We are all hoping that Arsenal come back from the winter break in Dubai feeling refreshed and ready to do battle, after having some serious tactical training sessions with Mikel Arteta.
And, looking at the fixtures coming back on their return, I am quietly confident that we can not only get back to winning ways, but can go on a further unbeaten run of games. Admittedly we have not been winning much but the fact still remains that we have only lost one match under Mikel Arteta so far and are unbeaten in our last 7. Long may that continue…
So first up when we come back from Dubai we have 3 home games in February and only 1 away. We start with a very winnable game against Newcastle at the Emirates, although this will be far from easy as the Toon are also unbeaten in their last 8 games and have moved up to level on points with the Gunners. This is an absolute must-win game for Arsenal if we want to gain confidence for the weeks ahead, and defeat just doesn’t bear thinking about!
After that we have our only away game for the month when we travel to Olymiakos for the first leg of our Europa League knockout. They are top of the Greek Superleague and are notoriously hard to beat in front of their passionate fans so many will be making a draw prediction for this one, especially as they managed a 2-2 draw with Tottenham in September in the Champions League. They are not so good away from home so we should progress anyway.
After that we have another home League game against Everton. The Toffees are two points above us in the table and are also unbeaten their last four games, but again a win here is vital for confidence in the Arsenal camp.
This one is swiftly followed by the return leg against Olympiakos, which I am quietly confident we will sneak through to the next round with a win.
The first game in March is an away FA Cup tie at Portsmouth. They may be down in League One in sixth place, but they have actually won their last 8 games and will be brimming with hopes of an upset if we are not careful. But surely we will be on a roll by then, and it will depend on whether Arteta takes the Cup seriously and plays a full team or not.
Then we are back at home to West Ham United, who have dropped into the relegation zone and are struggling for points. Surely that will be three points for us.
So, that is our next six games, and we could be in a much better position by then, don’t you think?
If our unbeaten run is still going we then have Brighton, Southampton and Norwich. How much further can we go unbeaten?