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Silverware or Silver Lining: more on the run to the end of the season

Silverware or Silver Lining.

By Simon Bailey.

There has been plenty of talk about United and Chelsea having to drop points in order for us to win the title this year.

It’s fairly obvious that one-dimensional United will drop some. Rooney looks knackered and with their fixture list, will inevitably fade. The press have made large about Capello urging Ferguson not to burn him out, but I think it’s a bit late for that. Anyway, the Scot has other masters to serve and Englands World Cup run is way down his list of priorities.

Chelsea are a different matter altogether. While a lot of teams struggled without their African players in January, they positively excelled. They have six points on us, but with City, United, Liverpool and Villa to come, theoretically they could drop enough points.

Stoke away this weekend is a vital match for us, as is the Spuds away in a few weeks. We have already beaten both teams on our home ground and I am confident that a full strength team, such as it is, will be more than capable of winning both of these games.

Burnley without Coyle seem pretty toothless, as do Hull at the moment. Wolves and Wigan should present no problems, but we can guarantee that McCarthy won’t gift us the three points like they did with United.

Fulham and Blackburn in May will be nail-biters for sure, but both are winnable. Hopefully Fulham will proceed in the Europa competition, and the extra matches will take their toll.

Birmingham and City are our bogey teams this year. We convincingly beat one and were unconvincingly beaten by the other. Birmingham has enjoyed a rich vein of form lately, but City not so.

West Ham are also looking up, but following our dismal two all at their place earlier in the season, I fully expect a home win.

If we are not careful, the D&G brigade will raise the stick of an easy run in to beat us with. Even though we haven’t got to play United, Chelsea, Everton or Liverpool, this won’t be an easy run in. We have got some tricky matches, plenty of pressure, and the continuous negativity that surrounds us to deal with.

On a positive note, Rooney is looking jaded, Torres and Benayoun  are fit again and the Curse of the Arsenal has hit Ashley Cole once more. Not only is he out with a broken foot, but his missus has chucked him out. The Sun (that bastion of intelligent news reporting) have even started calling him Cashley.

The better Liverpool perform can only be good for us, and any problems at United and Chelsea are also welcome, but our real strength lies in only one place; Ourselves.

It is simply down to us to win this league, and the outlook is promising. Eduardo and Gallas should be available for the weekend, and Arshavin for the following weekend. I won’t tempt fate by suggesting that we might remain new-injury free for the rest of the season, but barring the other four in the physio room, Diaby, Djourou, RVP and Gibbs, we have a decent depth of squad to choose from.

The recent return of Bendtner and Walcott will prove invaluable in the coming weeks.  Theo has begun to weave his deadly runs again, and Nicks close ball control is just astounding. They were both excellent against Sunderland and will improve as the season continues. Vermaelen has shown himself to be an invaluable asset this season, and with Gallas, Eboue, Sol, Sagna and Clichy to choose from, our back four combination is awesome.

We’re not too shabby in midfield either. Cesc is the glue that holds it together, and as long as Song doesn’t get too many more yellows, or chooses carefully when he gets them, their inclusion along with Ramsay, Rosicky and Denilson make up a midfield that none of our future opponents can dream to match.

Despite the lack of Van Persie, our forwards are another group of great players. It has been said many times this season that we don’t have enough going forward, but with Nick and Theo back and Arshavin due back soon, Nasri and Vela will be able to slot in to adjust to any opponents.

Much has been made of our goalkeeper situation, but I reckon it’s all smoke without fire. Barring the silly mistakes, Almunia and Fabianski have made some great saves lately. As long as the outside backs track back along with the forwards when the opponents break, then either of our keepers will be able to keep clean sheets.

So that’s it. It’s up to us. It’s nice to see the teams ahead of us drop points, but only our team strength and belief will win us the title this year.

I believe that we have what it takes to finally make the D&G brigade eat their humble pie, but even if this is another year without a trophy, I will be content in the knowledge that I watched my team play 50 or so matches of some of the best football entertainment that this planet has to offer.

That is surely the silver lining in the no trophy-cloud.

UNTOLD RUMOURS of a financial nature

Fab Cap, “the money man” or “Mr Swiss tax” as he is known, will issue a “stark warning about personal conduct” when his squad meets next time around.

No sex, no divorces, no speeding tickets.

Tax matters are however, totally personal, and have nothing to do with the job in hand.

“No one is indispensable,” he said, “except me.  If I have tax issues, that is up to me, and not the affair of football.  If Ashley Cole struts his stuffeta across his bathroom, that is a matter for me.”

