Arsenal need to heed lessons learnt at the start of the season

Could there have been a more perfect weekend for us Gooners?

Ch*vs losing, M*nure losing, Villa losing...and the news that Theo Walcott’s injury isn’t going to keep him out for very long at all....it doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Ok, so Liverpool and T*tt*nh*m won, but we can’t have everything.

With Ade Adebayor coming back and at the very least wanting to have a good end to the season if he has decided he wants to leave, as his body language would suggest; Eduardo and Cesc also back for the Man City game and Tomas Rosicky likely to be around for the very climax of the season, it’s all looking very good.

Of course, international weeks are the bane of any top club’s existence, because you can bet on it that one of our players, at the very least, will be injured.

My money is on Robin van Persie, who has stayed remarkably injury-free this season thanks to a lot of enforced rests by Arsène Wenger and has been injured when with Holland in the past.

The fact is that fourth should be the absolute minimum of our expectations this season.

We can look back regrettably and wonder how different things might have been if we had signed Andrey Arshavin in August; how different things might have looked if we had beaten Hull, Stoke, Boro and Fulham (twice) which would have given us 13 more points.

But while some Gooners I’ve spoken to have suggested that the fourth CL spot is already ours, I beg to differ.

We have some tricky games coming up against the likes of Ch*vski, M*nure and Liverpool, at least two more Champions League games and an FA Cup semi-final which will stretch our concentration and resources to the limit.

Villa boss Woody Allen says that it’s unlikely his side will overcome us now, but with our packed programme and challenging opponents, is that really so cut and dried?

Allen said: "You would have to say now there won't be much of a threat from us to Arsenal's position. They are getting some of their injured players back and it's going to be very, very tough. We are not as strong as those four clubs. I have said it many times before and I will say it again - we still have a lot of catching up to do.”

While the defeat at Stoke was a case of the young Gunners being startled by the direct and physical nature of their opponents, the losses against Fulham and Hull were down in no small part to a lack of the correct attitude.

One more draw and a defeat would be enough for Villa to take our place again and despite our impressive form, the mark of a good side is to maintain that for as long as possible.

Of the top four sides, we are on the best run in terms of games unbeaten, but the problem of youth, the problem of inexperience, is the lack of focus that can come with that.

Arsène Wenger’s biggest challenge now is to cut out the complacency that hampered the side early on and ensure that every player knows that playing for the Arsenal means maintaining optimum standards at all times.

Things are looking great all of a sudden, but as we’ve seen on so many levels in the past couple of weeks, things change very quickly in football.