All of a sudden Arsenal's home game with Stoke is taking on enormous significance.
A match that a couple of weeks ago would have seemed like a routine victory for free-scoring Arsenal has become a must-win game for a team rapidly in danger of losing its way after consecutive defeats in the Premier League.
In the wake of losing 3-0 to Chelsea on Sunday, Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky admitted the club's season is in danger of falling apart unless they can beat Stoke on Saturday.
The Czech international said: “Definitely we have to show our mental strength now. Letting our season fall apart would be the biggest mistake we can make.
“We have to show a reaction in the next game. That's all we can do. The next match is vital for us to get back on track. After a defeat like this, you need to have a good reaction; if not it could be even more difficult.”
One of the most pressing tasks for manager Arsene Wenger is to convince his side they still have plenty to play for, despite two poor results in their last two Premier League games.
“We are fighters,” Wenger said. “And we have to show that in our next game. The problem we will face now is that people will not believe in us. We have to make sure that that lack of belief doesn't diminish our belief.”
The absence of Robin Van Persie for most five months with torn ankle ligaments has to be addressed by Wenger as a matter of urgency. With Nicolas Bendtner recovering from a groin injury, there is no natural replacement.