Dust Yourselves Down And Get On With It
Morning all, thanks to Big Al for stepping in yesterday which allowed the hangovers to be cured in time for a trek home. Thankfully I have only seen the lowlights of Saturday’s defeat although I am sure that as he sits locked in his chains, Thomas Vermaelen is contemplating life’s cruelties before the firing squad takes aim.
Mistakes happen and as I mentioned in the preview of the game, this weekend was one the trickier one for Arsenal. Tottenham unsurprisingly took three points from their match with Swansea and could put the pressure on Arsenal by winning at Sunderland on Saturday lunchtime. The media love-in with ‘Arry is back in full flow, his side brimming with attacking zeal is the best to watch in the country apparently. So rampant has their attack been, that they only had to win by four goals to take third back with their scoring tally lower than Arsenal’s. Surely I need not remind anyone that League titles have been won by slimmer margins. Redknapp has targetted five wins from the remaining seven games as being enough to finish third. There is Arsenal’s target provided for them. Fifteen points.
Losing at QPR does not signal that Arsenal are a bad side. Far from it; all it means is that a sub-par performance happened. From the reports and brief ‘action’ I have seen, Vermaelen’s slips were a direct root of the goal but were compounded by other mistakes, the midfield not tracking Diakite’s winner for example. It seems that the energy of previous weeks was missing. Perhaps this is the wake-up call that the squad – and manager – needed; very much a work-in-progress not the finished article, the full recovery not quite achieved. Crucially, they have a week to look at themselves and ask pertinent questions of their own and others performances.
Arsène will be doing so,
We have to take the distance with that and put things into perspective. We have to go back to basics; that means to win football games and win your fights first. We have to play like we do. It is disappointing to lose a big run in the way that we did it here. At the end of the day the result does not lie. The focus was missing a little bit and the way we conceded the goals [was disappointing]. I felt that we lacked something, I do not deny that.
Putting things into perspective is something that supporters have lacked this season, knees continue to jerk quickly. It is not surprising to some extent with some scarred worse than the players by the season’s opening and January performances. Tougher mental strength from the squad is required and in this sense, you feel the squad are well-equipped to deal with the defeat at QPR. They have after all, been here before.
The manager summed it up succinctly,
We have been consistent recently and you have to give credit to the team. But in this game we were poor and we were not good enough.
And that is, until proven otherwise, what it is in all it’s glory. A one-off. Another poor performance against Manchester City and it is more of an issue. Robin van Persie is unconvinced that will happen,
We have seven more games to play and I believe we can come third. It won’t be easy, everyone is fighting for every point and our opportunity is next week against Man City. We have to go for it and believe and we will. It is a shame we have to wait eight days for the game against Manchester City but it is how it is. It is a big blow but we have to look forward and the next one is a big one.
Everyone is disappointed but towards the end of the week I am sure the spirit will be how it was. We’ll have a couple of days to be disappointed but after that our focus is on Manchester City. They are second but drew against Sunderland so they will need the points. We have seven big games to play but if you look at the big name teams then we have City and Chelsea.
It is an unexpected advantage of the European exit that this week sees Arsenal free. The players can feel sorry for themselves if they want to before turning their attentions to next weekend. The matches against Chelsea and City are crucial. Tottenham’s bragging about how they are over their recent loss of form would be silenced with six points for Arsenal in those two games. Forget about chasing down second, that was always a fanciful pipedream with the collapse required by the Mancunians greater than they produced in 1972-73.
To finish third sends an important message to the rest of the division. Yes, this Arsenal squad is not The Invincibles of 2003-04 but with judicious strengthening in the summer, they are capable of challenging for silverware next year.
In the meantime,