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Yes. We. Can.

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As fans, this is the kind of day that we live for. The alarm shrills, sleepy fingers grope for the off switch and the first coherent thought to form through the fog of recently departed sleep is ‘Arsenal. It’s tonight’. This is the big one folks. Our nearest rivals have done all we could ask to ensure the pressure remains fully over in the red and Arsene has done all he can to prepare the players to work within that pressure. You can feel the expectation, tension and excitement vibrating in every Arsenal fan you meet, in every tweet and every status update the nervous thrill as our penultimate ‘cup final’ approaches.

I want you to put your hand on your heart and tell me: Did you truly believe we’d get through the first eight of these ten games and only draw two, losing none? When Arsene cranked up the tension with his ten cup final speech, how many of us thought ‘that’s a big ask’ after a sometimes infuriatingly inconsistent season? I knew we had the ability to do it, and in public I sounded resolute, but that little voice inside me kept chipping away. Long unbeaten runs in this version of the premiership where squads packed with first choice internationals can get easily relegated are so very difficult to establish. It is as George pointed out in a recent post a much, much tougher league than it used to be.

game of thrones

And yet here we are. Tantalisingly close. Like that bloke and his ginger girlfriend off Game Of Thrones trying to climb the impossibly tall ice wall, just a couple of last gasps from the parapet. One false step and they plummet to the eternal winter of the Europa league, two more herculean lunges and they are gazing down over the meadows and rich pastures of the UCL. So what then of tonight’s ice wall? What of Wigan? What, I wonder, will they bring to the table ? We have all been attempting to read the tea leaves after their heroics against the Oil Barons on Saturday. It’s as if everyone is reading the same thriller and trying to work out where the plot is leading them. Will Martinez have kept them away from the champers and go go girls? Will they be hung over or inspired by Wembley? Did Macmanamanamanam have the game of his life or is Kieran in for a roasting like that his predecessor endured?

Sorry to disappoint you but I’m not in the business of making predictions. Go to Blackpool and visit a fortune teller if that’s what you want. Who predicted Wigan to beat the oil men, Bradford to beat us, or us to utterly humiliate  Bayern away from home? Who on earth thought the Spuds would, after their customary end of season capitulation, find the inner strength and belief to cling, no matter how tenuously to their top four ambitions? The point is none of us know. I’m sick of bloggers pretending they do. Remember when Theo had a temporary contract extension as his people and our people got round the table to thrash out a deal?fortune-teller You all read as I did countless bloggers airily asserting that  “Walcott is already gone, we all know that” and “Of course everyone knows we have lost Theo, we need to ask who if anyone will be brought in to replace him” that kind of pathetic, self serving egotistical drivel that passes for amateur journalism. I challenged one prominent blogger to make a full and public apology if and when Theo re-signed but I had just as well piss in the wind. As far as I can see these people have their negative agenda whether conscious and deliberate or innate and unacknowledged. They like the sound of their high pronouncements with the clear implication that they somehow know the future. Well they don’t.  And nor do we. We haven’t a clue. The form book, the squads, the manager’s experience all point to us winning. But no matter how much I expect us to I don’t know and nor do you so lets leave predictions to Eileen Drewery and just try to enjoy the match.

My mate Wilb, when asked what result he wanted if watching a match as a neutral always answered without hesitation “Extra time and penalties”. He wanted as many minutes of football entertainment as the two teams could give him. I am enormously out of step with many of you I know because for all the edge of the seat nail chewing, for all the times the dog has slid from the room on her belly emitting toxic farts of terror as I scream at the screen and bite the furniture, I am actually thoroughly enjoying the fact that this season is going to the wire. Like Wilb I want as much as I can get out of this thing. Yes I hoped both Spuds and Chavs might lose at the weekend because like everyone else I’m conscious that it would buy us leeway should we have ‘one of those days’ either tonight or on Sunday. But they didn’t lose and so we get to go to the very end of the season still needing to win our games to be certain, still hoping the others slip up and help us. It is squeezing the season until the pips squeak and I’m loving every second of it. My hopes are that we stay unbeaten to the end and kick off 2013/14 with something already to defend. I pray we finally see a summer with none of the usual  upheaval (please God no transfer activity to further disrupt us) so that the squad defending that nascent unbeaten run will be the ones who earned it.

dwennis

Of course to realise my dreams we need to stay focussed and keep defending like we have been lately. We have at last a settled defensive partnership which breathes calm and stability and provides the perfect foundation for our more advanced players. We have a midfielder in Aaron Ramsay  just coming of age and putting in the kind of dynamic never say die performances that are little short of inspirational. With the experience and guile of Tomas, Santi and Lukas and a proper captain at last I think the side looks as balanced as I can remember. When you factor in the youngsters like Wilshere and Oxelaide-Chamberlain who are hammering on the door wanting their place the future is very bright indeed.

So yes I think we can. Heck I know we can. Will we? Let’s just say I bloody well hope so.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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127 comments on “Yes. We. Can.

