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The Champions League chase continues

THE EVERTON game was one of those evenings where it was going to take a moment of clinical efficiency to break down a side that were on a good run of form and fully committed. We lacked that clinical efficiency – most notably when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opted to square for Giroud rather than shoot.

Seamus Coleman got in what the referee deemed a block. Others might have called it a penalty for a foul on Giroud but it was one of those decisions where the referee could have gone either way and you’d see where he was coming from.

We’re in exactly the position I remember saying about six months ago that we’d be in at this stage: slightly behind Chelsea and more or less neck and neck with Spurs. The only people who ever doubted that latter point were those who, once again, overstated the competency of a club who have been anything but when it comes to finishing above us in recent years.

Whether or not we qualify for the Champions League will, for many, likely be the premise on whether or not they think Wenger should continue. I’m not one of those people because I believe that ultimately we’ve been bobbing around the fourth place cut off point for years and whether we finish just one side of it or just the other side is neither particularly here or there. I wouldn’t have wanted Wenger sacked had Spurs finished above us in 2006 and so I don’t think failure in 2013 would, in itself, be sufficient grounds.

That is not to say I am against change: for a while I’ve feared it necessary. But these are discussions for the end of the season.

More imminently, Manchester United are doing everything they can to delay winning the title until they visit us in just over a week’s time. Should be interesting.

18 Responses to “The Champions League chase continues”

  1. Stroud Green Road Boy says:

    “whether we finish just one side of it or just the other side is neither particularly here or there”
    Yes it is because it’s a game of fine margins and it makes all the difference to the club financially.
    “I wouldn’t have wanted Wenger sacked had Spurs finished above us in 2006 and so I don’t think failure in 2013 would, in itself, be sufficient grounds.”
    That doesn’t follow at all. That’s another 7 barren seasons, not the 2 it was in 2006. So the goodwill of 2006 had we finished 5th that would have seen us all wanting Wenger to stay in his job has now run out.

  2. Paul Businge says:

    It counts to Nill for Arsenal supporters whether we finsh in or out side. we need trophies to rebuild our name from being escots to being threats. Arsenal luck a competent M&E commitee to review AW’s performance. You cant do business with out making spot on changes to spur the goals and vison of the Club. AW’s product life cycle has declined and is moving to wards a slump. Fear of change has drained our surge for success. Fuguson and AW have lived up to their time. That is why EPL has lost it all to the extent that the PL cant have any single player in the world best 11 players

  3. Elvis says:

    My guess is that the biggest single factor in the outcome of the run in will be the fitness/form of one player; Gareth Bale.

  4. slc gunner says:

    interesting take on the Coleman intervention. At the time, I didn’t even think there had been any hint of a foul and that it was great defending. Agree that the Ox should have shot himself.

  5. MDP says:

    It’s simply a case of who can hold their nerve in the run in. Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea have all got hard games against the bigger teams as well as some tricky fixtures against some smaller teams. I just hope Arsenal can play with the same level of desire and application they have recently shown until the last kick of the season.

  6. PD says:

    Stroud Green Road Boy, I think you’re missing Goodplaya’s point. Coming 4th or 5th is obviously huge for the club. The point is that one result at the end of the season either way shouldn’t make up people’s minds on whether a change of manager is needed. I don’t think anything that happens between now & the end of season should change people’s minds; you either believe Arsene is still the right man to lead the club or you don’t. Sitting on the fence now & then making a decision on the basis of something that happens on the last day (like last season’t comical goalkeeping at West Brom) would just be ridiculous.

    Anyway…..that’s for the end of the season. Whether you want him to stay or go, either way for us to get 4th is just massive for the club. Tomorrow is simply huge. We slip up against a Fulham team with nothing to play for & I fear it’s over for us. This is – theoretically at least – the easiest game of the 5 remaining, especially when you look at how little Fulham seemed to care v Chelsea. Come on u Reds !

