It’s like the Metropolitan Line is trying to protect me from a day of ghastly Spud ribbing at work, as I stand here on Uxbridge station writing today’s blog, waiting for a tube train delayed that is rarely late these days. But unfortunately it will only delay the inevitable and Gooners everywhere will no doubt be waking up to face the music of smiling Spuddies.
But do you know what? It doesn’t matter. For as Marv from Home Alone 2 once said: “you may have won the battle, little dude, but you lost the war”.
Arsène is a master of winning the Fourth Place Trophy War. That war he has won in his sleep. It’s by no means a forgone conclusion and who knows, we may lose our Champions League status next season, but where we stand right now we’re still in good enough shape.
I was speaking to Ben yesterday about the form of the other teams around us fighting for the Champions League spots and he gave me some reassurance in his words. Since the defeat to the Spuds I haven’t had the heart to look at any football, yet when Ben explained the spawny nature of the Southampton goal, the floundering of Liverpool and Man United, plus allowed me to chip in with a look at our next five fixtures, it made me feel a heck of a lot better than I did in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.
In our next five games we play Leicester at home (who have just sacked their manager), Crystal Palace away (who, despite the form, are a team that we should look at as a win), Everton at home, QPR away and West Ham at home. Whilst each game will have its own difficulties about it, none are matches with which we should be quaking in our boots about. Indeed, Arsène himself has called for a reaction and if he gets the same reaction as the one we had post Southampton away, then I fancy us to recapture form and become a favourite for one of the two remaining spots not occupied by City or Chelski.
Southampton are starting to wobble too. They have had a fantastic season but the pressure of what they are after must surely tell, because their last two games have seen a frustrating draw with Swansea and a last-gasp away win to QPR.
United showed how their league position is being propped up by David De Gea yesterday.
The Spuds are only a point clear of us and anything other than a win at Liverpool will see us go above them with a win of our own against Leicester.
Liverpool have stuttered as much as us and are still struggling for goals.
So you see, there are plenty of reasons not to fear the second half of this season. There is nobody left in the FA Cup that I would fear getting home and away (maybe United away, but that’s more because of our appalling record rather than their qualities), we have a run of games that could establish us in the top four, plus we have a squad coming back to fitness with each passing week.
I haven’t even mentioned the small matter of Monaco home and away.
So repeat after me in prep for any Spud onslaughts:
You may have won the battle, but how many times have you won the war?