It’s a watching brief for us Gooners this weekend, as our game against the scummy False-Positive-Victims-FC Liverpool is postponed until mid March with their involvement in the League Cup. Part of me is quite pleased about that right now, because it means no stress of being worried about what Arsenal do, about dropping points, etc. But then the other part of me knows that another missed game may mean more rest time now for the players (our next game isn’t for over a week when we play Watford next Sunday at 2pm), but it will be more condensing of our fixture schedule right at the point in which it becomes crunch time for us. We were all hoping that the reduction in games for the remainder of this season would be a big advantage for us, but when you consider that United have played their two games more and are a point clear, it doesn’t feel that much like an advantage.

What I mean by that is that our two games in hand are currently Chelski and the Scum away. We have terrible records there in recent years and whilst we beat Chelski on their ground last season in front of nobody, with fans in the stadium we haven’t won there in the league since October 2011. For Tottenham we haven’t won at the Toilet Bowl since March 2014. So taking away the victory at Stamford Bridge from last season – which was a weird season for lots of results as we know – we have essentially gone eight years without winning at either place with fans in the stadium. So personally I am not counting my chickens on those points and when you factor in that this weekend is likely to result in most of those teams around us picking up wins, our additional game in hand will be against Liverpool, with whom our league form reads eight defeats and four draws in our last 13 games going back to 2015.

So I am not particularly confident that we’re picking up loads of points with our games in hand and that ‘advantage’ feels like it is very shallow in terms of how real it actually is. In fact, it doesn’t really feel like much of an advantage at all.

Of course the Scum have to play Man United and Liverpool, but that’s it from them and as it stands they only have one additional game to play on top of us, which is in the FA Cup against Middlesbrough. That’s away and midweek next week and whilst I don’t want them getting anywhere near the FA Cup final, maybe another round if they beat Boro wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. They have played the same number of games as us and so they need to fit more in to their schedule and if that starts to adversely impact them too.

I suppose I feel the same about United and West Ham. Both have European ties and in a way it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if United can overcome Atletico Madrid. Hopefully they’d get another two games they have to squeeze in and that would impact their fixture scheduling, meaning they have to play more games too. They have their points on the board and if you told me that Arsenal would collect one point from the two in hand they have at the moment then I’d probably believe you. That would just bring us level on points with them, so our perceived advantage with games in hand suddenly doesn’t seem as great as it is. United have to play Watford at home today and they’ll win that, meaning they extend the points difference to us to four points and it also means we have to win one of the Cum away, Chelski away or Liverpool at home. Again, I’m not exactly holding any expectations that we might do that. We could, you never know, but our record against those three sides suggest we probably won’t. United have a tough few games after Watford though so the hope has to be that dropped points are on the menu; they play City, the Scum, us as well as Chelski and so my hope is that with the way they are playing that the other teams will chalk up some wins for them.

But I suspect that for this weekend we won’t have as much fun as the weekend before last when everyone except the Scum seemed to pick up points (thanks a lot, Man City. Knobs). Tottenham will beat a pretty poor Leeds side, West Ham will beat Wolves I reckon, then United will overcome Watford. It means that by Sunday night I suspect we’ll be back down to sixth and the Scum will be within three points of us. So whilst I said at the top of the blog part of me is happy it’s just a watching brief this weekend, I suspect that by the time the weekend is done I will be more unhappy about that and the fact that the others around us have all got their points on the board.

There’s no despair in my thinking though, despite the fact you’re probably reading this and thinking that I’m going a little Debbie Downer on you. I am still so happy and buzzing after that Wolves win. I have already said that the run of games we are in could be pivotal for us, that we need to accumulate as many points as possible as I think we’ll be dropping a few in the big games, because if we do we set ourselves up with a bit of a ‘buffer’ for dropped points. And we’ve done that so far. Wins away at Wolves, home to Brentford and home to Wolves has meant maximum points tally so far. If we can beat Watford away we go in to the Liverpool midweek game knowing we are probably in a pretty decent position.  If we go in to that Leicester game at home having even picked up a draw against Liverpool and if we’ve managed to beat what will be a tough to break down Watford team, I think I’ll start to fancy our chances. But until then we have to watch the others pick up points this weekend and wait our turn when we go to Vicarage Road next weekend.

Catch you all tomorrow.