Wenger acutely aware that Arsenal face crucial period which could define their season

Arsene Wenger will task his players to win Arsenal’s next four games to keep on track the pursuit of a domestic double this season.

The Gunners have two games at home coming up and are odds on to do well for the the forthcoming games against Burnley and Watford. In between they travel to face Southampton at St Mary’s in the fourth round of the FA Cup,    and then they go to league leaders Chelsea for a top flight show down at Stamford Bridge.

Yes, with Antonio Conte’s Blues so dominant in the top flight this campaign, the odds will be against Wenger’s men. And Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United will still have a huge say on where the title lands come the conclusion of the season.

But don’t bet against Wenger or his team. With players such as Frances Coquelin and Hector Bellerin nearing fitness once more, the squad will get a big boost. The Clarets, who are at the Emirates on Sunday (2pm kick-off), will never roll over,  any team bossed by Sean Dyche will put up a fight. But the Gunners should prevail.

They then have a break from league action when they tackle the Saints in the FA Cup — a trophy with which they have somewhat of a love affair, having lifted the old trophy a record 12 times in their illustrious history.

Then Arsenal host Watford on January 31 and if you were a neutral considering a wager then your money, realistically, would only be going on the home side. Of course, Watford have been a stubborn opponent in north London in the past — but on current form, and with Wenger’s side winning comfortably in the reverse fixture, it is the Reds who should bag the points.

The next game for the Gunners is far more difficult to call. They go to west London to take on Chelsea on February 4, and if you would offer Arsenal fans a draw and a point they would probably bite your arm off. Yet, with talent such as Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in their ranks, the visitors on the day could surprise the odds and snatch a win.

One player key to Arsenal’s goal-scoring prowess is Olivier Giroud, who has found the net in his previous five outings. And the France striker has revealed his frustration at being sidelined for a period before he got his chance and won back his starting place.

He said:

“It’s always hard when you see the team doing well and you’re not on the pitch. You can’t show what you want to do. Step by step, I came back well and you see the confidence was getting higher and higher. I never doubted my quality, it was just about having game time.”