We finally got some goals. We finally looked like a team vaguely on the same page. Most importantly we got the win to give ourselves a chance for the title once more. After Leicester pulled off what has to be the performance of the season in beating City at their place we absolutely had to win and the boys didn’t disappoint. The game kicked off and both teams looked a little cagey however it was clear that our forward play was the more threatening and it was enough for us to get a couple of quick goals, the second of which effectively killed the contest. I have to say that we were incredibly lucky to have 11 men on the field as in the 8th minute Flamini contrived to jump in 2 footed right in front of the referee to win the ball. Thankfully for us he actually did win the ball, however it was a red nonetheless. The ref bottled the decision for some reason and on some level I wonder whether this may have something to do with the injustices we have suffered over the season. I do think that the referees pay attention to the decisions and talking points as the season goes by and when ‘another’ decision comes the way of a team who has suffered a number of transgressions a seed of doubt must enter the officials’ minds. It might just be a factor, however as the season has gone by there have been so many horrendous decisions this term that the decision itself may just have been due to incompetence. Still I wasn’t one to complain, we’ve had our fair share of diabolical decisions that one just had to go our way and I’m thankful that it did. He still managed to go flying in one more time in the second half but thankfully he missed both man and ball as play went on. We had to go with the RamFlam combo once again this time around which left many of us wondering exactly what would unfold in the 90 minutes to come. We once again saw why it doesn’t quite work and it is now pretty clear to see that against the best opposition it will and has been found out. The reason that Wenger has had to persist with the combination in recent
weeks at least is due to the fact that our new man Elneny is a new dad and Coquelin is not quite ready. Thankfully this was one game where the RamFlam combination didn’t cost us, in fact Ramsey in particular actually had quite a good game.
I hope that this means for the Leicester game we can welcome back Coquelin into the side and a part of me wants also to go with our new man Elneny alongside him (if available of course). I just think that there may be an element of surprise in our play with him in the side as well as a bit more security with Ramsey playing wide right. You could almost draw a diagonal line from the left hand side of the half way line to the right hand corner flag and consider the right half of that to be Coquelin, Elneny and Ramsey territory with the left hand side belonging to Alexis, Ozil and one of Giroud or Walcott. It’s an interesting conundrum to have for the manager as we finally have a couple of options rather than having to make do because of injuries. In any case we have the fire power to cause Leicester problems but it’s the other side and defending their devastating counter attack that will be the key to victory. They, like most teams that come to the emirates, will shut up shop and look to hit on the counter and will be more than happy with a draw from the game given their position so we will have to approach it as we do in most games, with patience. It might be quite similar to our opening game against West Ham where we know that they have the pace and power to cause us problems but to a larger extent. That day we went with Ramsey and Coquelin which didn’t quite pan out, however I think it’s one of the only times we’ve tried that combination from the beginning. From memory in that fixture we struggled to make something happen when we got to the final third and it wasn’t so much to do with the transition of getting the ball from back to front, it’s that at the front we didn’t quite know what to do with it. Anyhow we will be in for an absolute cracker of a game and one where we absolutely must win to have a real shot at winning this league. I firmly believe that with a win it might just tip the scales in our favour even though we may be 2 points off top spot. The pressure, however, will firmly be on us and we’re a bit hit and miss in dealing with it as we all know. Fingers crossed for nothing but a positive reaction.
My main point of conversation this week is to discuss the increased in-fighting within our fan base. Largely one that takes place on Twitter but one that takes place no matter the result. Lose a game and the knives well and truly come out. The main recipients of them are the Manager, Giroud, Flamini & Per Mertesacker. They are the 4 that bear the brunt of the criticism. The manager for his in-game decisions and lack of transfer activity, Giroud for not being the world class finisher we need, Flamini for his pointing (justified I think!) and Mertesacker for being slow, for every mistake he makes is due to his lack of pace. It’s end of days stuff.
Draw a game and we are in between a rock and a hard place. When I say this I mean it purely in the context as to what people on the rock side or people on the hard place side will have to say of our opinion. It matters so much to people as to their credibility online so God forbid they put what they really feel and believe out there on social media. People
like Piers Morgan have an outrageous and frankly baseless opinions that contradict themselves week after week and this is what a lot of fans are now doing. Hiding behind the opinion of a media mogul is common place. I was debating the Mertesacker red card with a friend of mine (a Chelsea fan) and when I asked his honest opinion on the matter his defacto response was to say that he agreed with Thierry Henry in that it was a red card. Now that’s not to say the opinion of my friends’ wasn’t in fact his own, nor does it suggest that what Thierry Henry said was wrong in any way (HE WAS WRONG – IT WAS A DIVE!) but the fact that the default response was to go back to what a pundit has said to qualify an opinion. It’s as if it gives credence to an opinion, which is in fact ironic as it’s leading to more and more unoriginal viewpoints in the game.
Now, when we win a game surely Twitter is a happy place right? Wrong. Even when we win a damn game there are people out there who lambast the performance or single out the fact that a goal scorer ‘didn’tdo much else other than scoring’ or extrapolate the result into not being good enough against the best of teams and therefore we won’t win the league. I mean firstly when have we as a football club shown even the slightest bit of consistency throughout our performances in any season? People may talk of the Invincibles but lest we forget our cup exits that year. But most importantly why is it so damn hard for people to celebrate or enjoy the winning of a football match? We are not Barcelona and we’re not going to sweep aside every team that comes before us and on top of it all we have no divine right to do so. Some wins may be more hard work and a bit more nail biting than others but if we come to a juncture where we are simply not able to enjoy winning a football match what’s the bloody point of it all? We’ve given ourselves a fantastic chance to win the league this year and rather than jumping on the bandwagon of hope (without which football would be null and void) there are plenty of us on the ‘I told you so’ path of fandom. It comes back to having that reputable social media presence, which will be mocked if optimism isn’t rewarded. But you know what, a hope filled life is far better than one which is resigned to defeat. It makes for a happier season surely.
On that note we go into what will be a season defining weekend for us. I sure hope that we can follow the Arsenal onto victory over land and sea, AND LEICESTER!
Have a great week folks.
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.