Looks like it’s time to start booking in those caves in remote far-flung destinations of the word because if the Totts beat Ajax to the final tonight then it won’t be a final I’ll be wanting to watch or know the result of. I’m already on a personal social media lockdown after last night’s capitulation from Barcelona, so I just have to hope that tonight isn’t another sh*t one.
I guess at least we have our own competition to worry about and with Valencia looming on the horizon tomorrow evening we should get some team news today. I’d like to say “I hope he’s fit” about some of our important players but apart from Auba and Laca there aren’t really many players behind them that I can say I’m too fussed about. The decline in form of Iwobi, Özil, Mkhitaryan (who I wonder if he ever actually has hit form in an Arsenal shirt), Xhaka, Guendouzi and Torreira has been worrying and I find myself a little bit ‘meh’ with all of them right now.
I wonder if it is mental as well as physical fatigue for some of them? What I mean by this is that Emery had them all running more than any other team this season. Our running stats and covering ground is more than anyone else. Yet the requisite fitness needed to get this team in to the top four may have been their downfall.
We don’t have an athletic team and despite injuries to some players meaning that they’ve not played as much of the season as we might have hoped, perhaps all of the extra work in training, the higher intensity on a day-to-day basis, has played its part in players putting in the sub-par performances we’ve seen?
This isn’t excuse making by the way. I’m just as annoyed as them as the next Gooner and probably like you, I’d be happy to see the back of some of the players right now, but I just can’t help but think that perhaps there are other reasons behind the performances we’ve had of late.
Or maybe it is that they’ve all just got the mental fortitude of a chocolate teapot. Who knows.
What we do know is that there needs to be one hell of a reaction tomorrow night. This team needs to be switched on and more performances like we’ve seen in the league and this season could be over within 48 hours. I pray that isn’t the case.
I also pray that those Arsenal players watched last night and saw what can happen if you don’t have a collective team performance in which you appreciate the privileged position you are in by being so many goals ahead from the first leg. Barcelona are a waaaaaay better side than we are and they contrived to knock themselves out of a Champions League final last night. We have a squad that isn’t as good, a lead that isn’t as big, plus our form hardly means that we’d go in to tomorrow night’s game with the level of confidence that Barcelona did.
Maybe that is a good thing though. If we know that we’re poor enough defensively that we can easily concede three, four or five tomorrow night, then perhaps there’s hope that they will be less complacent than Barcelona were. I’m not getting too expectant just yet though. As Emery said this game still feels like a 50/50 with our team. Screw the clichés of “its only halftime”, I genuinely think that this Arsenal team needed a two goal home lead just to be able to believe it has a chance of progressing.
There’s also some stuff going on about transfers as we hit the end of season mark but I’m not sure I have the energy to invest in to deliberating over it just yet, mainly because there’s still such uncertainty, with it feeling like everything hinges on what happens tomorrow night and then potentially in Baku. The fact that the club still hasn’t released info about season tickets should give you an indication about where we’re at right now. We have penny-pinching owners who probably have two letters for each of us season ticket holders. One will be if we are in the Europa League next season, with the other if we get Champions League, which will probably mean Kroenke sees it as an opportunity to bleed more cash from match day fans.
Knowing you are putting money in to his pocket is possibly one of the most depressing things about Arsenal.
Anyway, I think I’m done for the day, because I don’t want to waste any more thoughts on that American.