By Walter Broeckx
This article is published on 6th April (unless you are in Australia in which case it is probably 7th April – or in the Pacific and it is still the 5th).
But wherever you are we are at or coming up to or have just had the two month anniversary of the last bad day that we have known in the league. I don’t want to bring back bad memories but two months ago we lost at the home of our closest rivals.
That was of course a day that at the aaa had a great day. They could come on places like Untold and the shouting and insulting reached amazing Heights. I remember it being the days that Tony and I had to block a few people from the site for the usual reasons: abusive behaviour and repeated assertions made without evidence.
Yes it was a bad result. And a painful defeat. And to make matters worse they even crept above us in the league table that day.
That day the league tables said:
- Chelsea 56 points
- Man City 49 points
- Southampton 45 points
- Manchester United 43 points
- Tottenham 43 points
- Arsenal 42 points
One point behind. 6th place. People shouted at blogs, at TV cameras, the end was near. There was no coming back from this. We were finished. The manager was clueless. And that was the polite way of saying it. It usually was in a stronger language of course but that was the general point.
But as usual Untold kept its cool and didn’t follow the trend, we were not out-shouting everyone else, as the more fickle part of our fan base were trying to do.
Of course we had seen it all before. Bad day at the office, let’s just continue our support for the next match. People called us deluded and said that if we couldn’t see that our manager had lost it we were blind or stupid. Or both.
We supported our players and the manager after that bad day. And now two months later we have this table
- Chelsea 70 points (1 game in hand)
- Arsenal 63 points.
- Manchester United 62 points
- Manchester City 61 points (1 game in hand)
- Liverpool 54 points
- Tottenham 54 points
- Southampton 53 points
So from going one point behind Tottenham two months ago we are now 9 points in front of them. That is a swing of 10 points. If you compare it with Southampton we can also see that we have gone from being 3 points behind them to now being 10 in front. A swing of 13 points.
And if we compare to the other clubs we sure have won ground on them albeit not as spectacularly as on those two teams.
In those days the managers of Southampton and Tottenham were called far better than Wenger. But that part of the shouting has silenced a bit these days.
As so many times before any manager having a good run (hell even Sam Allardyce was named a good option by some early this season…) was hailed as a better option than Wenger. But the longer the season goes on it usually is that most of them have to concede that Wenger is still getting more points on the counter than any of them.
This is not saying they are bad managers. No, they can win a game against Arsenal on a good day but winning one match is not the way to judge things. As we have said umpteen times.
How we would have done this season if we would have had a few more players fit is anyone’s guess. Imagine having Giroud in this form for a whole season? That could have given us at least another 5 or 6 goals extra. Imagine having Özil fit for the whole season? That would have given us maybe even more goals. Not scored by our Weltmeister himself of course but it sure would have given other players more chances to score from.
Imagine Koscielny being fit all season. Debuchy….. even though I must admit I don’t know if he will still get a chance in the team as long as Bellerin is performing as he does. Ramsey having a full season rather than a start-stop season going from a few matches to an injury and then again a few good matches and then again an injury.
Missing such important key players have cost us a few points. And that is without going any deeper into the referee messing up as we have seen more than once this season.
I don’t know what the rest of the season will bring. But I do know that the squad we have now, if they can stay fit, can go the whole way. It would be a bit much this season (because of the reasons mentioned) to expect to go for the title. But I do know that I do have a good feeling about next season.
I do think that Wenger will add a bit to this team but I don’t know who and where he will spend some money. Who am I to say who to buy and where? I think he knows these things much better than I and I completely trust him to do what he thinks is the best thing to do. And that might include adding another youngster like he did with Bellerin and Coquelin this season.
Supporting is not about the last match. Sometimes it is about swallowing the bitter pill and keep on supporting the team. And about keeping on supporting even on the bad days. And never forget to look at the bigger picture.
On this day (from our anniversary files)
6 April 2004: Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2: Champions League Quarter Final second leg. Reyes gave Arsenal the lead, but Lehmann gifted the equaliser and Bridge scored with three minutes to go. The press headlines were “It’s all Gun wrong” and “Arsenal season in ruins”. The ruins included winning the Premier League unbeaten just 39 days later.