It was a strange feeling after the full time whistle yesterday, because rather than spiralling into a pit of depression, I felt like some wool had been lifted from my eyes (by the way, apologies if today’s blog seems a bit defeatist) because it feels like that defeat was the marker for which it became clear that we aren’t going to win the league this year. What probably made me feel this way to a greater degree was the fact I had to watch the game in a pub which was showing the Chelski demolition of Fulham.
So whilst we laboured to an utterly uninspiring 1-0 defeat against the Orcs, the Chavs extended their lead at the top of the table by three points. Hell, even Liverpool swatted aside Southampton, so we find ourselves third in the table today and when City play their two games in hand, we will most likely be fourth.
The display from Arsenal yesterday was abject. Far too many players gave a six out of ten and league title contenders simply don’t not turn up to games like we did at the Potteries. Passing went awry, the intensity was non-existent (even after we wet behind) and we looked like each player was running around with lead weights on their feet.
Let’s ignore the dubious penalty decision, because it clearly was dubious, because we simply weren’t good enough anyway to warrant a victory.
Our attack was the most feeble of the areas of the park. Olivier Giroud looked to be more concerned with complaining every time he was touched and, despite the fact that Charlie Adam should have been sent off from a horrendous stamp on the Frenchman, before and after that incident he was hardly firing us to three points. On a day where our rivals all swept aside lesser opponents with their firepower, it was perhaps telling that ours looked like it had been doused with a bucket of water. I don’t want to labour the already well worn point, but we are clearly a world-class striker shirt of going for the league title this year, which is why every Arsenal fan I speak to is so disappointed at the moment. This feels like it was the year that we should be taking advantage of the instability of our rivals, yet we are discussing the same problems yet again, like some sort of grim Groundhog Day.
It wasn’t all Giroud though, because Podolski was pretty much anonymous, Cazorla was quite, Wilshere misplaced pass after pass and Arteta just didn’t seem like his usual self. Even in defence we looked wobbly at times. I said before yesterday’s game that ‘the feeling’ of nervousness before each game had returned because we are in a title race, yet it feels like a familiar numbness has swept over just as quickly as it arrived. I know we’re only four points from the top of the league, but tell me honestly, do you believe with the next four league games that we have, that we’ll make up ground on the Chavs? I don’t. Like I said at the start of this blog, apologies for sounding defeatist, but yesterday was a game we simply couldn’t afford to drop points given our schedule, yet we rolled over and had our bellies tickled as if it was an end of season game with little to play for but pride. If that was even the case, we didn’t even play for that either.
It’s a sad blog today I’m afraid. I can’t offer any comfort and with every word I type I’m becoming more irritated, so perhaps I should hold my tongue for now, because the players have a week to sort themselves out before what is increasingly becoming our only chance of silverware this season against Everton.
Catch you tomorrow.