  1. at one all and with my stream gone down I was shaking like prick during a five knuckle shuffle so I stuck my radio on thought of stew calmed myself down and thought positively…… I defiantly think I had something to do with our win tonight
    thank you stew!

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  2. Saw only the last 20 mins of the game. Last time I last saw the score was 1:1. When I turned on my tv it was 4:1 to the Arsenal.
    We put a hell of a beating on Wigan, Mike Dean, Pat Riley, Warren Barton, Stewart Robson and the whole establishment dying for us to lose.
    Come on my Arsenal. Come on!

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  3. Jeez Shotta what were you doing that kept you away from the TV?

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  4. Yes. We. Did!

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  5. PG @ 10:22 pm
    Work PG. I have got bills, plenty.

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  6. Oh dear Shotta.I forgot about time zones

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  7. Really good night – stadium rocking – after a little wobble we took them apart

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  8. My nerves almost got the better of me, but I read Stew’s words of wisdom on my way to the match, which helped, but not quite enough to post! Anicoll15, I was in block 23. Atmosphere was great though, it was a fantastic way to round off the home season. I’m very happy for Aaron to get the goal of the night, sad for Wigan and Martinez, but they have the FA cup to compensate them and we needed those points to take us a step closer to our minimum goal for the season. Job well done, one more game to go!

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  9. I must say I am surprised at Santi leading the MoTM poll on Arsenal.com when I thought he did not play particularly well tonight. Just goes to show how differently we all see the same thing.

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  10. marvellous. Just back home and having read through here it is interesting to be able to identify key moments from the game through folks comments. As always at games one can feel the ref is a turd. Glad to see that is echoed by those watching the game via screeens. Bias aside , was he really as much of a git as he appeared from my seat?

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  11. Arsenal, arse en all!
    Utterly happy.
    Some frank exchanges of views tonight in our supporters club about Rambo.
    A lot of humble pie being eaten out of their hats. AR16 > RK16.

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  12. aaronramsey fc played good football tonight.

    santi cazorla. respect.

    boss and per …how many goals have they let in open play the alst 2-3 months i wonder? .

    theo worked hard all game too. they all wanted it , well done!

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  13. Arsenal 4. Dean 1.
    Stunning win for us and a suitable retirement present for him. (Please God he’s not at Newcastle on Sunday, howling for revenge – oh no, of course, that’ll be Dowd.)

    Hate to speculate on results, but anybody thought about what happens when we win and the Chavs draw on Sunday?

    Too exhilarated to work it out, but I think if we win by 2 goals, we’re 3rd. The real fun starts if we win by 1 goal. Same goal difference. And if, for example, we win 2-1 and theirs is a goalless draw, (I think) we have exactly the same Goals For and Goals Against.

    What then? Alphabetical order, I hope.

    (What’s that you say? We’re going to put 6 past the Nukes. OK. Fair enough.)

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  14. rosicky ha….warhorse…ran the whole pitch,, tackled..slid got up tackled again..went forward tracked back ..teenager…

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  15. Arsenal 4 mike dean FC 1
    Cry into your retirement you odious cunt.
    Can’t see a foul on an arsenal player 5 metres in front of you but always will see an an imaginary foul against us from the far side of the pitch.
    Whats next, mike reily coming out of retirement for the last game?

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  16. Hunter,
    In football years Tomas is playing like a 17 years old.
    The man is a legend.

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  17. One of Theo’s best games in ages too.
    They all really wanted this.
    #ubelievablebelief!!

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  18. Next seasons invincibles team has already started.
    COYG.

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  19. I feel you, Shotta. I’m still at work. Cannot wait to get home, kick back with a cold beer and watch the game stress free. And I won’t fast forward to see Aaron’s goal, even though I really, really want to! I’m so happy for him I could just burst. I literally cannot stop smiling.

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  20. Alabama
    Watch Ramseys eyes as he slots the ball home sheer class

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  21. heh DC, dean tried …id be disapppointed if he hadnt…and dowd on the touchline..what a horror show…awful creatures…

    hey bob can also check past footage aaron’s eyes and face when giroud scores in bayern….

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  22. oh, you gunners, how you toy with our emotions.

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  23. AFC 2013-2014 first XI
    Ramsey
    Ramsey-Ramsey-Ramsey-Ramsey
    Ramsey-Arteta*
    Ramsey-Ramsey-Ramsey
    Ramsey

    *ramsey can’t play as himself!

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  24. Till tomorrow, Gooners.
    C’mon Benfica!!
    Extra time and penalties, please football gods.

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  25. Excellent team effort! Everyone played their part. Irresistible, whenever Arsenal got into gear, which was the whole game but for 15 minutes in the first half, and the first 5 of the second. Wigan tried, played well in phases, especially in the middle. Hope to see you after next season Wigan. Next stop Newcastle. End of the line. Third. Not as simple as it looks, but a 90 minute team effort and bustle will see us through without problems.

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  26. When we close them down, as Tomas, Santi, Lukas, Theo and sometimes Ramsey did all night, we win, every time.

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  27. New post up.

    Like

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