This is the big one for Arsenal. After Newcastle United won at the weekend, they are safe from relegation, while Wigan have to win both of their remaining games to stand any chance of being in the Premier League next season. So both teams absolutely must win at the Emirates tonight.
It will be a test of nerve as well as ability, which Arsenal have shown a lot of since losing the North London derby over two months ago.
Arsenal haven't had an easy time during the last few seasons, big players have left, captains have left two seasons in a row and every time a new season starts we find ourselves scratching our heads at why we have made another profit during the transfer window and how we can possibly move forward like this?
A Defence To Rely On? That Doesn't Sound Like Arsenal... by DG
In recent years, Arsenal's defence has become somewhat of a stereotype to beat us with. Since the glory days of Adams, Dixon and co have passed, we have struggled to put together a truly dependable and cohesive back line that could be depended on week in week out.
After last night's game, Arsenal have got a reprieve and are now masters of their own destiny. Two wins from the last two games against Wigan Athletic and Newcastle United will ensure a top four finish and continue the incredible run of qualifying for the Champions League under Arsene Wenger. As the Gunners are just two points behind Chelsea in third place and they have two hard games against Aston Villa and Everton, as well as the Europa League final against Benfica in between them, there is still a chance for Arsenal to snatch third place.
In light of what Roy Hodgsen said about the lack of English footballers playing in the Premier League, Arsene Wenger spoke about the English talent he had in the Arsenal ranks. Wenger told Arsenal.com about the English divisions that implicate upcoming talent as well as the understanding that all the players want to play in the best league, suggesting that if all the highest quality of players are of different nationalities to English then its inevitable that there will be a decline in English players at the best clubs.
The England manager Roy Hodgson has been speaking about the English International side being at a disadvantage because there are so many top-class foreigners playing in the Premiership reducing the pool of players that Hodgson has got to choose from.
Wenger understands his problem and thinks that the England team are a victim of the success of the Premier League.
Fulham vs Arsenal preview, predicted line up and score prediction by KJ
Arsenal had been in a very rich vein of form recently until they ended a good run with a stalemate against Everton on Tuesday. It wasn't a bad result, but a top team should be winning that match and cementing their authority on 3rd.
With Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott back from injury, Arsenal have almost a full complement of players to choose from for the hugely important five Premier league games left in this season. Only Abou Diaby is unavailable, so every single position in the starting line up is up for grabs. There is fierce competition for a place in the starting line up and this will really help the Gunners to finish the season strongly and grab a Champions League spot for next season.
When Arsenal take on West Brom at the Hawthorns tomorrow, they will be facing a team with a good home record over the season. Their recent form has not been so good, however, with just three wins from the last nine. They came against Sunderland, Swansea and Norwich, so the Gunners should not be too worried.
Kieran Gibbs has been a bit of an enigma for Arsenal fans over the last few seasons, as every time he looked set for a long run in the First XI he has immediately been injured and put back into the treatment room. The same thing happened again this season, but Arsene Wenger thinks that the left-back has improved out of all recognition this season.
Robert Pires spent six seasons at Arsenal, from 2000-2006 and, like a lot of former Gunners, keeps the club close to his heart and follows what is happening. When he was at the club, we were enjoying a great period of success, winning two Premier League titles and three FA cups, as well as making it to the final of the Champions League, which was his last game for the Gunners before moving to Villareal.
The Problem With Two Left Feet, er, Backs A Guest Post from Jon Shay from Woolwich1886
At the risk of knocking a good thing, I still find myself questioning the signing of Nacho Monreal. Back when it first happened, I questioned the move as a panicked signing forced on Arsenal by Gibbs's injury and Santos's poor form.
Throughout the season, questions are always raised about what our best team is. It constantly changes because of a player's form, attitude and possible injuries. However, at the moment, Arsene Wenger has the problem of several players not having a place nailed down in the team.
Swansea vs Arsenal preview, predicted line up and score line prediction by KJ
After the valiant fight back against Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena which went agonisingly close to a great European night in our history, we bring ourselves back into the Premier league on a high in my opinion.
I would not have been too surprised if Arsene Wenger wanted to name the same Arsenal team that started the morale boosting game against Bayern Munich on Wednesday,. but unfortunately Kieran Gibbs looks like he will not be able to play, so Monreal will come in with Jenkinson on the other side.
Wenger said, "I think he(Gibbs) will be out on Saturday.
It was important that Arsenal put in a much better performance than they had in the first leg against Bayern Munich, and they certainly did that. Unfortunately it was just not enough to keep the gunners in Europe, but it will be good morale boost for the players.
Arsenal were in dreamland after three minutes when a slick move between Cazorla, Ramsey and Walcott was finished by Giroud.
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal preview, match line up and score line prediction. by KJ
The sad truth is that this tie is all but lost. Our inability to defend in the first leg has created a monumental task for our players in Germany. We have to go to the Allianz and beat arguably the best side in Europe 3 – 0 at least to qualify for the next round.
Every Arsenal fan will have slumped inwardly when they heard that Jack Wilshere is in the treatment room for the next few weeks. He is the fans favourite and the inspirational force of the team, and will be sorely missed tomorrow in Munich, but this injury could actually benefit Arsenal in the long term.
Arsene Wenger has given an update on the availability of the Arsenal players for the crunch second leg tie against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena tomorrow. There is good news and bad. As expected, Bacary Sagna has not recovered in time from hi9s knee problem, so young Carl Jenkinson will start in his firth European game of the season.
Arsenal have not had many reasons to smile recently. Just over two weeks ago, Blackburn produced a smash and grab to send them out of the FA cup, which was the only realistic hope of ending the trophy drought which the media is so fond of reminding everybody about. A derby defeat is always painful, but this latest one also leaves Arsenal with a lot to do to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Arsenal will travel to White Hart Lane this weekend to face an admittedly very strong Tottenham Hotspur team. This game could effectively make or break the fact of if we get into the Top 4 this year, however it's important to remember it's not over yet despite the scoreline on Sunday, as Wenger said.
