When a weekend begins with midnight karaoke at a restaurant serving Korean BBQ (just donâ€™t ask â€“ but I fear I may have sung Jambalaya by the Carpenters, which is humiliating in the extreme), you know anything could happen.
And so the weekend continued: a game pretty much everyone thought weâ€™d win, myself and my thick head included, ended in a draw. Did we deserve the three points? No. We started brightly, but the second half was poor, we didnâ€™t create enough clean chances and Birmingham merited their point.
Itâ€™s frustrating, especially given the manner in which we negotiated our tortuous Christmas schedule, but thatâ€™s football. In truth, weâ€™re still searching for our best form. I had thought it was coming back, but on yesterdayâ€™s performance itâ€™s a way off yet. Too many of our top players were less than imposing.
This league campaign is so tight that a home draw means weâ€™ve conceded the momentum too. Thatâ€™s not a negative point because Iâ€™m well aware weâ€™re joint top â€“ but when the margin is so small thatâ€™s what happens.
Fabregas was below par, Hleb was not at his imperious best and Walcott was powder-puff.
Our great English hope has come in for some stick recently, and perhaps thatâ€™s no bad thing. His transfer fee, the general hype of his emergence and the fact he is an Englishman in a team of foreign players means heâ€™s been bigged up more than is fair. Perhaps a small readjustment of what we expect from him is a good thing. Heâ€™s performing only in snatches, and seems to be one of those players who needs confidence or it just doesnâ€™t happen. So yes, he does need to do more, but letâ€™s not forget heâ€™s only 18.
Bendtner, just a year older, has been far more effective. But Walcott cannot be too downhearted â€“ 21 appearances and three goals in the first half of the season is not bad at all for an 18-year-old.
Talking of Englishmen, the noises coming out of the club over the last few weeks are encouraging. Weâ€™re apparently close to signing Luke Freeman, a 15-year-old striker from Gillingham, and Wenger has been quick to point out that in addition to him we have â€“ in his opinion â€“ the best crop of young English players weâ€™ve had in a decade. Gibbs, Lansbury, G Hoyte, Randall – all these players are young enough to have been through the Wenger-era youth system from the beginning, so it will be interesting to see if he is right.
And on that note I stop.