The bookies make us very much second favourites for Saturday's trip to The Emirates, and even putting aside our miserable away form, Arsenal's resurgence of late backs this up in what is expected to be a very different game than when we met earlier in the season, where we arguably caught them at the ideal time.
Whilst we have some injury doubts (the most serious appearing Bellamy), Arsenal welcome back the trio of Fabregas, Adebayor and Walcott to their squad and have impressed in recent weeks with the addition of Arshavin as they have hurtled past Aston Villa to take possession of fourth place and it would now be a surprise if they relinquished their hold on a Champions League spot.
It is speculated that Hughes could be tempted to adopt a new look formation, with Robinho likely the fall guy as he seeks to become the latest away manager to irk Arsene Wenger by adopting a more cautious approach with perhaps Ireland operating in from the left with Wright-Phillips on the opposite side, aligned with a defensive trio of Zabaleta, de Jong and Kompany.
In our bid to finish in seventh place, it is essential that we marry up our home return with some points on the road but it is difficult to see us getting anything tomorrow. Should we fail, and results elsewhere go against us, the sole focus will very much switch to the UEFA Cup.
- Arsenal are the only unbeaten side in 2009.
- We are winless at Arsenal (both Highbury and The Emirates) in 33 years.
- Our league run in after Saturday is as follows - Fulham (h), WBA (h), Everton (a), Blackburn (h), Manchester United (a), Tottenham (a) and Bolton (h).