Following the horror show that was the Champions League Round of 16 first leg last month where (in case you forgot) Arsenal were crushed 3-1 at the Emirates by AS Monaco, the important thing was bouncing back strongly. No impressive displays were required. It was just crucial to get back to winning ways and secure six points in our next two Premier League fixtures. That’s exactly what we did. You could sense the nervousness in the team and around the stadium in our home match with Everton but we remained patient and got the goals in the end. This gritty determination was again on show a few days later at Loftus Road where we held off a QPR fight back to triumph 2-1.
After those lacklustre and underwhelming performances, I was 100% convinced that we would fail to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford (especially after our recent results in those fixtures). The only way Arsenal could possibly progress in the FA Cup is by nicking a draw and bringing back the Red Devils to The Emirates for a replay. I could not believe it when we actually won up there for the first time since 2006, and the fact that Manchunian Danny Welbeck scored the winner made it taste even sweeter. People accused us of celebrating too hard but as I said, we were expecting yet another away defeat to Man United, and to lose grip of our trophy.
Instead of that, we now have an excellent chance (not nailed on) to retain the FA cup and finish the season with silverware again. The win will hopefully give us confidence to kick us on in the Premier League too so that we can finish second at least, which will be a vast improvement on last year. Following our easy 3-0 win over West Ham at the weekend, and other results going our way, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that we could mount a title charge. I doubt it, but you never know. If we keep the momentum up in the league, and Chelsea/Man City continue to slip up. All I ask is that Arsenal are there to pounce.
Regarding the near impossible task tonight out in Monaco, I am not holding my breath and cannot see us winning the match, let alone by 3 goals. However, that doesn’t mean I wont be watching it and hoping for a miracle.
By Glen Shorey