It’s Saturday, and I am not feeling too good. This is one of the rarest of the rare Saturday’s where I didn’t wake up to the excitement of watching an Arsenal game later in the day.
Not that it has become painful proposition. Rather repetitive. The last time I had a similar feeling was in the aftermath of the Milan thumping at the San Siro, and we went on to crash out of the FA Cup at Sunderland, in the Stadium of Darkness.
And a similar patter seems to have formed this year as well. We are already knocked out by Blackburn, for Christ’s sake, and now face an almost impossible task of scoring thrice at the Allianz Arena, against a side that has conceded 7 goals in the entire Bundesliga campaign, that had kept like, what 6 clean sheets before Podolski scored, with some slice of luck, and hadn’t allowed a shot on target in the league for over 3 games.
So, a familiar story seems to be forming. For the 3rd, or is it the 8th, season in a row, we find ourselves out of all competitions, within the span of 2-3 months, and it is all left down to pulling our socks up and making that final push for 4th spot.
It is not ideal, but you have to clutch at straws in order to move on, rather than fall in a bottomless pit. 12 games left to salvage whatever is left this season, and a probably out-of-the-question tie against Bayern Munich, which barring a miraculous miracle, we are out of.
After the angry outburst last week, Arsene Wenger put on a calmer face for this week’s press conference, when asked about his future at the club.
Never. Not one second,The love for the game and the love to win [motivates me],I don’t think that [motivation] spark has anything to do with the length of your life. It is just that’s how you are and you’re motivated by how much you want to win and how much you are a winner.If I go out now and play one against one with you, you will see I will beat you and at least if I don’t manage to beat you, I will want to beat you. That will not change as long as I can move.I have a contract until the end of 2014 and at the moment we are on a short-term plan.This is for two reasons, because I am here for a long time and as well I have to consider what I want to do. That will be decided in 2014, not before.We live in a world of emotion, of excess, and it is down to people who have responsibilities to put that into perspective and keep solid and keep guiding the club in the right way.My responsibility is to keep the guidelines and guide the team and the club in what I feel is the right way. What is important for me is to focus on the next game and try to give my best, like all the players.
Till recently, I have to say I was a Wenger lover, but even the strongest walls do eventually crumble. Not that my faith in the man has gone for completely, but there are times when the sun does remove the sheen of the wall.
Like Wenger almost admitted a couple of years back he doesn’t know what’s wrong with the team, or recently that he is not able to motivate the team completely; these are instances which make you wonder if he can really build another title challenging side.
To be honest, I wish to see him leave on a high. The last 8 years have bought too much doom and gloom at the club, despite the stadium move and the sponsorship deals et al. All his years of hard work, and all the early success has made us Arsenal folk feel that success is our birth right.
In fact, we have become victims of our own success. None more so, than Arsene Wenger, who is constantly put under so much needless media scrutiny, and name calling from a callous bunch of idiots who call themselves the real Arsenal fans, added to the sheer bunch of nonsense that Piers Morgan spews out every freaking day.
In the scenario that we are in now, it is time for the fans to buck up and accept another season of trophylessness, and look forward to what looks like Arsene’s last season. With major financial boosts coming the club’s way, and the manager insisting that, yeah again, insisting that the club has enough money to spend, you have to admit this could be the time that Arsene realizes it is time to spend and deliver trophies.
So, 12 games left in the league this season. Starting today with Aston Villa at home, we face an alternate home-away fixture list, with big games against Sp*rs and Everton being followed by bigger games against Swansea, Reading, West Brom, Norwich, Fulham, Man.Utd (Bile would rise if Manure win the title by this time, and we have to give them a standing ovation or something.), QPR, Wigan and Newcastle.
While expecting us to bag 36 points out of 36 is quite unrealistic, it would be about safe to say we need atleast 30 to make sure of a 4th place spot.
Right, team news then. Bacary Sagna is out with a knee problem. That should mean Carl Jenkinson will play at right-back. Elsewhere, Kieran Gibbs remains on the sidelines, which means a continuing role at left-back for Nacho Monreal. Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker should keep their places in central defence.
In midfield, I expect the usual trio of Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla to start, while upfront Giroud, Podolski and Walcott.
Villa will welcome back the trio of Charles N’Zogbia, Karim El-Ahmadi, and Gabriel Agbonlahor. No injury issues for the Villans.
Aston Villa come after a 13 day rest period, the last they played being a 2-1 home win over West Ham, while Arsenal come on the back of a morale sapping duo of defeats against Blackburn and Bayern Munich.
It is about time the side starts taking the initiative from the word go, rather than eventually crumbling to concede soft goals, and having to react to that setback. Villa will definitely pose a threat from set pieces, while Arsenal will have to rely on swift counters to break down Villa’s average defence
Enjoy the game wherever you are!
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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Go ahead you lazy bum, that’s all I ask of you!