The hunt for a Champions League qualifying place moves on to Loftus Road on Wednesday night. For many that means a top three berth because nobody wants the burden of another qualifier in August, and Arsene today set his sights firmly on second place, which most definitely would be a progression on recent seasons.
“The only thing you can say is that it’s very tight. You look in front and Manchester City are four points ahead of us, and you look behind and there’s plenty of people chasing us. If you ask a team who is four points behind us, they will say it’s realistic to try to catch us. Manchester City are four points in front of us, so mathematically of course it is possible.”
Aaron Ramsey is added to the squad that was available for Everton on Sunday, and the medical staff will make the final call on whether or not Francis Coquelin can play, although Arsene was quick to point out earlier that there is “no obvious reason why he should not be available”.
Struggling Rangers could welcome back Sandro in place of the suspended Joey Barton, and there will be late tests on Onuoha and Isla. How I wish the latter’s first name was Pete. They have lost five of their last six league games, while the Gunners have taken maximum points in six of the last seven. One word of caution in the stats however, the Arsenal have only won one of their last seven league matches away to Rangers.
It would not be a surprise to see Alexis back in the starting line-up tomorrow, and it is possible too that Nacho Monreal may be preferred at left-back to Kieran Gibbs to counter the supply of crosses from Matt Phillips to Charlie Austin and Bobby Zamora.
The ‘holic pound
Surely the penny has finally dropped at Rangers and they realise they are running out of time to put space between themselves and the bottom three, which they are at present purely on goal difference? It would not be a surprise to see them raise their game markedly for the derby fixture, but I am tipping the Gunners to land a second consecutive ‘holic pound with a 1-2 away win. Paddy Power offer sevens against that, which is what they paid out on Sunday for the 2-0.
Win A Titi Tee Courtesy of Art of Football
While we hope the team will be taking one game at a time there is no escaping the fact that next Monday we face Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup quarter-final.
Our friends at Art of Football have offered one lucky reader the chance to win a teeshirt featuring Thierry Henry’s classic strike against United in October 2000. In addition we also have a 10% discount code on any design from them, just enter WENGER when prompted on the order screen.
Available in three colours and five sizes, this striking design is a reminder of a game that brought us a happy outcome against Monday’s opponents. You can see the shirt in more detail here.
To win just answer this question. Who scored the two unanswered goals when we beat United in the FA Cup at Old Trafford in February 2003. (Ironically Thierry was rested that day!). Choose from :-
a) Francis Jeffers and Martin Keown
b) Sol Campbell and Robert Pires
or c) Edu and Sylvain Wiltord
Send your answer (just the one entry please) to email@example.com to arrive before midnight (UK time) on Saturday, 7th March and include an email address that I can share with Art of Football so they can contact you re your preferred size and colour.
That’s it for tonight, Good luck, ‘holics.