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Monday, February 14, 2011

Arsenal gearing up for battle on all four fronts

As Arsenal enter the final third of the season, the find themselves exactly where their supporters would have wanted them to be: still fighting for silverware in every competition they have entered. Currently sitting just behind the leaders in the Premier League, they are also staring down the barrel of a potentially tricky tie away at Leyton Orient in the FA Cup as well as an even visit from Barcelona in the Champions League – and that's before we even mention their Carling Cup final against Birmingham later on this month. It would appear that Arsene Wenger's squad will be kept very busy indeed over the next few weeks and betting football fans will be watching closely.

But the Frenchman would clearly not have it any other way – after all, when you have been criticised as heavily as he has for going over five years without securing a major trophy, it must be remembered that Arsenal are still competing on four fronts at this stage of the season. Despite clearly playing the most aesthetically pleasing football in England – if not Europe – Wenger's sides over the years have been criticised for their quest for perfect football, especially when it appears to come at the cost of the ancient art of winning ugly. They don't look like good Champions League betting tips right now, so they may need to change their style if they are to go all the way.

Whether the Emirates' faithful would sacrifice their unique brand of football for the reward of more regular trophies is a subject for great debate; after all, if a job's worth doing, surely it's worth doing properly? But on the other hand, if you're not winning, are you really the best football team in the country? This season however, the fans seem to be getting the best of both worlds – beautiful football played by a mix of young and old, foreign and home-grown – and all the time leaving opponents in their wake.

If Arsenal go on to beat Birmingham at Wembley on the 27th February, then one can only imagine that an enormous weight will be lifted from their shoulders – beauty and bite can be combined to win trophies – but there's little doubt that on just this occasion and after such a long wait, they'd take for a win in any form.

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