Back In Action

Well hello again one and all. As I said in my last post, a lot of work has gotten between me and the blog for the last week and a bit but never fear, we’re in the clear now and I’m fit to return to action. The evils of university work have been overcome and I’m now able to return to the important things in life. Arsenal, of course, is what I mean by that.

Since we last spoke things have gotten a little less rosy in the Arsenal garden. Defeat to QPR has thrown everything right back into the balance. We remain third place but margins are now a lot less comfortable. We sit on the same points as Spurs and lead them only by virtue of an extra goal. We remain some five points ahead of Chelsea outside of the top four, however Newcastle have once again inserted themselves into the equation and they sit two points behind us, however we have a game in hand.

That game in hand is coming up tomorrow and it’s quite a big one as they go. We face second placed Manchester City at home in a game that both sides need to win. City’s grip on their title challenge is faltering a bit and should they lose on Sunday and Manchester United defeat QPR then it’s going be something close to game over for them. For our part we’ll be looking to respond to whatever Tottenham and Chelsea can manage in their respective fixtures today. Spurs are away at Sunderland in what will be a tough game for them, however Chelsea host Wigan which I think has to be assumed to be a home win all day long.

I can’t help by feel that we owe City one coming into this game. We were unfortunate to lose in the away game this season, the 1-0 defeat at the Oily McOil stadium was, I would argue, one of our most spirited away performances this season. Additionally I felt our loss to them in the Carling Cup was likewise a little unjust especially as they essentially cheated by fielding Sergio Aguero in a Carling Cup match. 

It seems a good time to playing City, they seem to be accepting defeat in the title race already and that’s an attitude that as we have seen at our own club in the not too distant past, can cause more problems than you already have. I imagine that there are a lot of fixtures they’d rather have this weekend than this one, and if United win the early game on Sunday then the pressure will really be on them in this game, as it will be on us if our rivals win their games.

Arsene Wenger believes that last weekend’s defeat to QPR does not kill all the momentum that was built before it with seven straight victories, and nor should it. I think, frustrating as it is, that complacency crept in a bit last week. Maybe the team looked at that QPR game as the easy one in a tough run of games and you just can’t do that in this league at this stage of the season with a team scrapping for survival.

It didn’t and still doesn’t however, feel like the sort of disappointment that would derail a season. It doesn’t feel like a Carling Cup final loss, it’s just, well, annoying. It was very costly because now a strong position has become much more tenuous. In no way would I seek to suggest that it was in any way a positive but I hope now that it has happened that QPR game will prove something of a timely kick up the arse for the team and remind them of the dangers of complacency.

Anyway, complacency should certainly not be an issue tomorrow. Manchester City might not be having the most enjoyable time of their season but they’re still packed full of quality and we’ll have to produce something right up there with our best performances of the season to beat them. I think we can do it, I think the motivation is there and so is the quality. As always when you play these sorts of games there is the danger you can do everything right and still lose to a team of such ability, but we’re a good team too and the same applies to City. 

As the manager says, [url=]a draw is no good[url] to either team really. Two points dropped wouldn’t do us many favours, which is not to say I couldn’t see the value in salvaging a point if it came to it but really this is a game we need to win, and City need to win and that should certainly make it interesting as a spectacle. I’m intrigued to see how City approach this because even though we haven’t got the quality that we used to have and City have only got better over the last few years, they still play us like they’re scared of us. Well, maybe scared is the wrong word, but it seems their first priority is to stop us playing rather than focussing on their own game.

The Carling Cup aside, they haven’t had much success at the Grove, as I said earlier its a tough game for them too and probably not one they’d choose to be facing this weekend. More time to look at this game tomorrow though when the team news should come sharply into focus.

I have to say I’m still feeling pretty good about Arsenal’s progress in recent months despite the loss to QPR. Mind you, such is the workload I’ve had over the last couple of weeks that I was actually asleep during that match and awoke to the news of our defeat which in my drowsy state I just kind of shrugged off. I was more annoyed when I saw the goals we conceded but on the whole I don’t think we need to run around screaming and flailing our arms just yet. 

Anyway, nice to be back, more on the match tomorrow.

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  • jamrockrover  On 07/04/2012 at 10:51 am

    If we were offered the current position 8 games ago we would have gladly taken third place at this stage. Even if we don’t beat City we have every chance of winning the rest of our games and I think it will go right to the wire for third place.

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