A second Arsenal-less weekend passes us by and I think that whilst many of us were feeling a little relief at a bit of time away from The Arsenal after the frustrating draw followed by what felt like an even more frustrating transfer deadline day, this week represents opportunity, with our first game in over two weeks on the horizon against Wolves. That’s on Thursday and so we’ll have to wait for the build up for that, but the fact that we have been able to recharge the batteries of the players and allowed them to get themselves ready for this final part of the season, is giving hope to many Arsenal fans.

Because it was FA Cup weekend we had no football and I took the opportunity to take The Management to Oxford to stay in a fancy hotel. We had a lovely weekend in which I essentially ignored all existence of football and then only yesterday flicking through my phone did I see the results from the fourth round of the FA Cup. Fair play to Boreham Wood, who beat Bournemouth to set up a fifth round tie away to Everton. It’ll boost the coffers, give them another big day out and for those supporters who didn’t get to go to Bournemouth because of their Mickey Mouse stadium allocation and size, it’ll be an opportunity to head up to a decent away ground in a few weeks time.

Apart from that and the Middlesbrough result on Friday which I didn’t really watch but kept an eye out for because of Balogun, that was the sum total of my FA Cup involvement and I have to say it did feel refreshing. I hope that the Arsenal players feel the same but by the sounds of it Wolves undertook a wee bit of rotation themselves in their home defeat to Norwich. I must say I found that weird; that Wolves seemed to have rested a few players with one eye on us in midweek. The FA Cup, a chance for the fifth round, a team with their confidence low in Norwich and a team that you should surely beat if you’re a side like Wolves, and you rotate yourself out of the competition? Perhaps they are looking at the league table and thinking that an outside bet of top four is on, which let’s face it, isn’t beyond the realms of possibility given how flawed all of the teams fighting for that spot are. Man United have the talent but look all over the shop, we are a key injury away from having to field massive downgrade players, West Ham are stuttering at times but will be really tested with the additional games they have to play with Europe and the FA Cup, Tottenham are on a roll but it feels like they’ve ridden their luck at times. So if you are Wolves, currently sitting eighth but just two points off The Scum and us, then you look at a possible scalp at home to Arsenal and you’re in the mix for sure.

They play us at home, The Scum away, Leicester at home and us away in their next four games. If they pick up a win on Thursday, then can get something at Tottenham, they’ll be looking at Leicester at home as a real opportunity to pick up points and before you know it they come to the Emirates probably above us in the league and right in their for a place. It just goes to show you how tight it is for those European places as it stands. It feels like the team that can have the most fortune – be it through injuries, decisions, etc – in the next month, could set themselves up for a real big chance of the Champions League Cashola.

Take us, for example, who play Wolves away, Brentford at home, Wolves at home and Watford away in our next four games. Four wins there and I think we’re in a commanding position in the league. 12 points out of 12 gives you 48 having played 25 and given how easy it is to drop point in the league you only have to look at any sort of run and you are in the driving seat. That Wolves game away is of course going to be mighty tough and no Arsenal fan will be looking at it as anything like a banker, but if we can somehow overcome Wolves on Thursday, if we somehow pick up three points, then you have to look at the subsequent three games and think we have a big chance. I’ve just had a look at Wolves’ home form and apart from a defeat to Liverpool, you have to go all the way back to September when they lost 2-0 t Brentford, to see a Wolves defeat. They’ve drawn at home to Chelski, beaten West Ham, Southampton, Brentford and others, so going in to this game thinking it will be anything other than really tough would be naive.

But this is where we have to see whether this Dubai trip has meant something. I listened to a few podcasts and read a few thoughts of journalists over this mini break we’ve had and so many people have said how tired we looked. Certainly at times I think you can argue that, but the Burnley game also looked like a side without cutting edge. We can’t have that against Wolves on Thursday and so I really hope that some kind of magic plan was worked on for more goals – especially away from home – from the coaching staff and players.

Over the next couple of days we’ll start to get the trickle of news about player availability. It looks like most players are ok but the absence of Tomiyasu is the one I’m looking out for the most. Let’s spend this week crossing everything that he is fit for Thursday.

Catch you all tomorrow.