From looking totally dead and buried in the race to the critical Top Four positions, things have taken a turn for the better lately. Not only have Arsenal massively increased our attacking capabilities, but we have also been pretty free of our usual horrendous injury list and have only had Santi Cazorla on our long term problems.
Right now we are only five points behind the massively imploding Chelsea side in Fourth position and only four behind our great rivals Tottenham. We have the perfect opportunity to reduce that gap this weekend in the North London derby and the good news is that Wenger will have a full complement of players to choose from for this crucial match.
Wenger has explained the reasons behind our reduced injuries this season. “First of all, we rotated more in the Europa League and was able to rest more players,” Wenger told Arsenal.com. “Afterwards, you always improve by learning from the seasons before, you learn more about the general concept of our training intensity.
“We also learn more about the individuals. We have a deeper analysis of what happened with the player last year, whether he got injured, how many games he played in three weeks and after he got injured. From the player’s injury history, you learn when to rest him and when to play him.
“It’s about adapting the training loads to the history of the individuals. It’s also about strengthening where they’ve had weak moments in their history.
“When you play every three days, you weaken your players. When you rest them – and sometimes during the week when they do not play – you can work them to strengthen their physical condition. After that, they’re a bit less vulnerable.”
As we enter the crucial run in to the end of the season, which is the time that we traditionally up our game to reach the Champions League positions, we also have another big advantage in that all of the five teams above us are still in the Champions League and Man United, City, Tottenham and Chelsea are also still in the FA Cup, and are set to face some very tough games in the coming weeks, or maybe months if they do well.
Although we also have the Europa League games to come, our next round against the minnows from Sweden, Ostersund, it is hardly likely to be as stressful as playing teams like Barcelona, Juventus or Sevilla and I am sure Wenger will still be rotating players for these games.
A lot hinges on this weekend’s clash with Tottenham, but we can get the three points if we play with the confidence garnered from our new players and our massive win last week. This is the time for us to make use of our advantages and power our way back up the table.