Monday, 13 April 2015

Arsenal Beat Burnley And Face Reading Next

Another weekend over and yet another Premier League win for Arsenal as they won 1-0 away to struggling Burnley on Saturday evening. It was their eighth league win in a row and the best winning streak of any team in the Premier League so far this season. It means they stay second and seven points behind Chelsea, but it looks like there's not enough games left for them to catch up.

While Arsenal may not have been overly impressive against Burnley they did well to get a win away to a team who had beaten City and drawn with Spurs in their last two home games. There was only one real scare for Arsenal in the game and they did enough to take the three points without ever really over exerting themselves. I don't think the players minds were on next Saturday's FA Cup semi final as most of them will probably sit the game out with so many of the first team squad now fit and available to play.

Arsenal's win kept them in second place with United still one point behind them and City now five points back with just six games to play. It's looking more and more likely that Arsenal will at least have to avoid the final qualifying round for next season's Champions League and that surely has to be seen as progress once they complete the task. The way I see it five wins in the last six games guarantees a top three finish, but it might well take a lot less than that with the way City are playing at the moment.

The chances of Arsenal finishing outside of the top four are very slim at this stage and they are guaranteed a top four finish if they take nine points from their last six games and will probably do it with with one or two wins in those games. Since the turn of the year things have improved dramatically and there's real hope for the direction the club is going in for next season.

For all of their talk of finally finishing ahead of Arsenal it looks like Spurs have no hope of doing so yet again. Arsenal have won every single league game since losing to Spurs in February while Spurs have dropped 13 points in the same amount of games. It appears like St. Totteringham's Day is very near yet again and I actually think Spurs won't even catch the points tally Arsenal have at the moment so we could probably celebrate the seemingly annual occasion already. 

Unfortunately Chelsea managed to win at QPR on Sunday and yet again an opposition goalkeeper handed them the winning goal. That's three games in a row where they have been handed the winner on a plate by a poor mistake from the opposition keeper. The winning goal against QPR came with three minutes to play and it was their only shot on target in the game. They are stumbling towards the finishing line and not playing well at all, but it seems like nothing will stop them.

On the good news front Chelsea will play United next week in the league when Arsenal are playing their semi final. It's a win win situation for Arsenal as a win for Chelsea or a draw would see Arsenal remain second with a game in hand on United or a win for United would give Arsenal a slight bit of light at the end of the tunnel in their attempt to catch Chelsea. It just so happens that Arsenal's next game after the semi final is at home to Chelsea.

From an Arsenal perspective it looks like Arsene Wenger has a pretty good idea of what he thinks his first choice team is and it's the one which started against Burnley. He has an awful lot of choices besides that starting 11 and he could easily put out a completely different 11 which would be more than a match for most other teams in the league. He could conceivably play a team consisting of Wojciech Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers, Gabriel Paulista, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck. That's not a bad line up at all with Arteta being the only one not to play for his country and that's only because of the depth of talent in his position for Spain.

I expect to see quite a few of those players against Reading in the semi final at 5.20 next Saturday when Arsenal play at Wembley for the fourth time in a year. The winners will play either Villa or Liveepool in the final on May 30th and Arsenal have to be favourites to retain the trophy they won last season. I'm still not counting any chickens, but the team look like they have the determination and ability to retain the cup and grab that second spot too.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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