Arsenal are under a lot of pressure at the moment following back-to-back defeats to Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup and Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
A perfect run of form over the final stage of the Premier League season has never been more important for the club as it may be the first time in well over a decade that they don’t qualify for Champions League football next season.
They are playing a side in Aston Villa that is scrapping for dear life at the other end of the table, which makes them dangerous and defeat in this game could cause more than just a few boos around the Emirates.
If Arsenal lose and other results go against them, they could be back down into sixth place but more significantly the pressure on the manager and the players at the club will grow to an even higher point.
Arsenal fans shouldn’t be too worried because all of the stats are heavily in your favour; Arsenal have seven wins at home this season and only Manchester United have scored more goals at home.
Villa have only won two matches away from home all season and they have conceded more away goals than any other team. This suggests Arsenal should be focused on a big win as opposed to possibly losing this match.
However, nerves and pressure make even the most experienced and effective stars topple. These negative thoughts are something Arsene Wenger will be doing his best to prevent from creeping into the minds of his players.
If, and it’s a big if, Arsenal do lose this game then Wenger will take it on the chin and while it’s unlikely to be decisive, it could have an oddly positive effect at the end of the season.
If Arsenal hit the end of May without fourth place, meaning no Champions League, then the pressure will really be on for the club to spend big and make good of the short comings the side has shown this season.
It almost seems unthinkable that Arsenal could possibly lose at him to Aston Villa but far funnier things have happened in the great game.
Arsenal fans, what are your thoughts ahead of the weekend?
image: © Matt and Kim Rudge