After a great week of result’s in Arsenal’s favour we are now firmly in the driving seat in the race for the coveted place in the Top Four at the end of the season, but the race is far from over.
We still have to face rearranged games against Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham, and also West Ham and Man United, so there are 15 points straight away that we can’t take for granted. We all know that our biggest problem lately is that in four of our last six games we have ended up with just ten players on the pitch.
As Mikel Arteta pointed out after the Wolves win, which saw Martinelli to be our latest player to see red: “If we want to have any chance of getting to the objectives that we want, we have to continue to play the 16 games with 11 players.
The ex-Man United defender Rio Ferdinand has been speaking about Arsenal in the Express, and particularly the regular cautions given to Xhaka and Gabriel. He was asked: “Is it lack of discipline or do you think they’re a bit rash as well?”
Ferdinand replied: “Both. Lack of discipline. You’ve got to have sometimes a trigger in your mind that when you’re going in for a tackle ‘is this the right time or not?’.
“That separates the top players a lot of the time from the okay, good players.
“If you can’t rely on people, they’re worthless. Don’t have them.
“In pressure situations especially, throughout a season really, you need to be able to go on that pitch and think ‘I can rely on him, he’s one I can put in, I know what I’m getting, he’s cool’.
“These guys at the moment, that’s been Arsenal’s problem, that lack of discipline.”
So now we really have to hope that Arteta can instil some discipline into the players so we don’t needlesly throw away any of our remaining 16 games. If our red card woes continue, it could seriously impact our fight for the Top Four…