Posts have been conspicuous by their absence the past couple of days mainly becuase I’ve not had the time and been putting my efforts into, shall we say, more enjoyable things and some distinctly less – work, for example. That’s not to say you delicious individuals aren’t of paramount importance to me. You are. It’s simply a case of other things will take precedence because they have to.
Plus, there hasn’t been much in the way of Arsenal news. No hot topics, no scandals, no huge transfer revelations. Just fluff. Thankfully, now that we’ve had some competitive football to sink our teeth into there are pertinent things to blather about. And that I shall do.
Before kick off – major cliché alert – I would have gladly taken a 1-1 draw away at Old Trafford. Anything other than a defeat practically assures us an automatic qualification place into the Champions League – barring a catastrophic meltdown in the remaining two games.
Compared to the epic battles of the past, yesterday’s fixture with something of damp affair. There was no heated exchanges brought about by the pressures of two Clubs competing for the major honours, simply professional pride and the hope of the highest possible finish. It was fairly odd. I loved hating United during their pomp, when Arsene and Sir Alex were the fiercest of rivals and the games meant everything. My stomach would be a maelstrom of nerves leading up to those games of yesteryear. These days it’s just another fixture.
The first half saw Arsenal treat the game in the same way, and we were bloody terrible – failing to register a shot on or off target during the first 45 minutes, something we haven’t done in the past 10 years. The team lacked fluidity and enthusiasm and appeared to be winding down in the hope of avoiding an injury that would rule them out of the FA Cup final.
United deservedly lead at the break and looked utterly comfortable. It is in these moments I avoid Twitter. I can’t recommend doing so highly enough. When things go slightly awry, those with rage issues turn to social media – Twitter more so than any of the others – to fly outrageously and hideously off the handle. I can understand to an extent after a extremely poor result, but at half time when we’re only 1-0 down? Focusing on the game seems far more important to me.
It’s usually Mesut Ozil who bares the brunt of the outbursts. Our boggly-eyed German twinkle toes does have the demeanour of someone who isn’t 100% up for it, but that’s simply who he is. He isn’t Scott Parker and he won’t go roaring into 50/50 challenges. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want him to. I wan’t him to be Mesut Ozil and Mesut Ozil has the kind of brightness and technical ability that can turn a game in a second regardless of how poor he appears to be playing. I love him, I love watching him and all that he does and can’t understand any of the abuse he gets.
Perception is a funny thing. We’re taught in Britain to appreciate the ‘triers’. Our media love someone who takes to the field covered in blood and throws himself tescticles-first at the ball to stop a certain goal. These are the heroes we get plastered with from a young age. Any player with technical ability and a penchant for avoiding tackling oafish centre halves is either a coward or “nicking a living”. Such a thing is stupid. Different players with different mentalities make up a team, and you need all sorts.
The 2nd half saw Arsenal improve greatly and gradually grow into controlling the game. As we stamped our authority, the chances started to come. But for David De Gea and a few unlucky bounces we could quite easily have drawn level before Walcott’s deflected cross restored parity. It may have been an extremely fortunate goal, but on the balance of play it was one we certainly deserved.
At this stage of the season, poor performances don’t especially worry me. Ideally we’d be hitting 4-5 goals past every team we face. Of course, Football isn’t like that. We have a target of finishing 3rd and that goal is well within reach and entirely within our control. The team have shown genuine signs of progression and we have the opportunity to improve on the final result of the last campaign should we retain the FA Cup.
Those are the positives. The negatives, at this stage, aren’t worth the time of day. We’ve an entire summer to discuss what should and shouldn’t be done. Until then, we have a team to support. Not malign and throw acerbic drivel at, but support. Personally, I prefer to put my efforts into that.
That’s all for today, folks. The comments await your thoughts below. What did you make of the game? Were you happy to leave Old Trafford with a 1-1? Let me know.
I’ll be back with more tomorrow (or when i’ve the time). Until; that day, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.