A Happy New Year to you all!
Some serious resolutions need to have been made to make our footballing New Year more profitable, I must say.
I made the foolish error of videoing yesterday’s game (yes, I do still own a video – I know, I know, it’s hilarious), then introducing a media blackout until I was able to watch it at 3pm. Suffice to say, it was time poorly spent.
Let’s be frank, it was a dreadful affair, and whether the team had one eye on Tuesday or not is utterly irrelevant. If you can’t create more than three shots on goal, and you are out-cornered by an embarrassing quota, it’s hardly going to foster confidence for the arrival of a form side for a grudge match. I went into the Chelski match fearing the worst, and I’ve got the same sensation when I think of Tuesday. It’s not pessimism, it’s realism – the last time we beat a ‘top three’ side was Sunday May 8th last year, when we beat Liverpool, and the last time we beat our Northern Chums (in the league) was also a May 8th – way back in 2002, when Wiltord famously won us the league in their own patch.
That’s right, we’ve not beaten them in the league for three-and-a-half years.
Wenger is making all the right noises to steady the ship (“I feel comfortable because the team is growing, improving and taking off… I still have three or four weeks to assess that… We are not in a desperate need…”), but he must know we need strengthening, and badly, and it needs to happen now.
It doesn’t matter whether they are cup-tied for the Champions League really, because we’re probably not going to win it – but it is key to get back into the Champions League, both to attract new players next season, to keep the ones we have, and to give us the extra £10m we need to strengthen the squad/pay back Ashburton.
So while Real Madrid is going to be a cracker, winning it is not the Be All and the End All.
Coming fourth is, and if you look at it that way, it’s all a bit twisted.
(PS – Had to happen, didn’t it – The Sunday People is running a story saying we want to re-sign Patrick Vieira. I’m told by serious sources that Liam Brady and Tony Adams are coming out of retirement too, oh yes).