Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal players are well aware that there is still a long way to go as we chase the Premier League title this season, despite all the pretend outrage from the football media after the players had the temerity to take a happy looking team photo in the dressing room after beating Leicester with a last second winner.
Of course they were happy but they were not celebrating winning the title, just keeping our challenge firmly on track in a massive game. There are more big games coming up though, including our next Premier League match which is against Manchester United at Old Trafford next weekend.
Win that, however, and Arsenal fans really will start to believe. We should arrive there feeling confident, though, after beating them 3-0 at the Emirates in October with one of our best performances of the campaign. And there is another reason for us to feel good about the game because United will have played in the Europa League just two days before.
And with their chances of finishing in the top four slipping away, they might have to win the Europa League to get into next season’s Champions League, as their Spanish midfielder Juan Mata explained in a Sky Sports report.
He said, “I understand this is not the best possible situation.
“But it is what it is, and our goal is to keep advancing so we can have the chance to lift this trophy, which would come with a double reward.
“My personal experience tells me that if we work for it with excitement it could be a positive way to finish the season, as I lived three seasons ago [with Chelsea].
“At the moment we face Midtjylland, the current champions of Denmark, now third in their league. Step by step.”
A few days ago Louis van Gaal admitted that getting into the Champions League might just be the only way to save his job and he also suggested that the Europa League might now be the best way of doing it. All this means that United are likely to put a lot of effort into their match next Thursday and the boss will not be able to rest his best players.
Arsenal also play that week but we have two extra days to rest and prepare. Will that give us a key advantage over United and a big boost to our title hopes?