By Walter Broeckx
Losing to United is not a pleasant thing. I don’t like it. Losing to Barcelona, and certainly the way the ref threw a shadow over the second game is very frustrating. I don’t like it at all. But do we have to throw all and everyone over board? Let me just give you a few thoughts on why things are not as bad as some may think.
Let us look at what has been going on since the end of December. We have played 22 games in 76 days. One game each 3,5 days. 2 games a week. And all this since 27 December when we started this round of fixtures. In the same period United has played 18 games in 77 days. So they had for each game one day extra rest compared to Arsenal. So one could imagine that our legs are a bit heavier than most of Uniteds legs. But still we had a lot of possession, more shots than United. The big difference is that they were sharper in front of goal.
Also United had a free midweek after their game last weekend. And we had to go to Barcelona and face a very tiring game playing more than half an hour with 10 men. So we had to cover a lot of ground and had to live with the frustration of not being able to continue the game plan and face our exit in the champions league. So with all the travelling and the game itself most of our players could have been a bit more tired than United players. But still we had a game in which we dominated for large spells of the game.
Even my match commentator mentioned the fact that just before United scored from what was almost their first real chance the crowd was showing some frustration because United was totally dominated at Old Trafford by Arsenal. Like our match commentator said: one has to do it to go to Old Trafford and dominate United like that. But then they scored and after that we just missed our chances and once again good old Van Der Sar was named man of the match against Arsenal. A bad habit we are growing it seems.
So far this season we scored a lot of goals. In fact we are the second best goal scoring team in the league so far. So in general one could say that we don’t have that much trouble with scoring goals. But the last weeks (be it sometimes for reasons not down to our own play – refs…) we have a bit of troubles to score. Not just the keepers of the opposing teams shine but our players have a bit of problems in just hitting the net.
As a great striker once said: the fresher you are as a striker the better you can finish. So again I have to look at the many fixtures we have been facing and think that maybe this could be the reason for our strikers to have some difficulties in scoring goals for the moment. After such a long spell without rest it could be that our players just need a bit of rest. And well for the first time in months it looks as if we will have some rest for our players.
So maybe the fact that we now only play one game a week from now till the end of the season could help us a lot. It could mean that our players can have a rest after each game and then can work their way back to fitness for the next game. Little injuries get some time to heal. Players who are tired after a game can relax a bit more and be given time to recover more.
But unfortunately we have another problem coming back. Over the last month our players are falling down and don’t stand up anymore. The only exception is Van Persie in fact. Supposed to be out for a few weeks but he came back to everyone surprise, including mine. But if he really is 100%, I’m not that sure. But the others are out and stay out. Or come back but not really, like Cesc.
So one more game before another international break comes along. One game in which we will have to do it with some important players missing. I think Cesc, Song, Vermaelen, Djourou, Walcott are certainly out for this game. And the minor fact almost all our goalkeepers are out apart from Almunia. So all in all a list that is far too long. But a list that one can expect after such a long and tiring run of games.
So it will be absolutely vital to get 3 points at West Bromwich next weekend. It doesn’t matter how. It doesn’t has to be with nice football but would be nice if it could. But a goal that comes in from a defender after hitting six players in a row would be nice for me. Or a goalkeeper that doesn’t win the man of the match award would be a nice change.
And then after that game I hope for a lot of little injuries. You know the one week injuries. Or a little virus spreading in the team which makes all the players stay in London. You know a little bit of flu. It can spread that easy. Just imagine if we could have a rest of two weeks between the WBA game and our next game. This could be enough to recover most of the injured players and also could mean that the rest of our players can recharge their batteries for the final 9 games of the season.
So despite two lost games and trophies there still is a lot to play for. And a lot for us fans to support the team. And I think the best away supporters in the world will do their part next Saturday. As our match commentator said at the end of the game we lost at Old Trafford that he could only hear the Arsenal supporters singing and supporting their team. Despite the fact we were losing the game they made us proud.
And this is how we all should be acting from now on till the end of the season. We just should get behind the team till the final minute of the final game. And then we will see what the result of our joint efforts has brought us. We have it all to play for. And those who do not believe may walk out the room and come back next season. Or never again. Now is the time to support. So support I will do. Support is what we all must do. Even those who have lost the faith.
If you call yourself a Gooner just get behind the team now. And if it doesn’t work out like we hoped then you cannot blame yourself for being a bad supporter. And then you can moan about the team during the summer. But now there is too much at stake to just give up. And real gooners don’t give up that easy. 3 points behind, one game in hand. So much to play for.
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If you think things are up and down now, try the world in 1910, when Arsenal went bust and then arose from the ashes to form the modern club. Making the Arsenal. Details here.
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