Jérôme Valcke, the secretary general of Fifa, told a press conference that England’s location in South Africa will be ready on time and extra mirrors are being added in case Mr Cole appears.

“There is a welcome desk where you can pay, a breakfast area where you can eat. There was a television and internet in the room, although someone nicked it, but we can get another.    We have been told the medical centre will be built.  And a practice pitch.  With goals.

“The mere fact that this country is now celebrating the 100th anniversary of the South Africa Act in the UK, in which they finally wrestled independence from Britain, after your country introduced concentration camps and mass murder into the land in a pitiful attempt to retain the mining rights, but were ultimately defeated by a bunch of Dutch farmers will not affect how South Africa lays out its hospitality.

AND MEANWHILE ON THE SECOND MOON OF PLUTO…

EPL owes more money than the rest of Euro football combined.

Should the top clubs from smaller countries move into Euro Leagues?

Vote now for the biggest prat in English football.  The polls are still open.

Arsenal win the league: the start of the new golden era.

The England captain we signed from Kettering Town.

Why did Arsenal move to Highbury, and not somewhere else?

Arsenal in 1910 – the first edition of this book has almost sold out.  We will be publishing a second edition shortly, but if you want one of the First Edition copies, you should order now.  It is Arsenal in 1910, the complete story as a novel.

I do hope you are feeling happy today.  The snow has gone in the East Mids.

Tony Attwood

10 comments to Silverware or Silver Lining: more on the run to the end of the season

  • Peter

    Very positive – I like that. I agree that we have every chance of winning the EPL this season. We just need a little help from others (losing points) and a lot of luck with (no more) injuries, and we’re there.

  • Goonerman

    I can’t stand it anymore; will we won’t we; we need a clarevoyant!

  • GoonerGaz

    Forget about the rest we cannot affect that.We need to try and win all our games and to do that some goalscoring support is needed from our forwards who have been poor in that department for months.

  • Phil Gregory

    It’s certainly an interesting one. Another thing in our favour is the fact that both Chelsea and United have more games to play than us, one of which is a final for United. Chelsea are still in the FA Cup so will no doubt have some horrible fixture congestion in the latter stages.

  • walter

    Good one Simon.
    Agree with you we just have to focus on our own games and just make sure we winn them. We are capable of winning all of them on a good day. To win them all in one run is more difficult but I really believe we have the team and the players to do it.
    What can hold us back are:
    a) Injury’s
    b) Dodgy referee decisions

    So let’s just take each game and try to win it and then after the Fulham game we will see how far it has brought us.

  • Paul C.

    Interesting to see the CSKA game against Sevilla where Akinfeev had an absolute shocker. So many people saying “yeah, let’s just bid 20million for him” but he doesnt look any better than Almunia based on tonights performance. Or are poor performances by other ‘keepers diregarded as “flukes” automatically? I dont think Almunia is that great and would love to see us get another ‘keeper but I just dont see too many around that seem to be any better.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Couldn’t agree more.

    I sometimes think a minority of supporters read the papers too much. I just read them now to see what they say, not because I take any notice of it! Although I do take issue with a few of them occasionally. I think it’s why Arsene decided only to talk about completed transfers….

    My take is this: if Arsenal get 84+ points, then if we don’t win the league then we take our hats off to those who beat us and say: ‘fair dos, you win.’ If we get less, then there is no-one to blame, we simply weren’t good enough.

    Let’s enjoy the journey – better than Cardiff’s, Portsmouth’s, Crystal Palace’s or Hull’s right now, eh?

  • c gander

    i just want to point out how true campbells comments are on arsenal.com and highlight whoever plays must give their all! if we win at stoke that will give us a massive lift and should help the players and fans believe.

  • well-endowed gooner

    Simon, the other way you could say it is that barring the occasion good save, Almunia and Fabianski have been poor. Isn’t Almunia ranked 19th in the league? And Rhys, yes, I’d considered your witnessing ONE poor match by Akinfeev to be an aberration, considering the seasons of good performances he’s provided before this match. The definition of a “fluke” is an aberration. A poor performance by Akinfeev is an aberration. A poor performance by Almunia is, sadly, the norm. It’s not a “fluke” when Almunia plays poorly.

    And your local D&G representative, I’d like to say that I’d love it if I was proved wrong, but I can’t see it happening.

  • Sean

    ‘….back four combination is awesome’?
    I suspect Tony Pullis is praying this morning that the goalkeeper in the Porto game and Sol Campbell both get on the coach to Stoke.

    Arsenal won’t win the league because a) they can’t beat the two teams above them and b) they don’t like it ‘up north’.
    Gravy on chips, flat caps, whippets, long throw ins……urgh.