March sees some important fixtures that could decide the fate of Arsenal`s season as they see action on three fronts. All eyes will naturally be on the return leg with Barcelona but the month also hosts some vital games on which the Gunners` campaign will surely turn.
On Wednesday the 2nd, Arsenal host Leyton Orient in an FA Cup 5th round replay that Arsene Wenger would have dearly hoped wouldn`t have been necessary. That game will be decided on the night leaving them free to take on Sunderland on the following Saturday in a game where all fans would be expecting a comfortable three points.
Then, on Tuesday March the 8th, it`s the big one as Arsenal travel to the Nou Camp in the hope of securing their passage into the Champions League quarter finals.
At half time in the first leg at the Emirates, few people would have expected Arsenal to have the remotest chance of progressing, let alone be taking a lead into the second leg. Barcelona had simply outplayed them in all departments and took a 1-0 lead into the break courtesy of a David Villa goal.
Arsenal`s second half comeback was incredible to watch as they seemed to get a sense of belief and goals from Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin ensured a fully deserved 2-1 victory.
Can they finish the job at the Nou Camp? Beating Barcelona in the manner that they did will ensure that they are not short of belief and confidence but they will still have to deal with a side that many consider to be Europe`s best. Aside from the dangerous Lionel Messi, quality runs right through the side from Victor Valdes in goal to David Villa up front. It`s not uncommon for teams to worry too much about Messi and let his colleagues have too much time and space.
Arsenal can certainly win this but without doubt this will be their toughest test of the season and they will be desperate for their inspirational captain Cesc Fabregas to be fit.
With the Barcelona game completed, there`s the small matter of a home FA Cup tie with Manchester United to contend with on Saturday March the 12th. This assumes of course that Arsenal make it past Leyton Orient.
The result of this game could depend on what teams the two sides field. United have rested key players in this competition while Arsenal tend to field their best side in games like these. With home advantage, you would be expecting the Gunners to progress no matter what.
Arsenal`s final March fixture sees them travel to the Hawthorns to take on West Bromwich Albion. At the Emirates in September, West Brom embarrassed Arsenal with a 3-2 victory and the Gunners will go all out to ensure there are no repeats.
So can Arsenal beat Manchester United in the cup and overtake them in the league? Recent results and the return to form of players such as Robin Van Persie seems to suggest that they can. Crucial to their run in will be the fitness of key players and recent injuries to Theo Walcott and Cesc Fabregas won`t help the cause. This promises to be a dramatic title contest this season and the watch live football on line will be literally unmissable.