Competition for the three places behind Chelsea in the Premiership is hotting up with just eight games to go. Arsenal moved up to second place last week when Man City slipped up at Crystal Palace, and Arsene Wenger is aware that his own team can’t afford any slip-ups if they are to maintain the pace.
Wenger said on the official Arsenal website: “It is a positive sign for us [to go second], but let’s not get carried away because you look behind us and it’s one or two points,”
“That can quickly be wiped out by a bad game. That’s why we want to continue our run, to continue to play quality games and that’s the best way to be protected from other teams coming back on us.”
Wenger was particularly pleased to see four different players scoring against Liverpool, which is another positive as we approach squeky-bum time. “It is the best possible sign, because it means that everybody is full of confidence, the combination play of the team goes well and that there is a collective desire to play together,” he continued. “That’s the essence of our sport: to play together and get everybody in positions where they can score.
“The vibes coming out of the team are very positive and all this together makes you happy when you are the manager.”
Obviously Burnley are aiming to upset the apple-cart this evening, and Wenger is aware that the small-town club are not going to be pushovers as they fight for their Premiership lives. “It’s just as hard as Liverpool,” he said. “Different propositions maybe, maybe we’ll be a bit more cautious defensively, but it is a team who goes forward as well. They play in an offensive style, direct but very efficient. They have some good young players like Trippier and Ings and they are quite dangerous in the final third.
“They have improved since the start of the season because they had to adapt to the Premier League and it took them a while. Now they look a very, very good team against everybody.
“If you look at their results against the top teams like Manchester City and Chelsea, they have done extremely well. On top of that, they’ve taken 18 out of their total of 26 points at home. That means that for us the challenge is big and we want to be at our best because I’m convinced that this is a difficult game.”
We all know that this is a potential banana skin, but if Arsenal can continue their excellent form then on paper it should be an easy three points. The players really need to keep their supreme confidence intact as we have two massive games coming up in the next fortnight.
Onwards and Upwards!