With no weekend Arsenal game, it’s been a bit of a terrible weekend; Wednesday can’t come any sooner! We’ve basically had a week to mull over the Barcelona result and performance, and also a much-needed rest for the lads.
So what did we learn from the Barca game? I don’t agree with those who think it means our team is not good enough, but what I think it says, is that our second team aren’t good enough to beat the likes of Barca. Not saying that the team who played the second leg against Barca are rubish- far from it- I think they’d have given any of the other quarter-finals teams a run for their money, except maybe Man United.
Shame we drew Barca! And we still managed to make it a contest, albeit for long. And then again, I wouldn’t even say Barca steamrollered us- Messi did! You need your best players to have a chance of competing with the best, and we’re simply left with ‘if onlys’. If only we had Cesc available. If only we had Arshavin fit. If only it was Xavi suspended for Barca, not Puyol/Pique. If only Gallas were fit. If only Messi had a ‘mare. On and on. But all things considered, Barca went through, deservedly, and we’ve got to be proud of the effort and commitment shown. Getting to the quarters wasn’t a mean feat either- remember those early season predictions?
So we’ve only got the Premier League to contest, and how we’re still in contention is beyond me! 5 games to go, and we’re still very much in it. With the injuries we’ve had this season, especially to key players, I think it’s mainly the team’s fighting spirit that’s keeping us in it! There’ve been loads of times where we’ve been down and out, but we’ve picked ourselves up and pulled through, against the odds. Would the other teams have coped with the same troubles?
Man Utd have just drawn with Blackburn, albeit at Ewood Park, and there’s no doubt that the reason why they’ve struggled is because their key player, Rooney is out injured. That’s one player! Admittedly, they’ve been without other key players at other stages of the season, like in defence, but the key player they can’t do without is Rooney. He’s injured now, for how long I’m not sure, but the longer he’s out, the more chances there are for United to drop points!
It’s a bit different with Chelsea. Earlier in the season, we’d have said they can’t do without Drogba. But taking the 7-1 demolition of Villa into account where Drogba didn’t feature, they’ve kind of shown they can do without him. Obviously with Drogba out, they’re a much weaker team, but I’m not really sure if he was out for the rest of the season, it’d make that much of a difference to them. Having said all that though, I’d still rather they were without Drogba! He’s got the ability to win those tight games! They’ve also been without Michael Essien for a while now- since the Africa Cup of Nations- and they’ve not missed him. I’d have thought without Essien they’d struggle lots, but fair play to them. I can’t really think of a player right now, that if they were to get injured will derail Chelsea’s season. Maybe Cech? Yeah, I’ll go for Cech. He’s done really well for them this season and if they were to drop serious points this season, it’d probably be in his absence!
Still though, we need them to drop points one way or other! I’m sure they will. Well, they have to, if we’re going to win the League! It’ll be a massive coup if we do win the League, and it’ll be totally deserved. No other team I think, would still be in contention for the title if they were in the same position as us- losing heavily to their rivals, having numerous long-term injuries to key players at the same time, etc. Think about it.
Let’s not start dreaming about the title, though. Still a long way to go. But with Man United dropping points, if we beat Sp*rs on Wednesday we’ll be up to second! Chelsea play on Tuesday and who knows, they might drop points too. It’s been rumoured than Robin might feature against Sp*rs, maybe on the bench. That’ll be awesome, but I think we ought to err on the side of caution. I think Man City is a much bigger game than Sp*rs, as they stand a better chance of beating us than Sp*rs and there’s no point risking him on Wednesday if he’s not fully fit. We’ll see what happens, anyways.
You probably noticed I’ve kind of rambled on, but thay’s because there’s absolutely nothing Arsenal-related going on! Dev should be back with a proper preview in the week, and hopefully he’ll have actual stuff to report on!