By Walter Broeckx
Ouch. I think this sums it up rather nicely. And maybe I could stop it right here. Go to bed early, pull the blankets over my head and try to forget this day ever existed. As it wouldn’t change a thing I will try to act as a man and accept the most difficult thing in live as an Arsenal fan: accept defeat.
And before I talk about football I would like to start with another sport: tennis. In my country we have been blessed with some good women tennis players. And I remember that my favourite tennis player once played in a grand slam tournament and she won the first set 6-0. She whipped her opponent from the floor and the poor girl at the other side of the court hardly touched a ball. So it seemed that it would be only a matter of time before the game would be completely over.
And then suddenly my favourite tennis player lost her service. Out of the blue. It came from nothing. Two double faults, a foot fault and a ball cannoned of her racket in to the crowd and she lost the first game on her own service. No big deal at the time. But suddenly something changed. And somehow she lost the feeling of the game. She moved slow on the court. She began to make silly mistakes. And before you knew it she lost the second set.
Still no big deal. But in the third set she also couldn’t perform as she normally could and the player at the other side felt the doubt in her mind. And she kept on battling and running after each ball. And the balls my favourite player played weren’t as sharp as before. And at the end of the match she lost the final set and had to accept defeat.
Why? How? Well I bet she still doesn’t know. And I also don’t know. And maybe this is a good thing. Because if some science people could find the answer to these questions it would mean the end of all sports. We would know who would win before the game is over and now we have to wait to see who really comes out with the victory.
On to football. To lose the game you cannot afford to lose is hard. But is part of football. To lose a home game against them for the first time in 17 years is not nice. It feels bad in fact. But if it means we can go on for another 17 years with us not losing to them at home I can try to live with that. The longer a runs goes on, the nearer it will come to an end. Unfortunately today was the day it came to an end.
For 45 minutes we looked in control and very composed. We passed the ball around and we finished our chances rather well. Even at the start of the second half we looked the better team. Just like my favourite tennis player.
And even the first goal from Tottenham came out of the blue. A long ball and suddenly we found ourselves outnumbered and Bale could score.
Then Cesc stuck out an arm in a very needless position and the ref could do nothing else than give a penalty. And then I got the feeling that lady luck had decided to chose the site of the other team. Cesc will have to take a look in the mirror this evening and I hope he will never ever stick out his arm again when he is in the wall and in the penalty area.
Some of our players looked tired. Nasri couldn’t perform like in the first half and it looked as if he was feeling the consequences of having played to good on Wednesday evening. Chamakh also looked tired and couldn’t run on goal on a few occasions and didn’t look sharp enough. Also some fatigue?
And then we finally got beaten in the air after a free kick. We can think that maybe Djourou would have been a better option as he played great in the air at Everton but he also had played in midweek so one can understand the decision to play Koscielny. So the one thing I feared from the internationals and we had almost all our players away on international duty this week did happen. Some lost it after one hour. Maybe some people will understand my rant against stupid international games a bit better now. And why I feared our players being tired after travelling around in Europe for hours and hours sitting in planes and waiting at airports and train stations.
But here we find ourselves. And we must learn our lessons from today: keep our hands down when defending a free kick, finish more chances and concede less goals. And to keep in mind that whatever the lead you have and how comfortable it looks: a game isn’t over until the final whistle is gone.
The only good thing I see (apart from the Chelsea defeat) is that we have another game in 3 days. So the players can pick themselves up and do what they have done after the Newcastle defeat: start again and try harder, and harder and ven more harder. And by the way Chelsea who a few weeks ago seemed unbeatable has lost the same number of games as we have so far. So nothing is lost so far.
Sometimes you seem to be in total control of the game and suddenly you lose it. One second and the balance swing the other way round. This time we are on the receiving end. Sh*t happens. As my favourite tennis player found out at the time.
Sometimes you cannot understand what happened. And this is such a time. You just have to accept what happened, turn the page and start all over.
And that is what we should do. Get on with what we do, train harder, work harder, try harder. Just like after the Newcastle defeat we have to get ourselves together real fast. Let us all get behind the team in the moment they need us most. However our feelings are hurt after this painful defeat, live still goes on. I will be back next Tuesday to support my Gunners from afar. Because I still believe in my players and my team and the manager.
Let’s just do it.
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