By Avenell Dave
Two points from nine is not a good return at any time, but when you’re chasing Champions League football and rivals are hitting form, it is a worry.
Have Arsenal taken their foot off the gas? Do some players think they’ve already achieved what they need to when there are still so many variables at play?
Are the players exhausted after so little rotation?
Are some of them trying to ensure they don’t get injured before looking at pastures new or showing what they can do at EURO2012 or other internationals this summer?
I don’t think any of us really know the answers and yet with only two games to go, we can’t afford any more slip-ups.
Not losing at Stoke was imperative for Arsene Wenger, given how tough Arsenal have found it in recent years and how tricky it has been for the top six sides this season.
Two wins, two very winnable games, is all that stands between Arsenal and Champions League football, a chance to regroup, to grow and build a competitive squad rather than simply a side that has somehow managed to put us in such a good position.
I suspect that Wenger’s tactical moves on Saturday were a result of hearing that Wigan were in no danger of giving up their lead against Newcastle.
We played well in parts, even though the penalty claims we had were not as strong as some we have had and it was vital to get back on level terms so soon after Crouch had given the Knuckledraggers the lead.
We probably didn’t do enough to deserve to win it, but lacking the holding influence of Mikel Arteta, we don’t have a huge number of midfield options.
Aaron Ramsey has taken a lot of stick from Arsenal ‘fans’ in recent weeks but he’s getting his head down and performed admirably. Given the abhorrent abuse he got for daring to have his ankle snapped, he may well be asking himself what he has to do to get some support or respect from anyone.
A point, in the big scheme of things still leaves our destiny on our own hands, but with less room for manoeuvre. We simply cannot keep expecting teams chasing the top three or four to drop points.
The good news is that Norwich seem to have dipped a bit and with nothing to play for, should be the most winnable of the last few games we have had to play.
Sunday’s results for Ch*vski and T*tt*nh*m haven’t helped matters so let’s help the FA’s approach to Woy Hodgson also hinders their focus.