Good result, bad result, two points lost or one gained â€“ we just donâ€™t know yet. I would wager that a draw at Villa is a good result, but ask me again after the next three games and weâ€™ll know more. We were hardly going to go there and waltz it.
The main sensation I had from last night though was that we didnâ€™t play that well. We didnâ€™t lose but we hardly set the pulse racing. That feeling fans can get of an unstoppable head of steam building up â€“ of a team on the verge of take-off â€“ well my own view is weâ€™re still a way off that.
What it does mean though â€“ and donâ€™t tell the marketing men at Sky in case they milk it â€“ is that Sundayâ€™s set-to is undeniably hugely significant. Winning it might put the wind into our sails. Losing it might knock us into the doldrums.
I know Vermaelen and Eduardo succumbed to Arsenal Fever â€“ the former fortunately not breaking a bone – but there is at least some comfort in the knowledge that weâ€™ve got fewer players out now than weâ€™ve had out for a while. Nasri, Song, Eboue, Walcott, Rosicky, Bendtner, Clichy, Sagna, Fabregas â€“ all have had recent injuries of varying severity, or have been away, and all are now back.
I said back at the beginning of the month that to not strengthen the squad at a point where we find ourselves in a healthy league position would be almost criminal. Itâ€™s a young squad with some extremely talented players and potential oozing out its pores but thereâ€™s surely not a soul on this planet who believes Arsenal could not be strengthened.
So I 100% agree with those who say that buying could only benefit us. How could it not? Look what spending Â£10m on Vermaelen did. The market, itâ€™s clear, is hugely subdued, so Iâ€™m not expecting miracles. But I do still think we might swoop (for that is the only suitable verb to use across all media outlets as Jan 31st edges closer) for someone. Itâ€™s not due to some magical intuition or insider knowledge.
It can probably be put down as being nothing more than the eternal optimism of the average football fan.
PS – Comments are totally kaput since I upgraded to the most recent version of WordPress. They’ve disappeared. Can’t post new ones. I have no idea why so if you can help on that front, or know someone who can, I’d appreciate any advice going. You can mail me at eastlower AT googlemail.com or DM me on @eastlower on Twitter. Ta!
Update: Comments are back. Thanks to all who responded to my desperate plea and in particular @arseblog, @jim_aboutaball and @govindraj