One interesting thing about football and sport in general is that it teaches you a lot about life. Hard work is rewarded and even the simplest of mistakes can be severely punished. You can work you ass off for 89 minutes only to lose in the 90th minute due to one lapse in concentration (insert funny Man U versus Cardiff comment here). Just like being talented is not a guarantee of success, you can have 70% of possession and still lose. They say it is not over until the fat lady sings and sometimes, she chooses to be indifferent and mean.
Many will remember that before the latest international break, Arsenal were on 25 points and were due to face the defending champions at the Theatre of Dreams. This was touted to be a game where Arsenal’s title credentials would come of age. A win there would have meant that Manchester United would trail us by 11 points with a little over a third of the season gone. This would have been a mouth-watering scenario but sadly, it didn’t quite happen.
To be honest, Old Trafford is a very unhappy hunting ground for us and therefore, it is never a disaster to lose there. However, what sucks is that recently we have just failed to turn up while needed. It is understandable to lose as long as you feel that the team gave their best. That way, you can just put it down to facing a better opponent.
As for our case, I have given up trying to make sense of why we just refuse to be switched off from the start. In this game, we simply did not play in the first half and went behind from a stupid set piece. Man U was not playing any good to be sincere and it was ridiculous to hear the Dutch Skunk call it a perfect performance afterwards. Actually, Santi Cazorla correctly noted that this loss hurt not because we lost points but because Man U did nothing to deserve the win.
The team news gave me the first warning signs. There was no Big Fucking German in the team and how coincidental is it that the goal that separated the two sides came from a set piece. As much as I cannot prove that he would have prevented the goal, it is not just by chance that in our last five games, we have won 4 times, lost once and conceded once in the only game that Per didn’t play.
In the second half, we switched on and most of the players realised that there is no need to be too respectful to Man U. We consistently pegged them in their half and were unlucky not to have scored. While I admit we probably didn’t do enough to win, I think a draw would have been a fair result. All the same, this is football and you can only move on.
After the game, Man U fans resurfaced from their holes and buoyed by the result and the fact that they were only five points behind, they publicly gloated that they were back. Rooney went as far as saying they wanted to be top of the league by the end of the year. Hilarious.
The international break could not have come at a worse place. After a loss, you just want the next game to come quickly so that you can have a chance to bounce back. We had to patiently wait during the break hoping that our players will come back in one piece and fired up for the Southampton away game. They did and despite the fact that the goals had a touch of luck in them, it is still nice to know that you can win even when you are not playing your best football. To be honest, Southampton (and in particular our very own Victor Wanyama) played well and you could see why they are that high up the table.
Man U was also away to Cardiff and was leading until the 90th minute when they conceded a sloppy header to ensure that the spoils were shared. It was definitely two points lost for them and now they are 7 points behind us. As Ryan Giggs put it, inconsistency is costing them and the reason why Arsenal is top of the league is because we have been the most consistent team thus far.
Football lives in the present and you are only as good as your last game. This is a deeply satisfying statement to a Gunner at the moment since it means that we are good, Man U is bad and well, Tottenham is Shit having lost by 6 goals to Manchester city.
Still, to some people, we are not good enough since we are yet to play anyone above us in the league. Got the joke?
Till next time. Cheers.