'Crazy' Song itching for return
Alex Song admits he has been going crazy watching from the sidelines during a two-match ban - and cannot wait to get back into action.
The race for the Premier League crown has developed into one of the closest of recent seasons, with only two points now separating the top three, although Chelsea have played a game less.
Indeed, should Arsenal beat struggling West Ham at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, then they would lead the table again, as both their rivals do not play until Sunday when Chelsea head to Blackburn and Manchester United have the small matter of the visit of Liverpool to contend with.
The Cameroon midfielder incurred a domestic suspension after a 10th yellow card of the season at Stoke, in the match where Aaron Ramsey suffered an horrific double leg break. Song admits he has not been the best armchair spectator, having watched his team-mates scrap their way to a crucial three points at Hull with a stoppage-time goal from Nicklas Bendtner.
"I was like a crazy man," said Song. "I jumped everywhere. "I was watching it with my son and he did not know what was happening - but when Nicklas scored, I just said 'yeeeeeessssssss'."
Song added: "It is very difficult to watch your friends when you don't play, but I had confidence in my team. We have the players to come in and do well.
"Now we are in a strong position and we will fight in the games that are left." Song maintains Arsenal have what it takes to go on and lift a first championship since 2004.
"The mentality has changed for us. Everyone has in their head that we need to do something this year. It is very important for us," he told Arsenal TV Online.
"The manager trusts us to do the job. "If the referee says we have four minutes or two minutes left then the boss says 'don't panic, be confident and play'.
That means if the opposition team drop we have the chance to score.
"If the game is not finished we know we can score at anytime."
Arsenal will learn their opponents for the quarter-finals of the Champions League in Friday's draw, which could see the Gunners face United in European competition once again.
The Gunners expect to welcome back captain Cesc Fabregas from a hamstring injury to face West Ham, along with Czech winger Tomas Rosicky after a groin problem, but William Gallas' "endless calf injury" is an ongoing concern. Young defender Armand Traore, meanwhile, has re-affirmed his commitment to the Gunners after he was quoted in the French press stating his affection for home-town club Paris St Germain.
Traore, 20, maintained: "I am annoyed, because I spoke with good intention, but it hasn't come out that way.
"I said I would maybe like to play there eventually because I grew up supporting PSG, but nowhere near the summer. "I come from Paris. It is true that I have supported PSG and I like the club, but my ambition is to play for Arsenal and that is it. I am only concentrated on Arsenal.
"I do not want the Arsenal fans to think that my heart is not with this club. I am fully committed with Arsenal and the manager."