If Arsenal beat Manchester United at the Emirates this afternoon we’ll leapfrog Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s high-flying side into fourth place in the Premier League table and close the gap on Sp*rs, currently in third, to one point.
It would mean with eight games remaining, all against sides currently sitting lower than seventh in the rankings, our single biggest aim for the season, securing Champions League qualification, is still very achievable.
Today could be a real springboard. Alternatively, if we play as limply as we did against the Red Devils in January’s FA Cup defeat, it could be very damaging. Chelsea have a game in hand and are desperate to take advantage of any slip-up. At this point in the campaign, we’re living on a knife edge.
Speaking ahead of United’s visit earlier this week, Nacho Monreal has called on his teammates to keep their eye on the prize.
“Our target since the beginning of the season is to finish in the top four and play Champions League football next year,” the Spaniard told the Independent.
“We have the opportunity to get our target and the first step is next Sunday. We play against them and we need to forget what happened in the FA Cup and we need to refocus in the next game and try to get the three points because if we do it we will be on a higher step to get to our target.
“There are still nine games to go and it’s going to be really tough until the end of the season – and we cannot forget that there is another club in Chelsea.
“At the moment there are three clubs fighting for one place, but obviously if we get the three points on the weekend it will be perfect for us.”
United have won their last two visits to the Emirates 3-1 but haven’t won three consecutive away games against us since a run of results between 1983 and 1985.
We’ve also been very good at home this season, notching 38 points in total, a figure bettered only by reigning champions Manchester City – the last team to beat us at the Emirates in the league, back in August.
It’s going to be a big afternoon in N5.