Another throw of the dice

Arsenal 3-3 Norwich

I would like to tell you with a straight face that I withheld my thoughts on Saturday’s ‘thriller’ because I anticipated yet another twist on Sunday afternoon, but if I did say that I’d be lying the lie of a thousand liars. I honestly expected the Totteringhams to take the gift we had presented them on a platter, once and for all, and put us all out of our misery.

Instead, it looks as if we’re going to have to go through it again though, doesn’t it.

I doubt that I am the only person who has developed an unhealthy dollop of fatalism about the eventual outcome. I mean, if you fail to grasp your chances several times in a row, despite klaxons sounding, who’s to say you’re ever going to grasp it? Wenger couldn’t pinpoint the reason why we stodged through the first 45 minutes – “We have to analyse the reasons why we were not sharp enough in the first half”, he said, “There is no obvious reason because we prepared normally…” before then pinpointing exactly why: “But maybe subconsciously [we thought] we would win it.”

Complacency is a fault line that runs through this side, regrettably. It has been for ages. As Gunnerblog said on the Twisters, most teams have a sticky patch during a season – we have now had three.

Or as my brother said during half-time, “There’s nothing wrong with our players, physically or in terms of technique…. THEY JUST HAVEN’T GOT IT UPSTAIRS”.

Well in that case they have a week to go rummaging around in the attic, don’t they, because to throw away one or two chances to nail this consolation prize is regrettable, but to blow the final chance would be unforgivable.

Luckily, there is a blueprint for success, and it involves a more disciplined approach to defending – throughout the side – combined with the kind of attacking verve that suddenly and belatedly exploded us into life in the second half on Saturday. A verve that even seeped into the pores of Gervinho. Anonymous in the first half, he was like a slippery eel in the second.

Slippery eels – we need more of them.

One further thought: I think it’s probably better that we’re playing our last game away from home. I’ve had a feeling, since we ballsed up the home game at Wigan, that the understandable frustrations of the crowd (long-standing, often just under the surface) would be sensed and mirrored by the players, and maybe that’s another factor in the tepid performances that have followed. Not that I’m trying to defend them, but maybe it’s something to add into the mix.

But anyway, here we still are with a decent shout for third. 47 goals conceded, ten defeats, three points from 12 – and yet, still our destiny is in our hands.

What we need though, to end this on an upbeat note, are some positive stats, not negative ones. So before I bid you a happy bank holiday Monday, I shall leave you with this note of optimism.


One more thing: My scientific poll has ended, results below. The conclusion: We are all losing our minds.