Andâ€¦ breathe again.
I didnâ€™t watch all the game on Saturday on the streamz and â€“ can you really blame me – I didnâ€™t then douse myself in the misery of paying it much attention thereafter. We lost and – to quote the Bard – we lost bad. Didnâ€™t start well, didnâ€™t middle well and didnâ€™t end well.
It was our first truly poor performance of the season, and taken as a single entity I think we could dismiss it as such. But this is Arsenal and as well as knowing all about victory through harmony, we have long now been noted for inexplicably twiddling along in a dither (have a go at translating that into Latin â€“ I almost broke the web trying). The ensuing angst was all the more teeth-grinding because weâ€™ve been here, done that, and it doesnâ€™t take much to remind us all of it.
Now look, Iâ€™m not some kind of mouthpiece for the club, but I do think some of the reaction has been a bit extreme. Yes, weâ€™re gallons off the pace and bobbing around in mid-table, and yes, the depressing prospect of calibrating our gunsights at fourth is not what we all signed up for, but Iâ€™m damned if Iâ€™m going to spend the rest of the season unhappy so Iâ€™m not going to. And weâ€™re only eight games in.
This is still the same side that was not long ago lauded for defending more tidily, drawing justifiably at Man City, winning at Anfield and topping its Champions League table. Itâ€™s a side that has seen some magnificent performances from Mertesacker, Cazorla, Diaby and Arteta. And others. It lacked pace on the weekend but it was missing Walcott, Diaby, and for the most part, Oxlade-Chamberlain. Itâ€™s missing its main goalkeeper. It has Wilshere waiting in the wings.
Maybe Iâ€™m burying my head in sand. And maybe Iâ€™m wheeling out the same old excuses. But I make no apologies for trying to take the positive line. I donâ€™t want to be furious. Lifeâ€™s too short and my season ticket too expensive for that.
PS â€“ Penny for the thoughts of the contractually-recalcitrant Theo Walcott. One league start in eight, but even he must now be sniffing a start (when fit). We could do with his pace from the off. Whether heâ€™s staying or not, weâ€™re paying him good money now, so letâ€™s get on with it. I think they call it realpolitik.
Anyway, thereâ€™s another game on Wednesday. Off we all go again.
Time to put the freshness back.