In San Francisco at the moment so if you are a regular reader of these here ramblings you’ll know it’s going to be a little random and sporadic when I post, as well as being at random times compared to what I normally do.
Being away and busy has taken my mind off of The Arsenal a little bit, but that part of me cannot ever truly be switched off, so I thought I’d pen some quick thoughts on this Saturday morning West Coast time.
Firstly, on the PSV result, which was of course disappointing but thankfully not a terminal result. I’ve seen lots of disappointed Arsenal fans and of course I was too, to an extent, but maybe because the feed was a little patchy when I watched it on the plane, but I struggled to get too angry immediately after the result and the next day too. I did hypothesise before the game that it might be a difficult test for these Arsenal players; we didn’t have to win. PSV absolutely did and in elite sport that sometimes means a team has an intangible edge that is what PSV probably had.
The good news is that we can render that result meaningless by beating FC Zurich next week and with both Arsenal and PSV now through, Zurich have nothing to play for; I.e. they don’t have to win. So my hope is that even with a heavily rotated team, Arsenal should have enough to get all three points.
The issue now is about our reaction. What we need to do is to not have this game last Thursday cause any kind of hangover and now, tomorrow, Arsenal have to win. The hope is that the jeopardy that want there for Arsenal is back and we get a performance that shows we are back on track. For most of this season Arsenal have played superbly, but suddenly there are performances – both individual and collectively – that has caused some handwringing amongst the fanbase.
“Is this a slump like we had last season against Brighton, Palace and Southampton?” is, I think, what a lot of us are worried about.
So it is now incumbent upon this Arsenal side to answer that question with a resounding “no” when they take to the field against Forest tomorrow lunchtime UK time (for me it’ll be 6am – not a feeling I’m too family with!). For the record I think – and hope – that we get the side that has impressed us for so many games this season. I don’t think we’ll have an easy game because Forest will have had a week to prepare for us like Leeds did, they’ll be buoyed by a home victory against Liverpool which was by far their most impressive of the season, so they’ll fancy an update.
But as Arteta said in his post match press conference on Thursday, these players need to reset and we need to be on it tomorrow, because winning becomes habitual and it can also be difficult to get back if a blip becomes more than that. The PSV game can still be chalked off as a ‘blip’. The fact it came after the Southampton draw and ‘getting away with it’ in the Leeds game means we’re just starting to see the rumbles of nerves. It’s just murmurs at the moment; the tiniest of ripples, but it’s there and tomorrow is the perfect opportunity to drop those ripples and get us back on track.
There will be a different team out to the one that lost against PSV. There should also be a different mindset and a little more urgency about us. There should also be that home game urgency and extra belief the fans can give to the players; they’ve talked about it, Arteta has talked about it, we as fans have said how it is different in terms of the relationship and support. So for me, as I said, I am hopeful for a response, I am hopeful for a performance, but I’m not naive enough to expect it in the Premier League.
Let’s see what we get tomorrow.
That’s it from me for today. A short one on account of my holiday timings and all the touristy stuff me n the Management are doing today. Catch you all soon – maybe tomorrow.