Now I’m not going to go all obsessive on this subject, believe me, but having witnessed Liverpool get knocked out of the FA Cup to Chelski I couldn’t help but smile. That’s because there’s been a lot of these comparisons with Arsenal’s invincibles since the weekend and there’s plenty of salty scousers who have been telling us all they don’t care. It’s all about trophies.
Well, it’s about one less for them now, which got me to thinking about the Invincible’s myself. That’s because that team were knocked out of the FA Cup and Champions League, as well as going out in the League Cup to Middlesbrough. It was a fantastic team we had, arguably the best ever, yet they still didn’t sweep the board with trophies.
That’s because it’s bloody hard to do it. Fighting on two, three or four fronts is really difficult and there have been people I have seen on the socials this week trying to trigger Arsenal fans because that season we won just the league. Well what happens if Liverpool win just the league? Will those same people have the same thing to say? Probably not. Liverpool are, after all, the darlings of the media and this season they have deservedly been a team worthy of winning the league. We won’t belittle it by looking at the complete lack of quality in the league this season or anything…
But last night showed that even teams that are streaks ahead in a season are fallible, have off days, ‘can’t win em all’ and alike. It also reminds us that comparisons between teams over the ages is a completely redundant exercise because of its subjectivity. There is absolutely no way we can get an answer and so what is the point in arguing it? You don’t get an extra trophy for amassing extra points and you don’t get an extra trophy for going the season unbeate….oh…wait a sec….
Anyway, my point is that this week has shown us that everyone is human, so now all we need Liverpool to do is get knocked out of the Champions League, then coast to a title in empty stadiums due to the global pandemic of Coronavirus. And then we can all move on with our lives.
And what’s in our lives at the moment is a game at home to West Ham, followed by the inevitable defeat to Man City on Wednesday evening next week. It’s the re-arranged fixture from last weekend and with City in four competitions this season it’s a game that was always going to come out of nowhere to be played. It’s a bit of a ball ache actually because what I was hoping for was that it’d be at least another month before we played them.
That’s because of momentum. I was hoping that by facing up against City after four or five games in which we potentially might have won (they are ‘winnable’ on paper, although I’ll admit, we’ve messed that up a fair few times this season already), we’d have been in a better shape confidence-wise to face them. Or at least the league title might have been over and so they don’t really care whether they win or lose. That’s what I was hoping, anyway, but it appears we’ll have to take that ‘L’ a little sooner than we might have anticipated.
Maybe it’s a good thing? Maybe it’s better to just get it over and done with and then focus on those other games? After all if they’d have slotted the game around the time of Wolves away and Leicester at home then we might have had a really horrible run over the Easter period. So by getting this game next week out of the way now at least we can just move on with our lives. Like ripping off that plaster so we experience short term pain but it just doesn’t linger.
It will mean Arteta will need to have a proper think about how he distributes his squad over the three games. West Ham at the weekend, City on Wednesday and then Brighton the following Saturday will mean squad rotation will be essential, and with Torreira going down against Portsmouth on Monday it’s hardly the best preparation. I just hope Arteta has a plan on how he’s going to move his chess pieces around because there will be a few susceptible to injury over the next couple of weeks if they play too much.
My hope is that Tierney gets back into action soon. Saka has been amazing but he’s just a boy and at times you can see he’s not quite been able to sustain his intensity for 90 minutes. So having Tierney back ASAP is something we should all be crossing our fingers on. The same must be said for Cedric too. He’s still yet to play and we can’t keep chucking Sokratis in at right back. We’ve been able to get away with it against so-called lesser teams, but we need a resolution for when Bellerin is absent and hopefully that can come from the Portuguese.
However Arteta slices his rotation cake, he’ll need to be having a bit more of a think for the rest of the week than he probably would have done before the fixture rescheduling was announced.
But hey, such is life, because this is a problem we’d all rather have than be out of every competition and just playing once a week, eh?