Do they? No.
Looking at the run-in fixtures back in January, I was pretty happy with how things looked. Spurs had a difficult run of games in Ferbruary/March, and while we still had to face City, Chelsea, and Spurs themselves, they were all at home.
And that’s really been the difference this season from last. The Emirates is a fortress. Or at least more of a fortress than it’s ever been in it’s short history. We have not only been winning, we have been almost Barcelona-esque in our dominance of teams. This, I believe, is down to the new atmosphere at the Emirates, borne from the wins against Spurs and Milan.
And it’s a strange sort of dominance. We have pressed extremely well lately, a result of the season long gelling the team has done, and we’ve pushed teams back, forcing them to defend in their own box for most of the 90 minutes.
But we’re not splitting defences and creating a lot of chances. Everything seems to nicely until we get to the edge of the box, and then we’re unable to find that final pass or shot. Rosicky and Arteta have the work rate and maturity to dominate the middle third and push us forward. Benayoun’s inclusion on the left has given us a bit more stability than the erratic Gervinho. But neither of those three can play that precise, threaded through ball that players like Cesc and Silva have made a living on.
Song can play those passes sometimes, but only sometimes. RvP is the only one who can do it consistently but he plays up top, as a #9. He is often the one making the run that the pass needs to pick out. Song has often provided those for him, even in past seasons, but again, Song is a #6 or a #8, never a #10. If he is afforded space deep in midfield, he will make those passes, but when the defences are tight and the pressing against us is good, he doesn’t really have the technique to make those passes.
Maybe this flaw in our game is why we have not quite been able to replicate our form away from home. We aren’t able to have the territorial dominance that we enjoy at home (that is, we aren’t able to camp in our opponents’ halves), and we often have less possession, so our attackers get less chances to try to create something. In the end, we often don’t create that much and end up losing.
So that is something that needs to be addressed in the summer. Maybe Wilshere (or even Diaby or Ramsey) are the answer for next season. For now, we must enjoy this flawed but amazing team as they sweep all that is in front of them.
The latest to be swept were Wolves. At their own ground, too. It was almost like a home game. We had 71% possession. 3 goals scored. 0 against. Sounds like a routine home win.
Now we have just two away games left to play. Stoke and WBA. Those have to be considered our toughest games.
At home we face Wigan, then Chelsea, then Norwich. We will beat them all handily. Chelsea are poor and the way we dominated Man City, you have to say we would absolutely murder the Chavs at the Emirates.