Apologies for the absence. I could blather a little about the reasons for not being able to post, but they’re so predictably related to my other pursuits that I’m not sure I can be bothered. The two of you that pop by this site from time to time will be familiar with it all.
There’s a fair bit to get through today, so I’ll endeavour to proceed with haste, like a hastily proceeding….thing.
Since I last jotted my thoughts down, Arsenal gave Southampton a walloping in the FA Cup and I was dangerously close to getting the scoreline correct in my prediction. Man of infinite wisdom that I am, I speculated we would win 4-0. I was so close, yet so far. It’s not often my predictions flirt with being correct, so I shall take that one as a glorious triumph regardless of what anyone says. I was right, and there’s nothing you can say to convince me otherwise.
In that performance, there were many, many positives. Upon seeing the starting line-up, I’d be feeding you unbridled hogwash if I lead you to believe I was at all confident we’d win the game, but what do I know? Not a great deal. Initially sceptical of the midfield due of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Maitland-Niles, I was gushingly effusive upon watching the game unfold. Much has – rightly – been made about the two goal scorers, but the stand out contributors in my eyes that day were the aforementioned two and Lucas Perez – a player who looks better and better with every game and surely must be staking a claim for regular first team inclusion.
Victory at St Mary’s sets us up with a trip to non-league Sutton United in one of those ties in which the romance of the FA Cup pops it’s head over the sea of sh*t to remind us the old girl isn’t quite gone for good. Funnily enough, I always hate games like this. Sure, for the neutral it’s great, but I find myself immeasurably more nervous about fixtures like this than trips to Barcelona or Munich. The reason? That would be Arsenal’s incalculable ability to do something so spectacularly silly, that nothing truly comes as a surprise anymore.
Should we somehow conspire to lose a fixture against a team we should batter in the first 5 minutes, it will probably be the biggest act of giant killing for some time – if not all time. The very notion terrifies me. The coverage of the game will be essentially a cacophony of pundits dribbling into their microphones in hope of an upset. Coupled with my dread and pessimism it doesn’t make for a fun day. That said, it’s brilliant for Sutton United. After their exploits thus far, they deserve every bit of revenue and exposure the tie will bring them.
So onto more pressing concerns. Tonight’s fixture with Watford along with Saturday’s trip to Chelae could prove a defining moment of the season. Should we secure 6 points from the two fixture, and Liverpool do us a favour tonight, then the gap that once seemed a distant impossibility suddenly is greatly reduced. And that certainly would put a few cats amongst the pigeons. Chelsea still remain clear favourites, but I’m not writing us off yet. Play to the best of our ability over the next two games, get the wins and we’re suddenly right back in the mix. We can still win the league.
Team news for tonight isn’t far removed from last week. The big guns rested against Southampton will all come back into the side. Hopefully Lucas Perez will get a shot on the left/right of the attack tonight as he’s certainly earned it. Xhaka and Cazorla are still out, so I’d guess we’ll see the return of Coquelin and Ramsey. Arsene will again watch from the stand as Steve Bould patrols the touchline looking menacingly efficient.
We should win tonight as Watford don’t appear as dangerous this season as they have in past campaigns. Complacency is our enemy and the manner in which we started the game at St Mary’s should be the benchmark for future success. On Sunday we came out of the blocks swiftly and dominated the game, imposing our game onto the opposition before they could do the opposite. Games at the Emirates are often a different challenge for the players as teams tend to sit deep and counter.
The pace in our attack is our strongest asset. I’ve no doubt we’ll do what it takes tonight and get all 3 points. Watford shouldn’t be underestimated at all, but I think we’ll be too strong on the day. I’ll go for a routine 2-0 win.
That’s all for today, folks. I’ll be back soon. Until then, thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.