“Oh Cruel Fate, when wilt thou weary be?
When satisfied with tormenting me ?
What have I e’er designed, but thou hath crost ?
All that I wished to gain by thee, I’ve lost.”
Good afternoon Positivistas,
Though for some of you it may still not be beyond noon, and for all of us the adjective “good” is at best superfluous and more likely grossly inaccurate. A hugely disappointing performance at Trafford Park, and a result that may have reduced the genuine chance of a Premier League title that we came into the game with to an outcome of arithmetical possibility, again.
On paper, that deadly old ‘paper’ that so often defies and upends logic in football, we were favourites to win in Manchester. On ‘paper’ the makeshift United side, poor at home and weak away, their manager on the abyss, reliant on youngsters, was a Sunday lunch that should have been efficiently consumed. Instead we slink away, beaten, in truth deservedly beaten, and with a degree of embarrassment. It is one thing to be cut open by Barcelona, quite another to be dissected as we were for the third, horrendous and ultimately decisive goal from Herrera this afternoon.
With the exception of Petr Cech, Hector and Danny Welbeck I doubt any of our players will feel much satisfaction today, or look back on the ninety minutes as a game in which they performed to their abilities. The passing was not crisp, the several goal scoring chances we created just not sharply enough take, the TEMPO that needed to get hold of the ball and seize control of the game was never there. We performed at 6 out of 10, when at least 7 was required. I do not intend to launch a witch-hunt and identify who did what, or did not do what. That is not my, or our, way on Positively Arsenal. We bring support, not accusation, despite the winds blowing bleak in our faces some days. I suspect however that the starting line up today will not be the same as begins against Swansea nor at the Lane next Saturday. And that leads us on to the reality of football, that all glory, all despair, elation or deflation is transient.
Right, so having got the sack-cloth and ashes routine out of the way I see that we have 11 Premier games to play, and 33 points therefore to play for. It is time to steady the ship, not rock the boat. The first of those games, as I say, is against the Swans on Wednesday at home, a contest that is eminently winnable. As long as we are not playing the game on ‘paper’. Our North London neighbours, who much to their credit earned three valuable points against the same visitors today, have a slightly rougher trip to the Boleyn ground on the same night. Let us claw a little self respect back, and three useful points, before the game at the Lane, then see where we are on Saturday morning.
I am sure you will understand If I provide a slightly shorter version of the match report this afternoon. I sense the reduced burden will benefit us all.