Arsenal: Mission Implosion
It was doom and gloom on most Manchestser United message boards when we managed to drop 5 points against Spurs and Citeh. Arsenal pulled away and with easy games coming up for them everyone was sure they would hold their advantage until Easter Sunday.
Some people (myself not included, I wasn't sure what to think) held the belief that Arsenal's thin squad will tell and fatigue will set in sooner than later so their customary implosion can begin. They did a very similar thing spectacularly in 2003 and collapsed and disappeared after us ending their 49-game-unbeaten record in 2004. So no matter how often Wenger says that they are mentally strong, the evidence suggest the opposite.
But beware. We must not get carried away even though draws against Birmingham, Villa, Wigan and Boro surpass my wildest dreams and leave Arsenal with the knowledge that their game at Stamford Bridge is now a must win. The thing is, though, that while I think it's unlikely it's nevertheless possible that we will embark on a similar run.
That's why it's absolutely vital to win our next three games, all at Old Trafford. Though overcoming Bolton should not be too difficult, beating Liverpool and Villa is a different matter entirely - and it's quite fortunate that these two, good teams they are, could not beat us to save their lives in the past few seasons.
The most important issue is to put away our chances. We create more than any other side, Arsenal included but are more profligate than any other side, Arsenal included. If we fail, most probably this will be the reason of our downfall. But if we beat Liverpool and Arsenal proceeds to lose at Stamford Bridge then I can't see them ending up as champions despite their fans' permanent claims of them being the Best Ever Footballing Side That Have Graced The Earth.
I very much hope that their slide will continue as we need some breathing space before the Champions League campaign resumes. Of course it depends on Chelsea's performance, too - but that's for another article. And the biggest thing to learn is that everything can change with unexpected swiftness.