Sometimes, after a football match, I can get very angry, It usually comes with a warning, a rising intensity as the 90 plays out. After these matches I have a tendency to rant and sometimes over-react, but I hope, even on my worst days, that I never come close to spilling some of the bile and hatred that you can find on some so-called ‘Arsenal’ blogs.
When I see the hatred that people are capable of spewing towards the team I support and love in so many ways, it angers me far more than losing at home to the Spuds.
It also inspires me to be ridiculously positive and optimistic to try and balance things out.
Well, at least try to.
Let’s not lose sight of where we are. We are two points from the top of the table, yes we could have been one clear, or four, or seven, but we could also be five, eight or eleven behind. It is called ‘FOOTBALL,’ people win and lose and draw, points are picked up and lost. Follow the game long enough, you should work that out for yourself.
We are where we are and there is nothing we can do to change that. Accept it, quit whinging about if’s, but’s and maybe’s and accept what is there in front of you. We are two points behind the leaders despite losing three at home. Don’t talk about ‘could have been’ and ‘should have been’ because there is no such thing. If it was ‘meant to be’ it would be that way.
But we shouldn’t be losing you say, but so do the fans of Chelsea. Teams lose, and it is indicative of the collective strength (or weakness) or the league that most teams can beat most teams on any given day.
Sunderland last week anyone?
If you can’t separate the pain of losing to Spurs from the overall picture, then I can’t help you. It might hurt more to lose to Spurs, but at the end of the day a loss is a loss, you don’t lose extra points just because you lost to the Spuds. Sure, you might lose some pride, but who hear would swap three points yesterday for being the Spuds? Or even being where they are, some six points from the summit?
So two points off the top of table, four ahead of the Spuds and another lesson in the bank. Will we learn from these lessons? Some people never do, they just stroll through life repeating the mantras but never truly knowing what they actually mean and how to apply them to their lives. We hear Wenger talk all the time of ‘learning lessons’ only to witness the team repeat the same mistakes.
Einstein would say that’s the definition of insanity.
So what do we do?
I don’t know.
I honestly believe that all the components are there physically. We have the best squad in quality in depth in the league, but we have a lot of young minds that haven’t won anything.
We need the players to hurt as much as we do at losing, and to hurt even more at losing to the Spuds. We need them to know what it means to us that they give everything in every match, how we will forgive almost anything if they do that one simple thing.
Did they give everything yesterday? With hindsight and time to calm down I think most of them did. Quite a few were clearly knackered after playing an exhausting 90 midweek for their countries in meaningless friendlies. Van Persie will return to fitness and form, as will Cesc. We just didn’t have the legs and that is something we are not used to saying about Arsenal.
But consider this – it is only November and a lot of our players have already played more football than we would have envisaged by this stage courtesy of injuries. Is it an excuse? Possibly, but it might also be a reason.
That isn’t a problem anymore. With only a few players out, and, luck withstanding, we will, for the first time in a long time, have use of a fully-fit squad with which to rotate without having to try and get players back to fitness and form all the time.
That isn’t settling.
I don’t know why Wenger chose Kos over Djourou, only he can answer that but I’m sure there was a very good reason. With Jack’s caution mid-week on top of his back injury you could see why he didn’t take part, and who else are we going to use to plug the holes left by a rampaging Songinho if not Denilson?
Would you have had Almunia instead of Fabianski? Eboue instead of Sagna? An unfit Gibbs instead of Clichy? Who would you replace the out of form Cesc with? Or Arshavin who still managed an assist? You say Theo, but he’s clearly only getting back to match fitness. There would be no arguments over Nasri being included would there?
And what of Chamakh? Van Persie clearly demonstrated he isn’t anywhere close to his best, and nor should we expect him to be after his lengthy lay-offs. Bear in mind this is the Moroccan’s first few months in this league. Give him the latitude that should go with that.
Just what should Wenger have done differently? Gave them a bollocking at half-time when we were two nil up and totally dominant? Should he have foreseen Cesc’s handball or the ridiculous free kick in the run up? Should he have known that Kos, Cesc, Theo and the rest would be so unclinical in front of goal? At half-time everything was perfect, everything was as Wenger set it up to be. Then tiredness and complacency set in.
You can blame Wenger. You can call for wholesale changes. I won’t be. This team really is so close, but the mental fragility that they show is very worrying. Even Wenger himself said so after a defeat which pained him as much as it did us:
“What is worrying for me is that we had a chance to go top of the league and when we had to deliver we can’t, that’s worrying.”
You’ll get no complaints from me on that one.
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