At this point in the season, there are usually quite a few injury concerns, so on the whole Arsenal are not doing too badly. There are two players who will definitely not be able to play against Tottenham on Sunday, and one who will have a late fitness test. That puts the Gunners in a better position than Spurs, who have four players on the treatment table.
When Arsene Wenger signed the Spanish international left back Nacho Monreal on transfer deadline day, I must confess I knew very little about the new Arsenal player. The 27-year old arrived from Malaga and was thrown straight in at the deep end because of the injury to Kieran Gibbs and the shocking form of Andre Santos, but he has coped very well.
Arsenal will play host to Aston Villa at the Emirates on Saturday, desperate to restore some confidence and happiness in the Arsenal home fans. It is a must win game in the quest for a 16th year in a row in the UEFA Champions league, but the Gunners will have to do it without the French international defender Bacary Sagna.
I will apologise in advance for the depressing disposition being potrayed in this article, however i do not feel i am exaggerating or being down beat for the sake of it. I love Arsenal but I feel to find solution you have to take an objective look at the problems of which there are many.
Arsene Wenger has been sweating on the fitness of the French international centre back Laurent Koscielny, as Arsenal have been hit with defensive injuries in this crucial period of the season. The 27-year old had to sit out yesterday's training in the hope of being able to play tonight, and it seems to have worked, as the Mirror reports he is fit to play.
It is being reported today that the Arsenal board will back Arsene Wenger with some hard cash this summer to the tune of around £70 million. It could even be more, which should become clearer after the half yearly figures are published around the end of the month. It seems a familiar story, as Wenger was thought to have a decent amount of money to spend in January but only bought a replacement left back on the last day of the transfer window, which he was forced into by the injury to Kieran Gibbs.
We may all be very happy to see Andre Santos depart for Brazil, but Arsenal may be in dire need of some more numbers at the back very shortly. At least Nacho Monreal has settled in very quickly and will certainly be an improvement on the wayward Brazilian, but he will not be available to play in our Champions League games against Bayern Munich.
The Brazilian defender Andre Santos has had a turbulent time since arriving from Turkey, and certainly didn't endear himself to the Arsenal fans either by his performances or by his infamous shirt-swapping episode with Robin Van Persie, so it seems he is more than pleased to have wheedled a return to his homeland with Gremio.
Arsene Wenger may well be wishing he had not been so cautious in last month's transfer window, because Arsenal now look like being without three key defenders for tomorrow's game at Sunderland. Captain Thomas Vermaelen, Kieran Gibbs and Laurent Koscielny are the players injured, leaving just Per Mertesacker as a first choice centre back.
It is fair to say that Andre Santos is not in line for Arsenal Player of the Year this season. After some terrible performances and the van Persie shirt swap fiasco, together with the form of Kieran Gibbs, it seemed likely that he would be moving on. Then we heard that Galatasary had bid around £3 million for the Brazilian at the start of January.
Arsenal face another key month of fixtures in February, with further progress in the Fa cup and the Champions league at stake, as well as the important battle to get past Everton and Tottenham into the qualifying places for next season's elite European competition. One thing that the Gunners have got in their favour is that four out of the five games this month are at the Emirates stadium.
Spanish defenders are like buses, apparently, for Arsenal at least. You wait for the whole of January and then two show up at the same time. That is, if the stories about Nacho Monreal and Fernando Amorebieta are true. My previous post dealt with Amorebieta, so let's look at Nacho.
This transfer seems almost like a done deal, according to the Spanish paper AS and the Daily Mail.
There may be quite a few managers glancing nervously at their phones today, wondering if they are going to get a call from Arsenal. The injury to Kieran Gibbs is going to keep him out for about three weeks apparently, but his last period on the sidelines dragged on longer than expected, and Abou Diaby's three weeks turned into three months.
Towards the end of the first half against Liverpool yesterday, most Arsenal fans will have experienced a sick feeling in their stomach, accompanied by a cold, clammy sensation that smells of pain and defeat. As Kieran Gibbs left the field to be replaced by Andre Santos, we all feared the worst. The only positive is that the injury gave Arsene Wenger 24 hours to find a replacement.
The draw between Arsenal and Liverpool last night, especially the first hour of it, could be one of the most important games of the season. If it forces Arsene Wenger into the transfer market on deadline day that is. Wenger has never liked the January window, claiming it is the last refuge of desperate teams and should be abolished.
Arsenal are utterly shambolic as the same old problems resurface by Adam Kemp
Arsenal has had thirty days to spend the hordes of cash accrued over years of profit takings. I am beginning to think that there is a genuine fear to spend money from the manager, as his obsessive compulsive tendencies illustrate.
Andre Santos had another shocker for Arsenal yesterday, but will it be the last time we see him in an Arsenal shirt? The Brazilian left back has been poor all season, but the worst thing, for Arsenal fans, is his attitude. His passion and drive for the club are just about the opposite to that of Jack Wilshere, but Arsene Wenger has already rejected a bid for him, so he is probably going nowhere this January.
Lukas Podolski has not always been an effectual player for Arsenal since joining from Cologne in the summer, but when he has been, the Gunners have been a much better side. The German gives the attack a great balance, and when he workd hard, he combines to great effect with Kieran Gibbs and helps the midfield and defence last night.
There is no room for error for either team tonight as only a win will do for Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at the Emirates stadium. Although the Gunners would still have a mathematical chance of overtaking Tottenham on the final day of the Premier League season if we drew or lost tonight, realistically it would mean that Arsenal would be consigned to the Europa League next season.