The dust may still be settling on Monday night’s brilliant victory, but it’s good to hear that players like Big Per aren’t getting too carried away.
He was interviewed after the game and rolled out the footballing cliché of taking it ‘game-by-game’ and just focusing on the next match, rather than any title talk.
Good. I saw a few comments from Chelski players with a few months to go before last season finished and it smacked a bit of arrogance to me. So I’m pleased that both players and the manager are trying to remain grounded. I appreciate its hard though. Especially after the game in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Monday. If City and Arsenal do emerge as the main contenders this season, results like Monday’s might be the type in which we can see it as a ‘six-pointer’, such is the importance of taking points off our rivals. That seems to be the latest train of thought with the media too, by the way, in which Arsenal’s big game record is compared. Personally, I don’t really see the point in it, because the very nature of going back historically and comparing games is virtually impossible if you’re looking for ‘like-for-like’ comparisons. Some have looked at the top four last season and made that comparison. But Chelski have been very poor against most teams, so why should they be included in the comparison? Similarly, I haven’t seen many include Leicester in the ‘big match’ stats, but given their lofty position and the fact they’ve picked up points against a lot of the top teams, they should be considered, shouldn’t they? Is Liverpool still a ‘big game’, since they’re currently ninth and have only been in the top four once in the last five years? The same for Tottenham.
The problem with trotting out these ‘big game’ stats is that by its very nature, the terminology is subjective, so it isn’t really relevant in my eyes.
If we assume that there are only four or five ‘big games’, if somebody offered me a draw at home for each of the ‘big’ games, then defeat away, but victories in all of the other matches in a season, I’d take it, because we’d have 89 points (by my maths) and be champions by a mile. So I guess what I’m getting at is that the ‘big games’ mean diddly-squat in a season. Or at least they should. We know they don’t, but it’s not really for the actual points, as it is for the psychological boost. That’s more important than the result itself and that is why we have to maintain our momentum by beating Southampton away on Boxing Day. That won’t be easy. We haven’t won there in the Premier League since they were promoted again four seasons ago.
Still, at least we know Arsenal this team is more tactically flexible than it has ever been, able to soak up pressure and counter just as well as we dominate possession and control of the ball in most games. It’s that variety in our game that has me hopeful. I don’t think Arsenal will go to St Mary’s and play on the counter, but it’s good to know that we can if we need to.
Right, it’s my last day at work this year, so I’m going to head on in and get this over and done with before the fun and frivolities of Christmas can start.
Have a good one folks.