The pain of yesterday’s mauling is likely to linger for a while. I still can’t think straight and it’s impossible to digest that we could be so naïve, almost idiotic. This isn’t a new feeling either. We have been outplayed in the big matches with mind numbing regularity in the recent past. It’s as if all of us deserve shock treatment every few months for being mentally challenged enough to support the Arsenal. At least I didn’t bet online.
But that treatment doesn’t really work on me. I know why I love and respect this club, the players and above all the manager. A few disappointments will not change it as I connect with Arsene and his work on a level of principles and beliefs. It’s a rare and deep bond which only becomes stronger when it is attacked by forces like the incompetent media or billionaire playthings.
Right now we are at a point where we haven’t done much better than last year. We are close to the five defeats that we had had by the end of November. Our start to the season last year was a disaster even though we had won against United and Chelsea. This year is more of a mix as we haven’t done that poorly against smaller teams but we have lost to both our main rivals.
I think there is still hope that this season can end well. But we need to raise our game to a height hitherto unachieved. I look at the squad and always feel it’s possible. But the proof of the talent is in the results. So far, we haven’t seen the consistency that would really establish us as a champion side.
The upcoming fixture list is interesting.
We have 9 league fixtures before the game with United which will be followed by big games against Chelsea and Liverpool. Effectively, in the next twelve league games we have 4 meetings with other top four teams and two fixtures with Villa. The other games are not going to be walkovers either.
I am not too concerned about the cup ties in this period. In case we do really badly in December, Arsene might decide to focus on the cups. But as of now all the focus must be on creating a winning run. Can we win the nine fixtures before the trio of big games? If we do we will have great momentum leading into the crunch games.
As it is, we have dropped points in 5 games already. We cannot afford to drop more than 3-4 games till the end of the season. The only positive scenario is if we go on a long winning run. I think this team needs confidence. It also needs a touch of arrogance. We do not do justice to our talent at the moment. Who knows, maybe we struggle because we show too much respect to the opposition!
Arsene might even think about hiring a sports psychologist to talk to the players. I don’t think this could do much harm. I remember in the past such sessions have helped the Indian cricket team. It might help our players find their belief and fighting spirit.
All I want to see is that we give it our best shot.