Morning folks and welcome to Friday. The weekend approacheth and we have a London Colney Derby to look forward to on Sunday, as we travel to Watford knowing anything else other than victory will most likely set us back in our Champions League Top Four pursuit. Watford are managed under a wily old fox in the shape of Roy Hodgson and it’ll be a tough game, so my hope from today is a press conference in which we don’t get any bad injury news ahead of the game. I suspect we’ll see Tomiyasu side-lined again; it sounds as though his injury isn’t a massive one, but it isn’t a one-game absence either, so if they can find a way of giving him ample recovery time, then they will.

Mikel doesn’t really give much away in his press conferences in terms of injuries, so if he gives us a definitive ‘no’ on Tomi then I think we can take it as red that he isn’t around. And it’s frustrating. Cedric has done ok, but the gulf in class between the two is clear and in January we all questioned whether the reduction of games would help us with such a thin squad. Clearly we’ve got by so far, but how many more knocks can we face before things start to get really worrying? Imagine we lose Gabriel on Sunday to an impact injury – in goes Rob Holding for the foreseeable future. Then imagine Partey goes down with something – that’s Sambi too. Then suddenly we’re staring down the barrel of a similar level of team that struggled at times in January. I am living in the land of “ifs” and “buts” I know, but it’s the sort of stuff I worry about.

And I worry about it because it feels we are so very close. We are so close to what would constitute a massive success this season and getting that Top Four spot would be beyond what any of us expected this season. Most of us just wanted to get back in to Europe (proper Europe, not that Mickey Mouse Conference League nonsense) but now it feels like we are a decent run away from something happening that we didn’t think possible. And when it looks so real you can taste it, you want to be able to stretch that little bit further to get there. That is where I think we are at right now. We need to stretch and that stretch includes going on a winning run in the next two games at least. That would be Watford away and Leicester at home before we face Liverpool. If we pick up six points from our next two games I feel like it’d be massive. It would mean we have a winning run going in to the Liverpool game, it would mean the confidence of the team is sky-high, it would also hopefully mean we have gained ground on those around us as I am hoping there will be a few dropped points in the coming weeks.

It all feels there for us, but we have to make the most of the opportunity, which all too often as an Arsenal fan we have seen we have not.

I wonder if training in the ground this week had some kind of significance in that matter too. Perhaps it was just because they didn’t want to see Watford sneaking a peak over the hedges to see what we’re working on, but maybe it was an opportunity for Arteta to get them in the ground, soaking in the importance of the run we have and focusing the minds on the big things that could await the players if they go on a winning run now. You never know. I’d be interested to see if he’s asked about that in today’s press conference. It would be great to get an idea as to his motives. He might not give a full and honest answer, playing his cards close to his chest, but at least if somebody asked him it would be nice.

He’ll certainly be asked about the Manager of the Month nomination and although we didn’t play loads of games, February saw a 100% record that he’s surely pleased with after the pretty bleak January. I’m sure he’ll bat away the plaudits though and if I’m honest with you, I’ve always though those manager of the month/player of the month awards were pretty pointless. Winning it in September and going on a ‘negative spiral’ so your team gets relegated will hardly have you looking at that monthly trophy at the end of the season going “every cloud”, will it? Football is about what happens at the end of the season. It’s nice to see him nominated but only because it means we’ve been winning football matches, but honestly I couldn’t give a monkey’s whether he wins it or not. Just get the team ready and go out there to get us three points on Sunday – worth ten Manager of the Month awards to me.

Other than that there isn’t a lot really going on. The papers are going with more transfer tittle tattle but 99.9% will have absolutely no base to it so I’ve not even bothered to click on any of the links this morning. Instead I’ll focus on what Mikel says in his presser and hope it is only good things.

Catch you wonderful people tomorrow.