Thanks to Everton’s continued run in the FA Cup, our match on March 9th has been postponed so that they can face Wigan. While some are encouraged to think that this opens up our post-Spurs schedule to focus on prepping for the trip to Allianz Arena to play Bayern on March 13th, I don’t think this is worth a warm bowl of spit. No offense, but (1) Bayern is well-nigh untouchable and (2) more importantly, we have
bigger more-important fish to fry. Simply put, our sole focus should be UCL qualification next year. I might change my tune if we defeat Spurs on Sunday, but I doubt it. All of this is to me proverbial deck-chair rearranging on the Titanic. Whether we face Bayern on ten days rest, as it now stands, or four, as it once stood, doesn’t seem to matter.
Instead, let’s maintain proper focus. The biggest question in my mind isn’t how this affects our preparation for Bayern; it’s how this affects our preparation for Sunday first and foremost and our preparation for Everton whenever we do face them. After Spurs, we face a tricky trip to Swansea, who I hope will still be suffering a hangover after winning the club’s first-ever trophy in 100 years. By the by, I think it’s awesome. I pull for underdogs, and ever since they beat us, I’ve admired them. Laudrup has done a fantastic job and am thrilled for their success. I just don’t want it to continue when we face them–we’d better arrive with revenge and three points on our minds. After that, there’s a week’s break until we face Reading on March 30th.
Is it possible that we’d face Everton on the 23rd? There are no Prem games scheduled for that week. [see below–ed.]That’d be my choice–I’d prefer to avoid a Monday or Tuesday match regardless of who we’d face the on the following Sunday. After hosting us, Spurs travel to Anfield. It’s entirely possible that we could win Sunday, Spurs could lose to Liverpool, and we’d emerge one point behind Spurs and with a game in hand. Talk about pressure–how would Mr. Parker spin that? If we’re deflated and reeling from keeping pace, how might he and his mates feel at being in that tenuous position?
UPDATE. As I write, Arsenal’s official site has confirmed that the match against Everton will now be on March 16th, unless Everton defeats Wigan, in which case our match moves to March 17th. I can’t say I’m thrilled by either option, as both give us three games inside of a week, albeit all of them at home: Fulham on 4/13, Everton on 4/16 or 4/17, and Fulham on 4/20. Be that as it may, it comes on the heels of Spurs’ own trio of tough matches, hosting Everton 4/6, going to Chelsea 4/13, and hosting Man City on 4/20. Talk about a manic month of football. “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft agley” and all that. Buckle up, boys ‘n girls.