By Avenell Dave
It’s funny how quickly the mood changes in football.
When we beat Ch*vski, all of a sudden everyone started to believe we could do something special this season, when it was as much about the ageing and out-of-form side that we faced.
But a win is a win and when we did everything but score against Man Citeh, it underlines how competitive we have become.
Everywhere I go recently, people are saying “Arsenal have got to be in with a big chance in the title race this year...” and yet most of them have probably not seen how much we flatter to deceive on a number of occasions.
After two lamentable displays against Championship opposition, a win against a weary and disheartened West Ham side has got everyone’s spirits up again – and rightly so.
Arsene Wenger was wrong last week to blame tiredness for our showing against Ipswich Town – it was a simple lack of focus and determination which prompted so many always-loyal away fans to show their disgust.
And while winning the FA Cup would be great, we all know that the Champions League and Premier League are the ones that matter to Wenger.
Can we beat Barcelona at home and away? I think we all know that it’s going to take a couple of performances the like of which we haven’t seen from this Arsenal team, showing not only flair and determination, but discipline on a level that was last seen when we reached the final in 2006.
So that leaves the Premier League, and while Wigan aren’t the toughest side we’ll face this season, they’ve already nicked a point off us which could prove crucial when the season ends.
So while I want us to win and face Hudderfield in the next round, Wenger has a big decision to make.
Does he keep playing the side in its current form – keeping the momentum going but risking injuries and fatigue?
Or does he rest a few players in a bid to maintain some fresh legs for the big competitions?
We’re already down to one fit goalkeeper and two fit centre-backs and I hope I’m wrong in saying that I don’t expect Andrey Arshavin or Denilson to fight for us tomorrow night in a manner we would expect.
So now is the time to field some kids, such as centre back Ignasi Miquel and maybe even Craig Eastmond.
We need kids with hunger who are going to scrap against a Leeds side who won 4-0 at the weekend and have bundles of confidence – trying to play around them without adding a little bite is a recipe for disaster.