Between now and the end of the season, Arsenal have eight remaining league fixtures. Its an old cliché now, but each one really is a cup final. As the weeks go by, the initiative in the race for third and fourth spot will doubtless flit back and forth across London. Spurs and Chelsea, however, have the distraction of other cup competitions. In the battle for Premier League position, it’s a blessing and a curse. All Arsenal have to do is take each game as it comes, and as Arsene Wenger put it in his pre-match press conference, “fight like mad” to make sure we take maximum points.
The run-in continues this afternoon at QPR. They’re desperate for points in their fight against relegation, and for that reason alone I expect this to be a tricky tie. Bobby Zamora always gives us trouble at the back, and so it’s good news that we’re once again able to call on one of our players of the season, Laurent Koscielny.
I expect Arsene to go with the XI that won at Goodison Park, bringing Aaron Ramsey back in the side ahead of Gervinho. However, he may decide he can afford an extra attacker, and leave the Welshman out in favour of the Ivorian, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, or Yossi Benayoun.
It’s crunch time now. Third place is in our hands, and failing that, fourth spot would be quite the consolation considering our early-season travails. But it won’t be easy. Tottenham’s poor form coincided with a very tricky run of fixtures that is now over, and anyone who saw them demolish Bolton in midweek would conclude they’re back to their best.
We can’t afford any unnecessary slip-ups, including today. It’s a cup final, after all.