Well I don’t think any of us really expected City to drop any points yesterday, did they? This isn’t the same Brighton as last season but as a well as that, Brighton are very much in ‘on the beach’ mode on 44 points and with little chance of getting in to the European spots, so that game played out last night as you’d expect. Even down to the dodgy refereeing decisions. I’ve seen a few people talking about three or four penalty calls for Brighton. I’ve seen them and a couple look 50/50, but a couple do look fairly obvious to me. So City getting away with a few there it looks like. Quelle surprise. The second goal as well…blimey…when you watch how Foden got the ‘foul’ for falling over before they scored, it looks very suspect in deep. Jarrod Gillet for you though. Awful ref.

As for The Arsenal, well, the count down begins, guys, and the nerves are already kicking in, I have to say. I’ve been on this blog for a few years now and I’ll be saying it all weekend: I hate this fixture. By far the worst one when it’s at their gaff and already I am dreading it. Which is mad when you think about the difference between the two teams; if we were to somehow get a win on Sunday it would mean St Totteringham’s day and that we are 20 points better than them


That’s the sort of gulf that when we’d see that between us and Liverpool/City we would think they were in another stratosphere to us. And if there wasn’t the same sort of linkages in geography and rivalry between the two sides, I’d be going in to this game saying “we need to get the job done here. We are better than them”. But it’s that NLD vibes that are so nerve racking that are, even now as I type this on a Friday morning, there’s a tension in my fingers. It’s only going to get worse this weekend I suspect. I’m going to need a lot of beer…

At least for now we can look at the table and see us top though. That’s nice. I’m not sure how much it’s gonna last because although Forest are fighting at the bottom for their survival, I’m not expecting them to put up much of a fight against City. It’s good that City played on Thursday and therefore perhaps Forest can be a little fresher and prepared for that game, but let’s not hold our hopes up too much, eh? We have a massive hurdle to overcome ourselves and what’s depressing is that even if we do overcome it, you only have to look at the fact that City winning against Forest will still mean that a win for them at the Scum in a couple of week’s time will put them back on top. I will hold absolutely no hope for Spurs in that game; they’ll be happy to roll over and so it means that we will need to do something special this weekend to maintain any semblance of hope.

But that’s where we’re at now and we’ve known it for some time; this league is relentless and there can be no slip ups. Man City haven’t lost in 18 games, they aren’t losing any more, so we’re down to just hoping that teams can pick up draws against them. I was thinking about that this morning on my run first thing. I thought to myself “if we draw against the Scum, then Man City match that, could we still do it?”. The answer is probably ‘no’, unfortunately, so it shows you the complete lack of margin for error that we have. A draw this weekend puts us on 78 points. City will beat Forest and that’ll be 79 points for them with a game in hand. It means that basically they can afford to cock up in one game and they’d still have enough of a buffer to win the league. See what I mean when I say no margin for error? We’re at the stage where even a draw at your hated rivals can’t be seen as a good point. There is no more ‘good point’ for Arsenal this season. There are only ‘points’. It’s win or bust and that pressure is crazy.

So I have to give props to those Arsenal players, because in the last two games at least, they’ve taken that pressure and they’ve just dealt with it. Wolves was a tough opponent. They dealt with it. Chelsea have some good players and caused City problems last weekend. They dealt with it. And just when you think the pressure can’t be ratcheted up any more, we have the biggest North London Derby that we’ve had in easily 20 years.

It’s all become black and white right now. There will either be jubilation and delight, or sadness and sorrow. There is no “I’ll take that” that we might have had in previous seasons. It’s binary now and that in itself is somewhat terrifying. Like better your house all on red at the casino.

At the end of the season I will try to find some time for reflection because what we do have to recognise is that this team has done really well to adapt to injuries, to chasing, we’ve looked better defensively, we’re on course to be even better offensively, we’ve looked like a really good side and we should all be proud. But right now the nerves ahead of a massive game is outweighing that.

And it’s only Friday!

I’ll catch you all tomorrow. Might do a bit of analysis on the Scum and where they might hurt us. As well as give some thoughts on Arteta’s press conference.

Have a good one peeps.