Wenger says Arsenal are 'alive' after Spurs win… well, prove it!
Arsene Wenger claims his Arsenal team are 'more alive' than people thought after their dramatic win against Tottenham. That they looked it in the 5-2 victory is undeniable, but for proof of his claim, fans should wait a while.
Their results at AC Milan and Sunderland cannot so easily be forgotten. Consistency is the key and winning when the team are not playing well is important, too.
Sunday's victory against Spurs gave Arsenal fans another happy memory from a difficult season, delayed the advance of their rivals in the Premier League and secured local bragging rights.
Kings of north London: Arsenal beat their fierce rivals 5-2 at the Emirates Stadium last Sunday
Finish the job: The Gunners must follow up their thrilling win to prove it was not another false dawn
But things are still terribly tight between the teams competing for fourth place and Arsenal are not there yet – and there have been false dawns already this season.
Their victory at Chelsea last October was another highlight of a season packed with lowlights and it was followed by some reasonable results. Yet here Arsenal are, having to claim they are not dead yet, again, four months later.
With 12 games to play, there is no more room for error if Wenger's side are not going to flop completely. Fourth place is the minimum Arsenal will accept and it will require quite some resolve to secure it.
Did you know
Arsenal, who posted a 49.5m profit in their last set of accounts, would have made a 14m loss if they had not sold key players such as Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
Mark Tony's words, Hughes
Mark Hughes should beware the terrible tweeter.
QPR chairman Tony Fernandes warned the world that he was about to fire Neil Warnock on the micro-blogging site with some cryptic clues and, on Saturday sent a message to his new boss.
'That's three players we have had sent off in the first 35 mins of each home game,' he tweeted. 'We really are not making it easy for ourselves.'
Watch out, Tony's tweeting: QPR manager Mark Hughes (left) and chairman Fernandes (right)
Fernandes went on to talk about how hard it is to play with 10-men later on and, although one of the sendings-off he referred to came before Hughes took charge, the message was clear.
He may as well have sent his team's boss a memo saying: your team needs to improve their discipline, and fast.
But Fernandes seems to prefer sending his messages to his manager on a public forum – so Hughes had better take heed.
Here's to captain Scott
Congratulations to Scott Parker on being given the England captaincy by Stuart Pearce. There are many reasons why he will be a good leader for his country, many of which I have covered here before.
But those who argue that he should not have been given the armband because he is an inferior player to Steven Gerrard are missing the point.
Centre of attention: Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker is the right man to captain England
Parker's qualities and playing style are very different to Gerrard's. They complement each other. The Tottenham midfielder is the more tactically disciplined and is more inclined to forsake himself for the team. He can lead by example without having to be Roy of the Rovers.
Parker's one failing is the number of bookings he picks up, so let's hope he keeps a clean slate against Holland and gives England a platform – as a player and man – from which they succeed.
A little less conversation…
Making conclusions about Andre Villas-Boas this season has been tricky because of the confusion and contradictions which have surrounded him and Chelsea. But one thing has become abundantly clear: he talks too much.
More from Leo Spall…
Leo's London: AVB may be on borrowed time, but spare a thought for a boss with balls
Leo's London: If Abramovich has any sense, he'll stick with under-fire AVB
Leo's London: Time running out for Spurs to tie Redknapp down to new deal
Leo's London: The FA's Suarez stance causes concern for England at Euros
Leo's London: A move to Madrid could be the only Real way to save Wenger
Leo's London: Terry and Ferdinand should take a rest from the Cup… for the good of the game
Leo's London: What goes around, comes around, Warnock
Leo's London: Henry can show Arsenal the route to success
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Never mind that he drops the old guard one week and reinstates them all the next. That he goes from looking like a brave manager to the too-eager-to-please lapdog of the owner. Or that he gives the impression he is either a genius or fool and we don't yet know which.
Villas-Boas claimed he had the 'unconditional' support of Roman Abramovich and made similarly unrealistic assertions for weeks before admitting that, well, actually, maybe that's not quite right.
There has been public backing for Fernando Torres, too, before what appears to be something closer to the real feeling at Chelsea when Villas-Boas admitted the striker is suffering a crisis of confidence.
Don't forget his vocal backing of the high defensive line he insisted Chelsea hold, either, before they dropped it rather more quietly.
In the early days of Villas-Boas' reign at Stamford Bridge it quickly became clear that he was a manager who could talk. Answers to simple, closed questions, brought long, rambling and sometimes technical answers.
It has occasionally given the impression the Portuguese was obfuscating or trying to fill time to avoid further questioning on potentially controversial matters. But, as time has gone on, Villas-Boas's babbling has just left him looking weak.
He frequently appears as someone who protests too much and should choose his words much more carefully – something which would have the benefit of there being fewer of them.
It is not quite the same as badge kissing or, Robbie Keane-style, claiming to have long dreamed of playing for every club you join. But Crystal Palace fans could pour a little scorn on Neil Warnock's version when he is unveiled as the new manager of a club.
At Leeds, the 63-year-old claimed he has 'one big challenge left', giving the impression that the club will get his last hurrah, even though his deal lasts only until the end of next season. This gives the impression that he will provide new levels of dedication and drive in the hope of going out on a high.
But fans of the Yorkshire club may be wise not to take him precisely on his word. When he joined Crystal Palace in 2007 it was to be his 'last job' too.
The Wright stuff
If you didn't catch any footage of Josh Wright's goal for Millwall at Burnley last weekend, take a look.
His long-range volley was of fantastic quality and, had it been scored in the Premier League, the midfielder's effort would have been given a good deal more praise.
Not only was it spectacular, but it was important, too, extending Millwall's lead to two goals and helping to ease the pressure that was building on them near the foot of the Championship.