With the international break finally over and done with, Arsenal are due to start their penultimate month of the season on Sunday against Manchester City. Arsenal usually perform well towards the back end of seasons so they’ll need another end of season run to save their season from the embarrassment of dropping out of the top four.
April sees Arsenal scheduled to play eight games which the players hopefully work through. The month starts at The Emirates against Man City, followed by West Ham (Home), Crystal Palace (Away), Middlesbrough (Away), Sunderland (Home), Leicester (Home) and a final North London derby at White Hart Lane at the end of the month as well as an F.A. Cup Semi-Final against Man City on the 23rd.
It’s not the hardest run of games to look ahead to but it certainly isn’t the easiest with most teams in the fixture list having something to play for. Playing against top six competition like Man City and Spurs along with relegation candidates like Boro and Sunderland.
Hopefully, the awful form from before the international break is out of the system and the squad and Wenger can create some momentum going into the rest of the season. In past seasons Arsenal haven’t had much trouble picking up points in April, creating the idea that Arsenal start to play well when there’s nothing to win.
Over the last five seasons (including 2011/12), the Gunners have averaged 9.8, or we could just round that up to 10, points from an average of 5 games in April. With those numbers in mind, it could be expected that Arsenal will pick up around 18 points this April. But as everyone knows, anything can happen in football.
Of late Arsenal haven’t shown much that would make most think they can go on a run, but with a few players performing well during the break, fans will hope they can carry this form over back to club football.
With a goal and an assist in Chile’s 3-1 win over Venezuela on Tuesday, the popular opinion is that Alexis Sanchez is Arsenal’s form player. Playing to the left-hand side in that game maybe it’s better he gets regular game time there instead of switching him back to striker.
Another forward that performed well over the break was Olivier Giroud in France’s 3-1 win against Luxembourg. The Frenchman scored a brace to break into France’s top 10 goal scorers with 23 goals in 61 games for Les Bleus. With Giroud finding the back of the net again maybe this is the time for him to lead the line for Arsenal again and find some momentum. Especially as he has 3 goals in last 5 games against City.
Also with Arsene Wenger having his press conference on Thursday he also revealed something that should encourage Gooners. That Mesut Ozil is in contention to play on Sunday after playing 20 minutes for Germany against Azerbaijan and saying the German “came back focused and worked very hard this week”. Yes, his form isn’t what it was at the start of the season but there’s no doubt that Ozil is one of the best players in the team on his day.
On the other hand, Wenger did say number one keeper Petr Cech will most likely missing the first two games of the month, people may feel less comfortable. But hopefully, David Ospina can deputise the Czech better than he did away at West Brom.
With the stats of yesteryear in Arsenal’s favour, there should be no reason to panic right now. So admittedly with some luck, there is still a possibility of a run being put together and Arsenal securing European football for another season. And maybe April could be made a bit sweeter with a win at Wembley to reach the F.A. Cup Final once again along with another victory at the Lane to top it all off.