I liked listening to Bukayo Saka say Arsenal do not worry someone once we requested him what he thinks concerning the Gunners’ identify run-in on MOTD2.
It is a stunning angle for any aspect to have, and it is particularly vital within the scenario that Saka and his team-mates are in now, 8 issues transparent of Manchester Town on the best of the desk with 10 video games to move.
I do know from my very own reports as an Arsenal participant that whilst you achieve this level of the season with a possibility of successful the Premier League, then your eyes are drawn directly to the fixture checklist. The end line is in sight and also you roughly cross into countdown mode, running thru your last video games.
|Leeds (1 April)||Liverpool (9 April)|
|Southampton (21 April)||West Ham (16 April)|
|Chelsea (29 April)||Guy Town (26 April)|
|Brighton (13 Might)||Newcastle (6 Might)|
|Wolves (28 Might)||Nottingham Wooded area (20 Might)|
After we spoke to him after the Gunners beat Crystal Palace on Sunday, we requested Saka about their last fixtures – however he threw it again at me and requested me what I assumed.
I mentioned there have been numerous tricky video games bobbing up, particularly clear of house. They’re most certainly going to must win at Anfield and St James’ Park, and their commute to the Etihad is clearly huge, so there’s no time to calm down, even with the issues cushion they have. They have got to stay going till it’s carried out.
He used to be like, ‘Yeah I will take that resolution’, and It’s not that i am stunned that he’s considering the similar manner we did once we gained the identify underneath Arsene Wenger in 1998 and 2002, after fierce battles with Manchester United each and every time.
Profitable run strikes a chord in my memory of previous glories
Arsenal must grasp off Town’s problem to take their crown, and everybody can see that Pep Guardiola’s aspect are starting to click on and transfer up a equipment. Erling Haaland is a objective device, and he is not lacking this present day.
I’ve heard some absurd issues about Haaland and the way he’s come what may making Town weaker, at the same time as just lately as their draw with RB Leipzig on the finish of closing month. However I have now not heard someone counsel that this week. We have now all observed how fatal he’s.
It’s glaring why he’s doing so neatly – as a result of Town have such a lot of clever avid gamers that they had been all the time going to have the ability to feed him. However to this point, no matter Town have carried out, Arsenal have discovered a solution, originally to take care of their benefit and now prolong it.
Town went best after they beat the Gunners at Emirates Stadium 5 weeks in the past however Arsenal have hit again with six successive league wins, which is solely an out of this world reaction.
It strikes a chord in my memory of once we gained 12 successive video games underneath Wenger from the beginning of February to clinch the identify in 2002, and likewise the ten wins in a row from March onwards that took us to glory in 1998.
We got here from in the back of then, however this case is in reality no other regardless of Arsenal having the benefit this time. It nonetheless looks like they’ll must win all in their video games, except their commute to Town.
Once more, that strikes a chord in my memory of 2002, once we beat our nearest opponents United at Previous Trafford within the penultimate recreation to clinch the identify. Our considering previously used to be that we simply wanted not to lose, and shall we wrap it up on the weekend. However Sylvain Wiltord’s objective intended we went one higher and if truth be told gained it there.
You would not dare to dream that Arsenal may just do this on the Etihad. However, as Saka advised us, they imagine they are able to beat someone. And on their day I feel they are able to, which is what has helped to get them into this wonderful place within the first position.
It’ll be interesting to look how the identify race unfolds from right here, however I might say Arsenal have carried out all they are able to do till now.
There’s nonetheless such a lot paintings left, however they have the issues in bag to building up this lead and Town must take care of some fixture congestion with a view to catch them whilst they are attempting to win the Champions League and FA Cup too. Mainly, this lead may nonetheless now not be sufficient, however Arsenal have put the protecting champions underneath the utmost conceivable quantity of power.
Saka helps to keep turning in targets and assists
When compared with a few of Arsenal’s impending video games, beating Palace at house used to be most certainly observed as being fairly easy. However that has now not been the case in opposition to the Eagles in recent times – they hadn’t misplaced on any in their earlier 4 visits to the Emirates.
This time used to be other, and in addition to the end result, Arsenal’s efficiency used to be the very best manner for them to log off for the world destroy.
I made some degree of praising Gabriel Martinelli once I spoke concerning the recreation on MOTD2 as a result of he overlooked a penalty within the shootout in opposition to Carrying Lisbon in midweek however didn’t display any roughly hangover from that Europa League defeat.
Martinelli began the sport so neatly, and used to be an actual driver together with his resolution down the left-hand aspect. In entrance of objective, he simply will get higher and higher, and I bring to mind him as a herbal finisher when he will get into the ones central spaces like he did to attain the opener in opposition to Palace.
Some other Arsenal participant who had some sadness this week used to be Ben White, who wasn’t named within the England squad, and he performed like he had some degree to turn out.
White’s link-up play with Saka down the best is sensational and there all the time appears to be a possibility on the finish of it too.
Saka provides such a lot to this workforce that I used to be joking with him afterwards that Gareth Southgate must give him a leisure in those subsequent two England video games. We don’t need him injured now.
He has began each and every league recreation this season and, whether or not this is a objective or an lend a hand, he helps to keep on turning in. Each Arsenal fan is hoping for extra of the similar within the ultimate two months of the marketing campaign.
How Arsenal are kings of the capital
It has long gone underneath the radar slightly, however there’s one more reason why beating Palace is one thing for Arsenal to shout about.
They become the primary aspect in 135 years of English Soccer League historical past to win 9 London derbies in one league season. To this point they have got best dropped issues in a single, in closing month’s draw in opposition to Brentford, which is a few report.
|6. West Ham||8||1||2||5||8||14||5|
|7. Crystal Palace||9||1||2||6||6||19||5|
Sure, there are extra derbies than standard this yr, however you can not underestimate how tough the ones video games are. That makes issues tougher for Arsenal, now not more straightforward.
I do know from enjoying in them that it’s not simply the north London derby with Tottenham this is fiercely contested. You will have native opponents from the east, west and south of town too.
It way a hell of so much for them to overcome you, and they’re all the time looking ahead to their alternative, particularly in a season like this the place Arsenal are getting quite a lot of plaudits.
This season, virtually a 3rd of Arsenal’s league video games – 12 out of the 38 – are derbies, which is a large bite. It makes it relentless, as a result of there’s all the time one at the horizon – if truth be told, there are two nonetheless to move.
So it is not simply, say, the Liverpool and Town fixtures that stand out for me as being tricky in Arsenal’s run-in. The video games in opposition to Chelsea and West Ham might be terrible too.
Neither of the ones groups are having nice seasons, however they know they may prevent Arsenal from successful the identify. No matter else they’re enjoying for, this is the entire incentive they want.
Martin Keown used to be chatting with BBC Game’s Chris Bevan.