  7. Stroud Green Road Boy says:

    PD, I don’t disagree but the fact is that’s how it is – media and fan pressure on the manager to stay or go, maybe even pressure from the board or himself, will be dictated by whether we finish 4th or 5th. I agree it is ridiculous and have long since made up my mind he needs to go, but that’s how it is more generally.

  8. PD says:

    You’re probably right. totally daft though….

    Thank God for 3 points today but that really was a poor performance. 4 more performances like will just not do. Need to seriously step it up or else 4th is not happening. And now we have no striker…..imagine – how could anyone have possibly predicted that our only striker would get injured/lose from/get suspended at some stage during this season. If someone had only had imagined this incredible scenario, maybe we would have bought another one & had an option for next week !!

  9. slc gunner says:

    Poor performance – just a lot of sideways passing going nowhere. Needs to be a lot better next week – although we will be playing a team that won’t park the bus. Centre halves have been good though, even if Kos wasn’t great on the 1st half chance that Berbatov missed. Striker choice for the next 3 games will be interesting. I would go with Podolski. Also, Walcott has been awful recently – I would drop him for Ox. Jack should be ready to come back in too.

  10. Wallace says:

    i’d say 7pts from the last 4 games and Spurs will need to go some to beat that. and you could argue that being deprived of Kos or Mert would be more damaging at this point, with our recent defensive solidity, than Giroud’s suspension. it’s a great opportunity for Podolski to show what he can do centrally. as long as Wenger goes with him of course.

  11. MDP says:

    Just watched the end of the Spurs game and to be fair they’ve just thrown down the gauntlet. A big performance and 3 points against United is needed now.

    I quite fancy seeing Podolski up front. I know he’s more of a no.10 but he’s strong, can take people on, good in the air and lethal in the box. Gervinho is too insecure and erratic and Walcott is good on his day but horribly out of form. Yep, Podolski up front and The Ox on the right would be my call. However, I’m no football tactician so happy to be told otherwise.

  12. MDP says:

    I also meant to say Podolski has bags more experience than the other two. He’s not the most disciplined defensively but again neither are the other 2. An interesting headache for a situation we shouldn’t be in.

  13. PD says:

    Unless Liverpool get a late goal this has been a disastrous day for us.

    Agree MDP, Podolski is the least worst of our 3 options up front….but that’s all it is….’least worst’ as opposed to actually being a good option. His experience of playing as the sole striker in a formation like ours is virtually zero. (plus he doesn’t look fit to me – all this rumour of him needing an op on his ankle once the season is over looks to be true given his recent appearances)

    Just pray Man Utd win the league tomorrow night so they come to us not needing a result. If they need one, they’ll get it. You can count on that. We just can’t compete with the top sides. 1 win in 9 so far this season against the 5 teams above/around us.

  14. PD says:

    Much as it pains me to cheer on Suarez …..(surely a huge ban coming up for him again ??) ………YEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. slc gunner says:

    Well, we certainly got lucky with Luis Tyson Suarez’s equalizer. What a strange human impulse. Liverpool should really have won the game on the balance of play
    Pity City couldn’t do us a favour as well. But ultimately it is still in our own hands. Chelsea max = 77, Spurs Max = 76, Arsenal max = 75, but Chelsea have to play Spurs. I think we’re due a good attacking performance from Cazorla, Jack and others, and let’s hope it’s next weekend.

  16. MDP says:

    Well that’s something!

    Chelsea have to play, Swansea, Utd, Spurs, Villa and Everton. Plenty of twists and turns yet.

    But, something tells me we need to see the game of the season against Utd to keep in this one. A draw might be enough but a win would put us in a really strong place.

  17. PD says:

    Well, Utd are champions. Good result for us for Sunday cos if they needed to get a result, they would have. Maybe now that extra bit of desire we should have given our more urgent need could bridge the gap in quality between the two sides….
    I really hope RvP gets a decent reception. I for one will certainly not be booing him.

  18. billp79 says:

    It would be rich if all Arsenal Players threw their shirts at RVP at the interval !

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