With Manchester United losing 3-1 at Goodison Park against Everton, the pressure is now on Arsenal’s young guns to deliver against Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.
Seven days ago I wrote an article explaining why Arsenal were still in the title race, one of the key reasons were the difficult fixtures that both United and Chelsea faced.
Today’s result provides just the first piece of evidence that this is the case. United took the lead against Everton, but David Moyes’ side responded brilliantly, with a thunderous strike by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov following Dimitar Berbatov’s opening goal before youngsters Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell put the game beyond Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
Interestingly, that may provide a slither of support for another article I wrote, but that’s another story.
As for Arsenal, they now need to deliver on their half of the bargain by going on a winning streak and that starts today against Sunderland.
The Gunners welcome back Alex Song this afternoon, and his performance may well be key, with Arsenal making big mistakes against FC Porto in their Champions League tie midweek. Mikael Silvestre also plays alongside Thomas Vermaelen.
If these two can shackle Darren Bent, the Gunners will go a long way towards achieving a result this afternoon.
The hard work starts now, a win will put Arsenal within two points of Manchester United, and they could even send a message with an emphatic victory against the Black Cats; akin to Chelsea’s 7-2 drubbing of Steve Bruce’s side in January.
Even if that doesn’t happen—and it probably won’t—a victory is absolutely vital for Arsenal if they are to claim the Premier League crown.
Time for Arsenal’s youngsters to demonstrate their character and maturity.