Battle for Silver

What a brilliant performance from us! Beating Liverpool in such emphatic fashion will for sure give us the confidence and belief to carry on and finish the season as strongly as possible. It looks as though the top 4 seems to be ours to throw away and it’s now a battle for the automatic Champions League qualification places. I feel as though 2nd is well within our reach given the fixtures we have remaining but Stoke saw to any flickering title hope we may have had. Chelsea have to go away to QPR, West Brom, Leicester and ourselves as well as play both United and Liverpool at home. They would need to drop 11 points in order for us to be ahead, keeping in mind that we would need to win our remaining games. In a best case scenario I can see them losing potentially to Leicester and ourselves and drawing to both United and Liverpool and even then we would need to win all of our remaining games to take it to a goal difference battle. I feel as though Chelsea’s results could well go that way but for us to win all of our remaining games could well be a push. What hurts most though is that had we prepared a little better in the summer with the purchase of a DM and a CB we may well have been closer to the top right now and challenging to the final day. The Coq has been quite superb but we have to remember that he was a mid season rescuer. Gabriel, again a good signing, but another mid season purchase. The season pangs of missed opportunities but luckily we’re still in with a shout for some silverware so it could yet end well.

As for our performance against Pool, we were quite simply outstanding. We began like a house on fire and really should have been 1-0 up at the very least in the first 10 minutes but then they began to grow back into the game. They then somehow contrived to miss a guilt edged chance that would have changed the game entirely. We know how we are when we’re a goal down and chasing a game…the term headless chickens comes to mind! Thankfully we got a bit of luck and it remained 0-0. Thereafter we saw 8 minutes of brilliance that blew Liverpool away. Bellerin with a beauty, Ozil with a beauty and Alexis with a, yep you’ve guessed it, a beauty. They didn’t know what hit them and to be 0-0 at 36 minutes and then 3-0 down after 45 seems ludicrous, but a good ludicrous as far as we’re concerned! The second half was one where we stifled the opposition and stopped them from creating too much. We, in fairness could have added a couple more but for some fine goalkeeping from Mingolet. But they got back into the game from our own indiscretion. Ospina has done little wrong since he’s been between the sticks for us but one thing he has in common with the Scz is his quite diabolical distribution of late. He’s calmer than the big Pole but still erratic when he’s got all the time in the world. He’d been kicking poorly for a fair part of the game and it was his quite poor clearance from a goal kick that found Henderson in our half heading the ball forward. Now that left us in a 3 v 3 situation and with 3 others chasing back frantically to help out, all in all leading to a quite panic stricken and disorganised. It meant that Bellerin made a challenge he didn’t need to because he was a little unaware of where things were around him. It’s those little details that have cost us in the past and had Anthony Taylor been feeling a little dickish he could have sent Bellerin off. I don’t think it was worthy of a second yellow as the ball was long gone to deny any goal scoring opportunity but on a bad day we could have been down to 10. As it turned it was Liverpool that were down to 10 for a bit of a silly challenge from Emre Can. He was a little unlucky in that he slipped but he was still not going to get anywhere near the ball and was always going to get the man first, he gave Taylor a decision to make by the fact that he was never going to get the ball. We then went on to dominate further and Cazorla could have had a sumptuous fourth when he got the post after a near move down the left. We did get the fourth through a fabulous Giroud strike. It was a game where Ospina had to make one save from Emre Can, face a 1-v-1 which went wrong for them and the penalty in the second half. The 1-v-1 is the only real chance they created that pulled us apart. Other than that we dominated the game throughout and if not for Mingolet and the darn post we could well have had 6 or 7. As it was we won handsomely enough and were able to win 3 points as well as improve our goal difference. A special mention needs to go out for Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Ozil was at his sumptuous best spreading the play and finding the right pass at the right time in tandem with a wonderful free kick makes for a fine performance. Alexis got the goal as well as an assist against a big gun, which will hopefully give him the spark he needed to kick on for the rest of the season.

The Chelsea v Stoke game promised a small entry back into the title race after the most hideous footballer to have lived scored a quite unreal strike. Alas the door was pretty much slammed shut with Loic Remy’s winner. Stranger things have happened but I think the focus needs to remain on us winning the rest of our games and seeing where that takes us. United are fiercely keeping pace with us but they play Man City next week and winning against Burnley away will help us gain a little distance on one of the two Manchester clubs. It’s going to be a tough game next week and we’re going to need everything we’ve got to beat a team fighting for survival. Each game as it comes and all that but a win next week is going to be vital to stay in touch for 2nd place.

It’ll be a huge game next week but for now at least we can enjoy the dying embers of the bank holiday weekend in the know that we batter Liverpool, which is a nice feeling after all.

One final note to Bobby Zamora’s goal. Goal of the season without a doubt. Stunning.

Happy Easter and have a great week.

Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1

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