We did our bit. Goal difference was dented. Confidence lifted and 3 points in the bag. Sp*rs conceived to drop 2 points. It was shaping up nicely. Then along came this pesky little ‘flee bite that won’t go away’ team Leicester City. They just keep churning out these ironically George Graham like 1-0 wins. Yes they’ve had their fare share of luck in these games and vs Southampton was one of those days but they deserved it on the balance of play. They just had more spark in the final third than Southampton. It’s one of those performances that when you’re at the top you get the run of the green and they had that when Mane ran through on goal. What should have been 1-0, turned into him rounding the keeper and having his shot blocked by Simpson’s arm, quite deliberately. When you’re at the bottom and scrapping that’s a penalty and a red card. When you’re at the top it’s the galvanising formula required to get over the line. Frustrating but we’re fast running out of time to claw this back. I still think there’s a sniff but it’s come to the point where a win vs Sunderland for them next week and it’s in the bag for them. That’s what our players will feel anyway – there’s no denying it. Man City did it trailing by 8 points and with 6 games to go and to be in that position we will have to go and beat the high flying West Ham next week. Anything but a win and our chances are gone I’d say but a win there and Leicester having to play before Sp*rs might just be the balance of pressure required for them to drop points. Surely their luck will run out soon. Right? Right? Please say I’m right!!!
Our performance on the weekend was a good one as I suggested earlier and the default reaction from the media half wits is to say “too little too late Arsenal” & “always the same when the pressure is off”. Well you know what, how about you actually think about it and do your job as a sports journalist is what I’d love to shake them and say. The reason isn’t due to the pressure being off. The pressure is well and truly on whilst we have a sniff but it’s due to having found a midfield balance at long last as to why we are playing well as of late. Coq-Neny and Iwobi fit our style much better than having the likes of Ramsey or Flamini at the base, which hasn’t really worked for us. Now we have a better balance and the creativity can come from places other than the feet of Mesut Ozil has freed us from our shackles. It is giving other’s a chance to shine. The fact we scored 4 and Ozil didn’t have an assist further reinforces that belief.
All being said it’s a weekend that started with so much promise and ended in stark disappointment. We can only keep going and hope. I just have a feeling that it may yet get to a point where we need a favour from Chelsea on the last day of the season, which is a sickening thought but one we may have to pray for nonetheless. The big story of the weekend has been the Times’ story on performance enhancing drugs on professional footballers. The clubs mentioned by the ‘doctor’ in question were Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester. However the statement by him is made with a view to convince the undercover reporter that ‘everyone does it, even the biggest of teams’. No evidence to support or corroborate his comments and I believe all three clubs have made statements to refute such claims. The whole thing is a little blown out of proportion but there is a quick fire way to resolve it. I don’t normally agree with a lot of what Stan Collymore has to say as it’s hardly ever said from the head and with fact at the basis. It’s purely his opinion but this time around I think he might be onto something. He tweeted that the best way around this situation is for every club to give a voluntary drug test on all players to ratify that we have a clean sport. Whilst this would succumb to an evidence free statement, it would highlight to the world that the sport it clean and also that if you’re not clean you will get caught because of the rigorous tests that go on through the year. Plenty of journalists put on their Guillem Balague masks off the back of the article to say “obviously there’s doping in football and all elite level sport” and “I knew already lolz”. It really would put paid to these comments and highlight the good from the bad journalists as well as the ones who have the most credibility and dignity. A big moment in football but one that has also given the sport an opportunity in that we could on the most transparent level ever possible see whether doping has had an impact on the sport.
The following fixture for us is our next point of focus. West Ham away. 3 points or bust, as it has been for a while now but hopefully they have an eye on their cup semi final a few days later and are off the boil a little. We’ll need some luck as they are a damn good side and we’ll somehow need to keep Payet quiet. No silly free kicks please lads.
A win for us and a favour from Jermain Defoe would make for a lovely weekend. Have a good week folks.
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