When the match finished last night, I had a bath. Normally I’m strictly a shower kinda guy. That might sound like the most pointless and inane of admittance, but it is relevant in a way. Amongst other things, Arsenal can cause me to get wound up. When those other things combine with my beloved football team, they create a sort of uber-stress and the notion of soothing bath appealed to me. To cut a tedious story shot; I thoroughly enjoyed it – no candles – and, if you’re currently filled with Arsenal-induced tension, I can highly recommend one. I might even stretch as far as to buy myself a little rubber duckie.
So, onto the game…
For a minute I enjoyed it, the remaining 89 plus time allotted for stoppages was excruciatingly bloody awful. Nerves were apparent all through the team, which is to be expected, but the fear of failure amongst the players was palpable. The sense of Arsenal easing out games that once was a feature of our play has long deserted us. However, I can’t really offer that many excuses for what I saw. Any team with the aspirations we have should be dispatching Swansea with minimal fuss. We shipped and early goal and although we got ourselves into a winning position thanks to a quick double from Podolski and Giroud, the sense that we wouldn’t hold on was overwhelming.
The goal that brought things back to level terms in stoppage time was cruel – a sickening piece of misfortune that saw ricochets galore before eventually bobbling in of a helpless Flamini. It’s difficult to assign blame to that goal, but the timing of it and the misfortune was utterly gutting. Those kind of things happen in football all of the time.
What I feel of greatest concern was the overall performance; lacklustre and bereft of ideas. You feel the pressure is really getting to the players. The air of animosity within the fans contributes towards that. Arsenal’s fortunes have become a viscous circle that begins with hope, turns to fear, rage, bitterness, acceptance and repeats the whole thing over and over what seems interminably. For season after season similar incidents and performances occur. You’d think we’d all be used to it by now.
Truth is, folks; this post is tough to write. I don’t want to use this silly little forum of mine to lambast players and the manager because what good comes from that? Hate begets hate and so on… As we head towards the closing stages of the season, I’m looking at the teams closing in on us for 4th place and pondering whether we’ll accomplish even that. At this stage I’m not sure I even care about the Champions League. Maybe, just maybe, a years absence from the competition would do us some good.
The FA Cup is what I want. A trophy could be the catalyst of things to come. Often I feel the team just needs to get that first taste of silverware and to sling the infernal media monkey from their backs to be able to press forward, almost like a catharsis of sorts. Whilst the league title is beyond us, England’s most famous competition is still infinitely winnable. They’ll be huge dollops of that dreaded pressure heaped upon us as favourites, but we have to learn to rise to the occasion. Breaking from the circle of sh*t has to happen at some point.
My mum once said to me, “Strong, set-in-stone opinions are the best sign of someone without an open mind”. She was an incredibly wise woman, and I hold that philosophy very close to my heart. It’s how I approach everything in life and how I approach Arsenal. I neither agree nor disagree with the extremes presented by our so-called ‘waring factions’ but I see that, once you get past the hatred, both opinions have merits.
It is possible to offer criticism of the team and still retain faith. We are supporters, we’re allowed to be critical when the time calls for it; it’s our job. There’s no reason at all why I can’t revere Arsene Wenger yet still question his methods and practises when the team get battered 6-0. What’s important is that I don’t do any of it with hatred. People out there in the world often have views in stark contrast to your own. Imagine how boring life would be if they didn’t? The trick is, delicious reader, is to realise that differing opinion only becomes personal when you let it. If you let go of that notion, everything becomes a whole lot clearer.
That’s all for today, folks. I’m off to view some houses and percolate further over Arsenal declining fortunes. It’s not all that great being a Gooner at present, but without the bad we’d not appreciate the good. Tomorrow I’ll be back with some more general musings and blathering.
You know what’s coming now; I point you towards the comments and ask for your thoughts on the game. Last time we lost I had to moderate several abusive comments directed towards people for sharing what was on their mind. I’d appreciate it if I didn’t have to do any of that this time around. Feel free to express how you feel or have any viewpoint, just don’t tear lumps out of someone because they don’t agree with you.
As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.