STARING down the barrel of a trip to the Emirates, Gary Megson is praying the Gunners don’t click as they did so effectively at the Reebok earlier this season.

Back in September, Wanderers were cruising, a Kevin Davies goal to the good, until Arsenal woke sensationally from their slumber.

For 20 spellbinding minutes before half time the Whites were chasing shadows. Arsene Wenger’s side seized an advantage they never surrendered and won the game 3-1.

Megson admits his side have a near-impossible task should the same happen again this weekend.

“It’s the best football I have seen all season,” he said. “We were just mesmerised by it for a 20-minute spell. The goal was offside, I think the linesman must have been mesmerised as well, but the football they played was incredible – we couldn’t get anywhere near them.”

Unfortunately for the Gunners, such displays have been few and far between this season.

Inconsistency has crept in, leaving them adrift of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United in the title race.

But Megson thinks Wenger’s young guns can still make up ground.

“I don’t think they have got any problems myself,” he said.

“It shows how football has changed. They are just outside the top four and still in the Champions League. I wish I had those problems.

“We are only just over halfway in the season and they still have to play three of the big four.

“If they get good results against them, allied to good results elsewhere they are not that far away and it changes very quickly.

“I think there has been a couple of occasions this season already where the top four have all not won on the same day. All that needs to happen for Arsenal to be right back in there again would be for them to win.”

While Megson has the utmost admiration for the job Wenger has done at Arsenal, he was less than impressed by the stream of complaints that emanated from the Gunners’ dressing room after their last encounter.

Once again, Davies was the main target of the Londoners’ scorn after his robust challenge on Gael Clichy caused the French defender to be stretchered off the pitch.

Six months earlier, Abou Diaby was handed a straight red card by referee Chris Foy – also in charge for tomorrow’s game – for a horrific tackle on Gretar Steinsson, but the Wanderers boss argues no such commotion was made.

“Every time we play, things seem to be overshadowed by an incident and usually a tackle,” he said. “We didn’t make anywhere near the fuss that would have been made by other people when Diaby was sent off for a tackle on Gretar. We just accepted it and got on with it.

“There was a tackle that was even worse in that game by an Arsenal player on El-Hadji Diouf but again, we didn’t make a fuss. We never have and never will.

“There was a complete furore over the legality of Kevin Davies’ tackle on Gael Clichy. In my view, yes it was a firm challenge, yes he had to slide in to get it, his momentum has gone through and caught him. We were all worried at the time because there was a suspected fracture but it was nowhere near that.”

In fact, Clichy had returned to training by Tuesday and played in Arsenal’s next game, against Liverpool in the Champions League.

Such rants by Wenger have become commonplace when Wanderers come to town but that does not stop Megson holding the Frenchman high in his estimation.

“I think Arsenal are the most attractive team,” he said. “The football they play is sublime, everyone is comfortable in possession, quick and athletic.

“They are in a transitional period – they would admit that themselves – but some of the younger players they are bringing through now are amazing talents. Arsene has fantastic respect from myself as a manager.

“He took over a good team that had been put together by George Graham and Bruce Rioch – people forget he signed David Platt and Denis Bergkamp – and changed the ethos of the whole club.

“He has got a legacy there now, and I know you shouldn’t say that until someone has left the place, but it is a different place.”