So I’m a little cranky today. I don’t like losing and we lost last night at the Emirates to a very “defend-y” Swansea side who then pulled a smash and grab on us. There are different types of defeats, this one is one of the most galling types.
We’ve pulled it off before, I distinctly remember a game against Liverpool a couple of seasons before where they pressed the crap out of us and we all expected to lose and then in the dying minutes Alex Song plays a sublime pass which is in turn finished by one striker we had on our books at the time– I can’t for some reason seem to remember his name.
I remember how much fun that was and I can imagine that Liverpool fans were unhappy with the outcome.
It happened to us last night.
We huffed and puffed but we couldn’t blow the little piggy’s house down. We lacked cutting edge, it was a game that called for a clinical finisher.
There were chances for Alexis, Walcott and Ramsey that I could remember, they were all chances that could have been finished off but weren’t and then we went on and lost the game.
Now, I know a lot of people would come around and say if we’d had a “World Class” striker on the pitch we could have gone ahead and won the game.
A part of me asks myself the same question, but then that is also the benefit of hindsight and even with said hindsight we have to ask; Who?
I have seen Barcelona draw nil nil or even lose one nil, I’ve seen Real Madrid suffer something similar too and these are teams that have “World Class” strikers, so on days like that what do we say to such teams? If only you guys had bought Dybala as we’d asked, or Benzema’s 2nd cousin who we viewed on YouTube and is a beast. Or Cavani or Lewandowski you’d have won the game.
Sometimes teams have an off day and I think that happened to us yesterday, it’s annoying, it makes you worry, but it is what it is. Some have faulted the manager for not making changes sooner and while I sympathize with their point of view I also wonder if that might have changed anything. There was also some criticism for taking Coquelin off. To that I say; No risk no reward. If the change had paid off and we’d scored we’d have heard all about the genius of the change.
Football is a game of fine margins and in the light of the defeat many will question our fight, our manager, our players etc. The major thing for me is how does this impact on the players? Confidence is such a fickle thing these days (from time immemorial really) and the confidence from winning 9 and drawing 1 could all come crashing down by just that defeat. The next game is against an equally struggling Manchester United, but it’s not going to be easy against them either and it’ll be a real test to this team’s mental strength to dig deep and find the mental fortitude to get something from that game.
On a side note, Gary Monk has now gone three games against Arsene Wenger without a defeat (2 wins and 1 draw) and yesterday there were comparisons between that and the one with Mourinho…make of that what you will.
Our hopes of 2nd place hang in the balance and it’s time for us to show what we’re made of. I sure hope we can.