What this week means for Arsenal

Posted by Sam Limbert

Stuart MacFarlane/Getty ImagesSanti Cazorla and Arsenal control their own destiny in qualifying for the Champions League.

It's been a momentous week in British football. Whatever your club allegiance, it's hard to ignore the impact Sir Alex Ferguson has had on the game and the remarkable sustained period of dominance that he has overseen at Manchester United.

However, with the changes at Manchester United understandably dominating the footballing headlines this week, everything has been rather quiet on the Arsenal front. There have been rumours of a bumper new kit deal, which was well analysed yesterday by Andrew Mangan, but what most Arsenal fans have had to focus on has been the other teams playing key catch-up fixtures in the Premier League.

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With just two games remaining in the season and with Arsenal still embroiled in a battle to make the Champions League, two matches this week could have a significant impact on the Gunners' sprint to the finish.

Arsenal's next game is on Tuesday against Wigan Athletic, and despite their usual surge towards survival at the end of the season, the match will hold immense significance for the Latics. Their 3-2 defeat against Swansea City on Tuesday means they are perilously placed in the bottom three, three points from safety. With other clubs around them having fixtures to play before their visit to the Emirates, it's not impossible for the game to be their last chance to keep survival hopes alive.

Wigan also have the distraction of the FA Cup final this weekend. Between Arsenal's games with Queens Park Rangers and Wigan, the Latics will have played twice, so hopefully that will increase their fatigue ahead of the game with the Gunners.

Should Wigan potentially be relegated at the Emirates on Tuesday, that in turn takes the pressure off Newcastle United for Arsenal's final match of the season at St James' Park as Alan Pardew's side would be safe. With Arsenal likely to need a result in that final match to confirm a Champions League place, most fans would prefer to not face a fired up Newcastle team fighting to stay in the division.

The other key Premier League match this week involved the two clubs sandwiching Arsenal in the table. The much heralded game-in-hand for both sides was always likely to provide a clearer picture as to who will make it into next season's Champions League. The 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Tottenham has simplified Arsenal's task in the final two matches. Win both, and a place in the top four is guaranteed.

Hopefully, it'll mean that Arsenal fans won't have to go through the pain of watching other teams and relying on them dropping points for the rest of the season. Obviously, Gooners will be keeping a close eye on Aston Villa and Stoke against Chelsea and Spurs this weekend, but there doesn't need to be a reliance on these results now for Arsenal to make the Champions League. The random nature of the season has been difficult for supporters to get their head around. For example, after desperately wanting Chelsea to lose last weekend against Manchester United, Arsenal fans then wanted them to win on Wednesday. This week's result can put an end to that.

The final two games against Wigan and Newcastle United, whatever situation the table is in when the games get played, will be tough for Arsenal. However, this week has seen the permutations for those games become much clearer and simpler. Without being in the news or being on the pitch, it's been a positive week for Arsenal. The team now have to make use of it next Tuesday.

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