‘It was all good just a week ago’
I never thought I’d use a Jay-Z lyric to kick off my weekly Arsenal blog but that line sums up the overall situation.
Last week I wrote about the ‘easy win’ against Villa and how we’d really started to click into gear. Well the gear popped out, car stalled and the exhaust backfired on Saturday didn’t it? The reaction by the fans has been familiar once again, a split of perspective.
The glass is half empty:
Yet again Arsenal have bottled it. With an opportunity to increase the gap to 6 points before the Spuds played on Sunday, Arsenal put in a limp performance against a team fighting relegation whose fans sung ‘You must be sh*t, we’re winning at home’.
During the week the players and manager were more than happy to sing their own praises about turning (another) corner and quotes about how they knew they would be fine in the end. You would be forgiven for wondering if such complacency and arrogance had entered the minds of the players as they failed to perform. QPR were hungrier for the ball, they didn’t even have to bully or kick us as we were happy to play into their hands. With 68% of possession during the game, Arsenal rarely created the kind of chances our recent form expected. When you play a Mark Hughes team captained by Joey Barton, you expect to leave the ground angry at rough house tactics or some form of bullsh*t by Barton, sadly I left the ground annoyed at my own teams lack of fight and acceptance in the manner QPR had beaten us. A worrying feeling.
As expected Spuds didn’t refuse the gift presented to them on Sunday morning and beat a brave Swansea team. So we ended the weekend level on points with Tottnum and ahead of them in the league by a single goal. Unfortunately you then look at the run ins, Tottnum face Sunderland away this weekend in their toughest remaining game. Arsenal now face the prospect of homes games against City and Chelsea and a trip to our old friends in Stoke.
90mins of complacency may have just taken us back to where we’ve just come from.
The glass is half full.
7 amazing wins in a row has completely transformed our season and unfortunately all good things must come to an end. While a defeat at QPR is a pretty frustrating thing, 7 wins from 8 games is nothing to get down about. At the start of this run Arsenal sat 13 points behind 3rd place with a very tough run ahead of them. Wins at Sunderland, Liverpool and Everton have shown that the team can go to traditionally tough grounds and pick up the maximum points. Would losing at Everton but beating QPR have made people feel any better? You know I think people would be more accepting given it was Everton who beat us. Odd but true.
The fickleness of fans is a common part of football. On Saturday many were keen to point the finger of blame at Thomas Vermaelen and question whether we he was good enough at centre back. These were obviously the same people who lauded the TV5 defensive performance and goal against Everton as well as screaming the house down when he scored that last gasp winner against Newcastle. Slips happen in football, it’s how we react to the slip that matters. On Saturday we didn’t score again but the team can react as a collective and show the league we mean business when we play City on Sunday.
Eight games ago we would have prayed to be sitting in 3rd place even if it was by a single goal. However expectations change and as football fans it is easy to get carried away with where your club will end up when on a run. City fans were signing ‘1-0 to the Champions’ when we left their ground in January, wow they must be feeling pretty stupid right now.
Arsenal, the manager and the players have done fantastically well to get themselves to 3rd place. 7 wins from 8 games is an extremely respectable return and if we can repeat the run again, we will be in the Champions League place. Will we finish 3rd? It’s not as impossible as it seemed in February that’s for sure.
However full you see you glass to be, we’re all aiming for the same thing. It’s time to repeat the run starting this Sunday.
Come on The Arsenal!!!
Comments welcome – @Tottz82