Arsenal came agonizingly close to pulling off statistically the most unlikely of European comebacks. And the limitations of that failure have been duly dissected and analyzed, for next time.
All focus turns now to the Premier League where there are still 9 games to decide if the Gunners will have another chance to make amends next season. History tells us that when Arsenal suffer such a disappointing end to their European season, it usually results in transferring the aggression to local opponents. See post-Bayern away form, 2013.
Newcastle will not want to be the team to bear the full brunt of a wounded Arsenal side but that could be their fate on Saturday. John Carver will pit his wits and his men, who are on a dreadful run of just 3 wins in their last 16, against Wenger’s charges who, generally, are much better nowadays at winning. The Gunners are on a good of 13 wins in their last 15 and if they score without conceding at St. James’, it will be a sixth consecutive League win, a feat leaders Chelsea cannot currently boast.
Little wonder there has been some talk of a possible late title surge from Arsenal. Just one point behind City, second place would seem the more realistic possibility as it would require monumental carelessness for Mourinho to moan himself into losing grip.
You feel it would be damaging for the players to have their thoughts that far at the moment. For all the proximity to the summit, there is no way Wenger will fail to notice the steady pursuit of United and Liverpool, though one of them could slip a step backwards when they clash on about 24 hours later at Anfield.
The only thing that matters is to go and get the points at Newcastle and having won seven on the trot against the Geordies, an eight should be one of the weekend’s giveaways.
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