This time last month Arsenal were still very much in the Premier League title race and very much looking forward to the end of a season that was looking very promising.
Now, Arsene Wenger’s players are on tenterhooks and tensely looking over their shoulders to make sure that they finish fourth.
Ahead of this weekend’s rounds of matches, the Gunners find themselves just a point ahead of Everton in fourth and 10 points behind leaders Liverpool. The title challenge is now dead and buried and so could their quest to retain their Champions League status.
That’s because Everton are in league action on Saturday, while Arsenal will be involved in the FA Cup. If the Toffees pick up three points against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light as expected to, then the London outfit will take to the Wembley pitch for their semi-final tie against Wigan Athletic placed fifth in the Premier League.
Uwe Rosler is aware of that, which is perhaps why he has further increased the pressure on Arsenal, claiming that win or lose on Saturday, Wigan have already been victorious. The Latics clinched the FA Cup under Roberto Martinez last season – the same Roberto Martinez who is at Everton and is just six matches away from completely destroying Arsenal’s season – and have been absolutely brilliant in coming so far in the competition yet again.
Wigan have not had an easy run-in to Wembley either. They have had to knock out three Premier League teams in their last three rounds, and they did so by a 2-1 margin. Crystal Palace were vanquished at the DW Stadium in January and in February Cardiff City went down on their own turf. The big scalp came on March 9 when the mighty Manchester City were made to eat humble pie at the Etihad Stadium.
Rosler was appointed the Wigan boss in December 2013 and has done an impressive job in taking them from 14th to fifth in the Championship, with a playoff spot looking pretty much guaranteed at the moment. The German boss will certainly be hoping for promotion back to the Premier League, but for now he will continue to lead the team’s quest towards a second successive FA CUP triumph.
"We're going to Wembley and we're meeting a top team in the Premier League," Sky Sports quotes him as saying. "We are the massive underdog but we have presented ourselves so far in a very, very good way. We've made our supporters proud and we're going to Wembley; we can't lose, we only can win.
"Everybody highlighted the fact Arsenal now really have to go for the FA Cup and win the FA Cup. Their own players said that this week and obviously that puts a little bit of extra pressure on Arsenal.
"There were always positive vibes and positive memories about the cup. We had to put a lot in that first round against MK Dons, it went to extra time and we overcame that hurdle. Then we just enjoyed the occasion to meet the Premier League sides.
"My players are used to playing against Premier League sides and they are missing that this season. For them it was always like 'come on, I can still do it' and here we are in the semis."
Rosler will also be keen to banish his own bad memories from Wembley. Last season he led Brentford to the League One playoff final, but they lost to Yeovil Town.
This time the 45-year-old will be doubly motivated to make sure that he leaves Wembley with a smile on his face and a dream in his players’ eyes - the dream of winning the world’s oldest club competition for the second year running.