As Arsenal prepare for the final three games of their campaign, they will hope the results are very different to last season.
With just three games left, Arsene Wenger will look at his side’s remaining fixtures with a mixture of hope and anxiety.
But his worry shouldn’t simply be for a game in which anything can happen. He need only look at the corresponding fixtures last season to know his side are a long way from securing a place in the European elite.
On paper, Arsenal’s games are eminently winnable.
Away matches against QPR and Newcastle and a home game against Wigan should be handled with relative ease for a top four side.
But we all know there is no such thing as an easy game in the Premier League. And while QPR’s relegation has been sealed, both Wigan and Newcastle are fighting for their lives.
Last season, those three fixtures saw Arsenal take one point from nine.
And while the Magpies are not the upwardly mobile force of last year, and Wigan are far from the relegation-fighting cavaliers that saw them win seven of their last nine games, Arsenal must hope history doesn’t repeat itself.
Wenger has already said there is no room for mistakes, but even with a perfect finish they require Tottenham to slip up in at least one of their four remaining games.
Each season is different from the last. And Arsenal have already gone some way to proving that by drawing with United at home where last season they lost 2-1.
They must now go one better and win all three matches, ignoring their end-of-season wobbles while hoping Spurs submit to their own.
Will Arsenal take maximum points from their remaining games? And will it be enough to secure a top four finish?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald