Scrolling down, you have to peer back to February 17th for my last truly upbeat blog post. That’s a month of largely unadulterated misery, and I can only apologise in hindsight if my small oasis of online gloom has added to your desert of Arsenal despondency.
What can you do? This football lark has its ups and downs, and for the last while things have been downtabulous. Since the shot in the arm of Barcelona at home, it’s been seven games – come on, I know you want me to remind you – which have garnered two wins (Orient and Stoke at home), two draws and three pretty gruesome defeats.
Sunday’s tame exit from the FA Cup tipped me into pre-interlull shutdown. I downed tools in order to mope around for a week feeling sorry for myself, and you know something, it’s worked. I have removed the dust covers and things look the same as they ever did, if a little less lustrous.
So how do things look? Well, good and ungood, pretty much.
Good: We’re in a fantastic position in the league, have jettisoned unnecessary fripperies like the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup (that’s my new positive spin on things), and should be steeled for a juicy run-in. It’s all to play for. It’s also a cliché – but it’s true.
Ungood: We’re a bit broken in the head and have malfunctioned in body. Since Barcelona at home – I’m sorry to keep referring back to it – the squad has taken it upon themselves to lose pretty much a man a game to injury. It’s been like musical chairs. Fabregas and Walcott went first, against Stoke. van Persie and Song were next, against Birmingham. Szczesny departed in the Nou Camp and Djourou in Manchester. van Persie has defied medical science by returning since then but we’re still five men short of our first XI. That’s tough.
Since then, Wenger has been on the defensive a bit, sticking up for the team, its leadership and experience, and trotting out the oft-used line about mental strength. Wenger claimed today that with the exception of the last-minute cup final loss, “in the last three months, what this team has done is absolutely sensational”, but that “it’s important we keep going”. It’s certainly worth remembering that, odd hiccup aside, our league form over that period is pretty good.
Well, as Arseblogger pointed out in his wireless broadcast, for the sake of safeguarding perky Arsenal blog posts across the globe, we simply have to win. Two additional weeks of hand-wringing would await us should we fail to do that. That’s a fairly unpalatable prospect. And if Utd win, an even bigger mountain and tougher climb looms.
But seeing that my negative cap is at the dry cleaners, I’m putting on my positive one. A week off has rendered me more upbeat. Tomorrow is the start of the bit after the last bit. I’ve got the blinkers on and I’m looking forward.
Oh, and Jens is back.