I don’t know whether it’s because it’s Friday, or because it’s my annual company conference today in which I’ve been involved in a lot of prep and so therefore am quite excited about the fact that the stresses of it are almost over, but I don’t feel as much of a neg towards Arsenal this morning.
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly won’t be ‘bantering’ with Chelski fans at work about how we’re going to ‘do’ them, but at least I’m not feeling like I want the footballing world to just be swallowed up into the vacuum of space that would be a black hole in our atmosphere.
That’s got to count for something, right?
Of course, it could all look ten times worse if Chelski do what is their modus operandi against us over the last eight to 10 years and tear us a new one tomorrow lunchtime. And let’s face it, the omens aren’t exactly good for us:
- Chelsea have won the last four on the bounce at Stamford Bridge
- They’ve gone 10 wins in a row at home since they last dropped points
- We’ve won two in the last 12 since the Invincibles era
- We have no midfield
- We played like a collective of untrained, unprepared, I’ll-disciplined helper monkeys in our last match
So pretty much everything that could possibly conspire against us has. Oh, and Martin Atkinson is reffing the game too, so you know we’ll most likely be reduced to ten men at some stage. Which also seems par for the course at their place too. We had Gabriel last season, Ox and Cazorla the season before, plus Mertesacker at home last season. So keeping 11 men on the field would be a great little bonus.
But hey, if I’m going to try to look on the bright side, it always seems darkest before dawn, right? I mean, when things really do look their bleakest, sometimes life can throw you one heck of a curveball. Like Watford. Two days previously they’d been dumped out of the FA Cup and confidence-wise they would have been on the floor. On paper Arsenal away looked like a nightmare of a game, but ten minutes in they would have realised that the team couldn’t really give two sh*ts about the game, so they were able to come away with three points instead of an unexpected zero.
I’d love to see that with Chelski this weekend. They have so much in their favour that maybe they’ll just think “nah, don’t fancy it today” and we’ll win 5-1. Whaddya reckon?
Hey, wouldn’t it just be sooo Arsenal though, to go there and play brilliantly, eh? That could probably be as likely as us rolling over and having our bellies tickled. It’s probably unlikely, but you never know.
Arsène could always do what I’ve read about 15 other bloggers and pundits say though, which is to go with the front three that has pace and Alexis in attack. That would at least make us less predictable and who knows, perhaps he’ll put his personal, emotional, investments in certain players to one side and play the XI that worked well earlier in the season. We’ll have to see. Maybe he’ll spare the tears of our handsome Frenchman up top and tell the world he’s injured at the press conference today. He’s done it many times over the years so I wouldn’t put it past him today.
We’ll hear a little more later on about the resilience of the team, about how they are all mentally prepared for a challenge and that they’ll all keep fighting until it’s mathematically impossible to do so, but to be honest I don’t really care. I just want to see drive, structure and some fight in the side tomorrow. Even if we lose and the title is over, I want to know that the team at least went down swinging, but if we get a repeat of the United away performance, then yet again we’ll be asking questions about Arsène, his players and whether or not sadly it really is time for him to step back and let somebody else have a go.
There are a few bits of extra reading on the official site right now, but given we parted like the Red Sea for the second goal we conceded on Tuesday evening, do you really want to read why the Mustafi/Koscielny partnership works so well? Mustafi of all people should probably want to keep his head down after Tuesday. But maybe the video was done before the game so perhaps we’ll let him off.
Righto, that’s me for the day, you have yourself a wonderful Friday. Let’s hope Arsène reveals some good news and we don’t have to call on the Ghost of Christmas Jensen to play in our midfield tomorrow.