Arsenal were due to play Aston Villa at Walsall FC on Sunday but the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and our competitors took advantage of it by winning their games.
It all means the Arsenal now trail leaders Chelsea and Manchester United by nine points and are nearly out of the title race.
They also trail Manchester City by four points now.
It is fair to saw the next couple of games will make or break the Gunners’ season.
First, there is a must win game at home to City on Sunday 7 February, followed by another must win away game to Chelsea.
Getting six points out of those two games would bring Arsenal back in contention for the title. Getting four points would keep our Champions League challenge alive and put us in a good position.
Getting three points against City and a defeat at Chelsea would keep us fighting for the third Champions League place, but not in a great position.
Getting three points at Chelsea, but none against City, would not really help really.
Less than three points would be saying bye to bye the Champions League and a very busy summer with the potential of a full rebuild with many departures from the club.
Missing out on the Champions League for two seasons in a row would certainly mean tough questions have to be asked about the players and the staff.
There is no doubt that Arsenal can beat Manchester City on Sunday. All the players will be rested after two Sundays off and actually might be a bit rusty. Although it won’t be the same rustiness as the we saw away to Reading a couple weeks ago. That was more on the sharpness side of the things, while fitness was a huge problem away to the Royals.
With the squad at near full strength, there will be many options for Joe Montemurro to choose from and counter an excellent City team that has shown great form in recent games.
Arsenal will have to control City’s main threat in Sam Mewis in midfield with Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp in attack. City’s main weakness was in defence and they added the US WNT World Champion, Abby Dahlkemper, during the January window, which makes total sense.
Arsenal are good enough to beat City if the 11 players perform very well on the day and that would set the team up well for the Wednesday’s game away to Chelsea.
There is no doubt that it will be a tough game, coming up barely three days after the City one. You would expect Joe Montemurro to rotate three or four players overall and play quite a conservative tactic, rather than the usual attacking game.
With Chelsea, you are in often in more danger when you are on the ball than off it. They can press extremely well in the opposition third or mid-pitch area and hit you on the break with their quick forwards. With every error, the opposition’s quality on and off the ball means a goal opportunity is only a few seconds away.
Arsenal’s usual build-up play has come under pressure in previous games and will certainly need some tinkering, unless players can produce something like they did last year in the Conti Cup final.
They played superbly and created many chances but were denied by a fantastic Ann-Kathrin Berger. The big question is can Arsenal maintain that energy level three days after a huge City game?
It is now time for the Arsenal players to stand up, work hard for each other and deliver the performances that will bring the needed three points in both games.