I was listening to the Guardianâ€™s Football Weekly Extra podcast the other day, and Rob Smyth stuck his neck out by stating heâ€™d be â€œastonishedâ€ if Arsenal didnâ€™t win the league this season. A pretty bold prediction if you ask me. You wonâ€™t catch me sticking my neck out on such matters â€“ in fact, if thereâ€™s a way of sticking your neck in Iâ€™ll be doing that instead.
Weâ€™re at that stage of the season where if you make the foolish error of looking at the top threeâ€™s run-ins â€“ as I did yesterday – you can get a bit giddy.
But the bottom line is thereâ€™s still nearly 20% of the season to go and given this group of playersâ€™ relative lack of recent experience of title run-ins, we remain third favourites for a good reason.
Besides, if you ask me itâ€™s a myth to think that our run-in is necessarily easier just because we donâ€™t have to play Man Utd, Chelsea or Liverpool again. Looking at the nine teams we have to play, in their current league positions, five of them are looking over their shoulders at relegation and two are vying for fourth. Only Fulham and Birmingham are mid-table, but even the latter might fancy a sniff at the Zooropa League.
The first of the five is tonight at Hull, second bottom and still nursing sore behinds from a 5-1 mauling at Everton.
However, for all their dismality away from home â€“ feel free to use that word again, if you ever need to – their home record is pretty decent. Their two most recent games were a win against Man City and a draw against Chelsea. Thereâ€™s also an element of previous between the clubs, and who knows what might surface there.
Weâ€™re probably without Fabregas and Song is suspended, but the other doubts should make it, and if we can line up anything like this then itâ€™s a side with huge attacking potency. Any sort of voodoo we can perform to ensure Big Sol is fit would also be welcome.
Itâ€™s going to be a tough one, I suspect, assuming Hull have focussed their minds since two of their players had a scrap by the Humber Bridge in front of a Womenâ€™s Institute rally. I thought I was hallucinating when I read that. Too weird on too many levels.
Thatâ€™s it for now â€“ come on you reds!