Arsenal 3-3 Norwich
I would like to tell you with a straight face that I withheld my thoughts on Saturdayâ€™s â€˜thrillerâ€™ because I anticipated yet another twist on Sunday afternoon, but if I did say that Iâ€™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 weâ€™re going to have to go through it again though, doesnâ€™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, whoâ€™s to say youâ€™re ever going to grasp it? Wenger couldnâ€™t pinpoint the reason why we stodged through the first 45 minutes â€“ â€œWe have to analyse the reasons why we were not sharp enough in the first halfâ€, he said, â€œThere is no obvious reason because we prepared normallyâ€¦â€ before then pinpointing exactly why: â€œBut maybe subconsciously [we thought] we would win it.â€
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 â€“ we have now had three.
Or as my brother said during half-time, â€œThereâ€™s nothing wrong with our players, physically or in terms of techniqueâ€¦. THEY JUST HAVENâ€™T GOT IT UPSTAIRSâ€.
Well in that case they have a week to go rummaging around in the attic, donâ€™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 â€“ 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 â€“ we need more of them.
One further thought: I think itâ€™s probably better that weâ€™re playing our last game away from home. Iâ€™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 thatâ€™s another factor in the tepid performances that have followed. Not that Iâ€™m trying to defend them, but maybe itâ€™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 â€“ 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.
THREE GAMES UNBEATEN.
One more thing: My scientific poll has ended, results below. The conclusion: We are all losing our minds.