining.
Drop points in any of those games and the prospect of having to get points at at home to Chelsea and Liverpool in April and at Old Trafford in May will not fill us Gooners with hope.
Next Monday we’re playing Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup quarter final.
I’m about as far from confident about this game as I could be.
Facing the worst United side in memory, we’ve played a post-Fergie United three times and won none of them. To make matters worse, in those games the only goal we managed to score was Giroud’s wonder-strike in injury time when we were already two down.
Surely we’re due a win against them lot, and we’re certainly owed a big performance in a big game from certain players, especially after the Monaco defeat.
Hopefully the motivation of beating United and staying on course to retain our trophy can help the team spring a surprise and prove me wrong.
My biggest worry is that another half-hearted performance and disappointing defeat in the cup game will have a lasting effect until the end of the season.
With not much room for error in the league, we can’t afford to lose focus if we stumble in the FA Cup.
Honestly, I’m more confident we’ll beat Monaco 3-0 at their place than the FA Cup game, speaking of which…
I’m sure I’ll be one of only a few but I can’t see why we can’t get a result at Monaco.
I know we’ve had some “heroic failures” in the Champions League recently (see the 3-0 win at home against Milan or Bayern away 2-0) but we appear to play a lot better when we are the underdogs in the Champions League.
No-one expected us to get close to Milan or Bayern after terrible first leg results but we made them nervous, pushed on like we had nothing to lose (at that point we didn’t) and so very nearly caused an upset. So why not now?
We’ve beaten better teams than Monaco when the odds have been against us and we’ve certainly got the players, so I’m going to stay optimistic, someone needs to be!
March is a month where I think most Arsenal fans will be expecting full points in the league and any progression in the cups as a bonus.
After February ended in such a whimper after so much optimism in January, here’s to hoping this squad can make up for it with a storming March!