My nerves are starting to tingle this afternoon, so much so that I thought it may be therapeutic to whip out the laptop and empty some of my thoughts. No, that is not a euphemism.
Firstly, the 'fixtures of death' part 1 and 2 has left me feeling a little confused. I keep chopping and changing my feelings on them as I am sure many are also.
Last night I had convinced myself that swatting aside our direct rivals sets us up perfectly for the run in. I mean we can guarantee them a big phat zero points on the day and gain three ourselves while at the same time giving our players more belief. Once they have the belief then why not play a difficult match as soon as possible? Imagine we kept winning in February when everyone expected us to drop points. This is something I remember of Manchester United in recent years (not this one clearly hah!)
One year they were traveling to Newcastle who were on a very good run of form and flying high in the league. We were behind them and in need of them to drop points for any chance of a come back to be possible and this was the fixture were it really could happen.
Except Manchester United had other ideas and battered Newcastle away. Scholes smacking in a volley amongst other goals on the day. Oh!.. bang goes that then.
The thing about Ferguson's Manchester United teams was that it was these games that made them rub their hands together and roll up their sleeves while our younger teams of recent years up until the rebuild was that we went the other way when the pressure mounted.
You'd like to think that our group of players are closer to the former, or maybe that is what I am hoping for. But while my perfect February masterpiece looks lovely hung up in my living room, the other rather more depressing scenario is far more ugly.
A fully fit Arsenal squad can beat any team in Europe, that I am confident of. Which is no mean feat when you consider the quality and of course wealth out there today. I'd say our squad without our top goal scorers outside of Giroud (Walcott & Ramsey) can do the business against our Premier League rivals but can they do that every few days?
Can we leave everything out on the pitch which we will surely need to do in most of the games coming up including Liverpool tomorrow and then recover only to go again at another tough ground against another tough team who want the points as much as we do?
It is going to be a difficult task for sure. I am trying to push away that red devil on my shoulder, it is probably an arrogant little boy and instead turn to the reassuring words of mini BFG on my other shoulder.
I have already spoken a little bit about this but perhaps it is worth mentioning again. I wonder if our in-game management of matches will allow us to go hell for leather this month and again in March. We've yanked up the handbrake many times and ended up with a 2-0 score line under our belts.
I am interested as to how we will approach these difficult matches. Will we press all over the pitch and try and win the ball early or will we drop off and continue our way of playing?
Oh I don't know but I guess we will get answers very soon.
Preview either tonight or tomorrow morning.