United will be gunning for us – that’s for sure

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We've made it through to the last 16 of the Champions League, but not nearly as comfortably as the nine points and 14 goals whilst striding through the first three games promised.

But hey, are through and we're likely to have a tasty encounter which will make for good football. You've got to beat the best after all.

Next it's the big one! Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday night. It's a winnable Barclays Premier League game considering that our away form is the best it has been for years, and the Red Devils have never looked as shaky as they have done this term.

But Fergie's boys are no doubt lying in wait in the proverbial dark alley, ready to jump out and rob Arsenal of their most valuable possession – top spot in the league.

We have a difficult Christmas period ahead before the chance to rest up with turkey and beer, with the Man United game closely followed by Chelsea which is just as important a clash.

It would be naive to believe their current dip in form will remain unaddressed for long, not with the quality they have at the Stamford Bridge. We can only hope that their bad run goes on as long as possible, obviously.

After Christmas we will be closer to the return to regular first team football of Thomas Vermaelen in central defence, the long heralded return of Aaron Ramsey after suffering a broken leg that we'll all be hard pushed to forget and of course. Let’s hope midfield terrorist Cesc Fabregas can hopefully stay fit and find a spell of good form.

I have to say that we have looked vulnerable at the back, but still we are top of the league. I think that’s a step in the right direction, something to silence the Arsenal naysayers that always harp on about bottom lines and empty trophy cases. In previous seasons we’ve played better, but failed to get the right result when all was said and done.

There’s still a long way to go until silverware is in the cabinet, but we know what we have to do. As Winston Churchill said ‘however beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results’.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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Thomas Vermaelen
Premier League

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