It's getting to that time of the season when a fan can start to dream of the trophy success that may await. But to keep the feelgood factor around the club, Arsenal have to emerge relatively unscathed from a rotten run of fixtures, starting this weekend at Stoke in the FA cup.
It's a problematic tie, not just in a footballing sense. Despite our unexpected rise to the top of the league, it remains that the FA cup is our best chance of silverware. So one would be hoping that Wenger field a pretty strong side, while still being able to rest a few key men.
With the injury list as it is, however, there is no happy medium. It would be foolish to play Fabregas, Arshavin, and others because we have to go to Villa in midweek and play Man Utd after that. But we don't have Song, Nasri, Ramsey, Van Persie, Bendtner, Gibbs, Diaby, Eboue- first teamers and able deputies will be missing. It means that Wenger will either be forced to play a few of the key men when he doesn't want to, or, as is more likely, it will be a very youthful side.
We may see Denilson, Eduardo and perhaps the start of campbell's second stint, alongside Silvestre. Maybe clichy will be given more minutes. Other than that, it will surely be a young side. can Merida, Wilshere, Eastmond and Vela pull through? Or will we be left with two trophies to play for?