“If you can keep your head …”
It’s 9 am Sunday morning and I am just starting to write about the events that began to unfold some 18 hours ago. I haven’t been able to eat or sleep and I feel like shit.
That’s what football can do.
Perhaps I would feel better if I had spent last night attacking the team, the manager and everyone else I could find in order to transfer my disappointment onto them. It seems to work for many, I might give it a go next time.
It doesn’t get much worse than yesterday. The team played poorly and we lost.
If only it was that simple, but it’s not.
We started off slowly and one of our normally most dependable players – Tomas Rosicky – decided he would pick this match to have a ‘mare. He chose to ignore his team mates and pass the ball to Stoke players instead. Jack and Santi seemed to think that was a good idea too, and joined in.
Podolski thought he would reinvent himself as a midfielder and took up some deep lying duties, leaving Giroud isolated and ineffective. That’s when he wasn’t lying on the pitch complaining about being fouled.
Which he inevitably had been, by the way.
There was no fluency, no speed of foot or thought from our attacking players. In short, they were piss-poor. Of course the defence were sound, Arteta was doing a decent job of shielding them and frankly they didn’t look like scoring until the referee decided to gift them a penalty kick.
It was a shocking decision, by a man who had a shocking game.
The disappointment of fans turned to anger and all the old clichés were rolled out and scapegoats duly sought.
The team selected was wrong, blame the manager.
That’s always a good one, eh ?
This was basically the same team that put Sunderland to the sword last week, better if you rate Gibbs over Monreal.
People then claim that it was because Sunderland had their eye on the COC final and were shit. Of course it was! So despite the sheer beauty of our play that day, we can write off that elevens’ performance and claim they can’t play together?
What happened to never change a winning team?
The referee sanctioned Stoke in their attempts to stop us playing by foul means.
Some of the attacks on Jack and Giroud were outrageous. The lack of yellow (or even red card, some were that bad) allowed them to stop our lads ever finding a rhythm.
Now people then say we should have taken the referee out of the game by playing better. The team lacked the character to do that. Well ok, in that case The Invincables were a bunch of lightweights as well because they didn’t man up against Man United on Game 50 and take Mike Dean out of the match! Did they?
The disappointment is magnified because we hoped that days like yesterday were a thing of the past. Yes indeed, we were never again going to have an off-day, that was the hope. Good luck with that.
When a team relies on technical excellence it takes only a couple of players to have a bad day and there is a huge spanner in the works. The more technical your play, the more you need all of the components to perform up to a level. I think we have to accept that that’s the way it is. And please don’t come with the old “We need a plan B “ or I will come after you and poke you with a big shit-covered stick.
I am of a mind that we are now more likely to finish 4th than 1st.
Disappointing as that is, I can cope and I can cope because the curve is upwards. With the addition of one or two top players and the progression of our core, I believe next year we will be better, and the year after that, better still.
Now that’s not to say that we can’t win something this year.
We can, but it’s getting more difficult. Fans should understand that moaning, crying and attacking everyone they can find does not make them as fans more passionate. It just makes them sad, needy people who have to blame someone else because their team was not able to provide the success in life that they are unable to provide for themselves.
Life’s losers, calling other losers is irony gone mad.
You can be ironic with George (whilst not giving up) on Twitter @Blackburngeorge