Rainy Days And Mondays Don’t Always Get Me Down

Good morning and welcome to another week. No matter how displeased you are to see Monday for other reasons, as an Arsenal it feels pretty good as the weekend went just as well as it could possibly go. Our victory over Liverpool combined with Chelsea’s loss to West Brom (haha) and Spurs losing a match they clearly should have won to Manchester United (hahaha) means we now sit some three points clear of Chelsea and only four points behind Spurs. 

Next weekend we don’t play until the Monday when we face Newcastle at home so we’ll be in the position of having to respond to whatever Spurs and Chelsea can manage. Having sacked the poor man’s Mourinho, the first Premier League task for caretaker manager, the Italian Bob Matthews, will be a home game against Stoke whilst Spurs will have a potentially tricky visit to Goodison Park to play Everton. There’s definitely a chance that things could get even better for us next weekend as long as the team can keep this newfound confidence going.

Arsene Wenger is keen to talk up the progress that we’ve made this season, saying,

“When we played at the start of the season, we were a bit in disarray because we were unstable,”

“We have since come back into a much better position, we are much more solid and we have 49 points. 

“When we played Liverpool before we were 17th in the league. We had room for improvement, but I feel we have improved a lot. 

“We lost Fabregas and Nasri and Wilshere as well. We also lost Diaby. What happened to us was completely unbelievable.

“Of course [some players have grown]. We started from deep and people were saying that we were playing not to go down.”

I think you can quite fairly question why we were in disarray and were unstable at the start of the season. We can only really look at our own poor organisation to explain that so perhaps we shouldn’t be eager to point to it as an excuse. Hopefully though, the lessons will be learned (and if the reports that we’re already moving to line up transfer deals for the summer now have anything to them then perhaps they have been) and we can look forward to better next season.

Nonetheless the manager’s insistence that we’ve improved this season has obvious merit. The old fragilities are certainly still present to some extent but I think the addition of some experience has done this team good. The team has, at times, shown real character with the last two games being particularly useful examples. Last season after the disappointments in the cups there’s no way we’d have come from behind to win games in the circumstances that we have recently. There just seems to be that little bit of maturity in the side, the ability to handle a setback perhaps that wasn’t there before.

Changing tack slightly and Wojciech Szczesny is featured on Arsenal.com talking about the faith shown in him by the manager over the last year or two. The Pole in goal says,

“He made me the No 1 goalkeeper at Arsenal at 20 years of age, that gives you a lot of confidence and I am just trying to repay that faith with every single performance.

“At a young age it is hard to be consistent. I have had my ups and downs.

“But the manager keeps believing in me and I hope that performances like this [Liverpool on Sunday] just prove him right.”

Much as Szczesny is a brilliant young goalkeeper, the decision to give him a chance in the first place wasn’t as difficult as it could have been for the manager. Fabianski was having a decent run but got injured and Almunia was out too with a bad case of the-manager-will-use-any-excuse-on-the-planet-not-to-play-him-and-rightly-so-itis. Still, much as he talks of lacking consistency, I think he’s been remarkably consistent for such a young goalkeeper. He makes the odd mistake but they’re very much the exception and I think most people can see we’ve got a very good goalkeeper on our hands and one who is only going to get better with more experience. His performance against Liverpool was just as instrumental in our victory as Robin Van Persie’s goals. A top class goalkeeper wins his team league points, Szczesny can be argued to have gotten us three at the weekend.

On the injury front, Mikel Arteta has spoken of his very nasty looking concussion at the weekend. He wants to be available for us to face Milan tomorrow which seems incredible when you think back to him being stretchered off on Saturday, but its good news that he’s in contention again so soon. As well as that there is apparently still hope that Jack Wilshere might yet play for us this season. The manager says the latest scan is positive but that he is “not close” to a return. Such is our situation in the league, that even if he could come back for a few games, that would still be a bonus.

And I suppose I should mention that we play AC Milan tomorrow in the second leg of our Champions League tie. Let’s face it, the chance of our progression is small, but hey, we might as well go out there and give them a game. Arsene Wenger says,

“We want to make the impossible possible. From the first leg it looks impossible but we have to have a real go, play with belief and think we can do it,”

At the end of the day, we have nothing to lose whatsoever. And let’s face it, Newcastle overhauled a four goal deficit in twenty-odd minutes last season…. no, don’t want to think about that? Me neither, sorry I brought it up. I’ll have a proper look at that game tomorrow, and we’ll consider Mission Impossible in it’s entirety.

For now though I’m going to call it a day there. Have a good one and I’ll return soon.

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  • Michael Sheehy  On 05/03/2012 at 12:34 pm

    Have you forgiven Szczesny for his utterings last season yet?

  • Louvel  On 09/07/2013 at 6:13 pm

    Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m
    not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

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