Much has been said about Arsenal's "easy" entry and the importance of its top 4 chances. But is the remaining list really a good thing for the Gunners?
The win on Sunday was really huge. It has not only put Arsenal in the top four, Manchester United's unbeaten run under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has come to an end and has made a statement about the progress that Unai Emery has made with this team.
After Spurs lost to Southampton on Saturday and Chelsea saved a draw against Wolves on Sunday, Arsenal leaped ahead of United, clearing Chelsea three points and collapsing within a point of his rivals in north London. The whole weekend.
More of Pain in the arsenal
Their recent leap to the front of the Champions League qualifying campaign has prompted discussions about what will come before the end of the season, a look through the preparation list and a forecast of what the final table might look like. As for Emery's Run-In, it has rightly been pointed out that they are no longer Top 6 opponents. The win over Manchester United, followed by the draw of North London derby a week ago, was the last of the year.
Instead, these are the upcoming opponents by the end of the year:
- crystal Palace
- Leicester City
- Wolves (date not confirmed)
- Brighton and Hove Albion
That does not seem to be the most daunting line-up. Of these eight teams, only three are in the top half. This is the kind of run-in that every team would dream of, right? It's certainly the kind of games that have motivated many to argue that Arsenal is now the favorites to finish in the top four, even ahead of the Spurs.
Do you want to hear your voice? Join the Pain In The Arsenal team!
[As an aside, Spurs still have to play both Liverpool and Manchester City. Chelsea must play Liverpool. Man. Utd must play City. And Chelsea and United will also face one another, guaranteeing that at least one of them will drop points that week. The three rivals for the top-four positions have some difficult matches still to come.]
But of these eight games, five of them are not at home: Everton, Watford, Leicester City, Wolves and Burnley. None of these matches is accessible, not by imagination. If the team of Emery wins four of them, they will indeed do very well. Not only are these difficult journeys to be made, the Gunners were also exceptionally poor outside their home country this year. In fact, one could argue that one plays man. Utd at home is better than traveling to wolves.
Yes, Arsenal's win over Manchester United was enormous. And yes, they are in an excellent position for a top 4 finish. And yes, the fixture list may seem nice. But there is still much to do, and to do that, they must face their weakness: win on the road. Let's hope they have the cojones to complete the work.