Good Morning Positivistas,
What a night ! A delicious opportunity to reel in Tottingham and Leicester thrown away, three points that is seemed we must pick up during a good first half performance surrendered to Swansea. The evening ended with a number of players slumped, and I imagine that physical deflation was multiplied by the thousand across the fans in every corner. Even the invariably polite and articulate Arsene cracked in front of the camera. I know it took me a moment to compose myself.
Looking at the football we played I thought much of it was genuinely good. Joel Campbell was a constant attacking threat and always involved. His goal was smoother than a ripe little peach. Ramsey and Ozil worked hard and pulled the Swansea defence about all evening, Giroo provided the target around which our efforts pivoted. Did we make chances ? Oh yes, we made chance after chance. The content of the game reminded me of our thriller at the King Power at the end of September. 5-2 that finished, goals galore, Theo, Olivier and a treble from the irrepressible Chilean, a happy afternoon. If the sun shone brightly that day the weather had changed by 9.40 last night !
We find ourselves in the “perfect storm”.
A set of strikers who create chances but manage to batter only the woodwork into submission, who put the ball a millimetre to the left when a millimetre to the right is required, and often run into a keeper apparently equipped with eight tentacles rather than the standard two hands and big gloves. For the moment we can’t get the ball in the goal, or I should say more accurately we can’t get the ball in the goal enough times to overcome the effect of our second current malaise.
Allied with that misfiring offensive equipment we have a defence that seems to have lost its confidence, particularly whichever two central defenders find themselves on duty. Whether it is Per, Kosc or Gabriel when then are subject to direct aggressive attack by the opposition, when their equilibrium is upset, they seem to lapse into panic. If there is a defensive ‘plan’ (and I am sure there is) it seems to disintegrate within moments. And as their nervousness grows the opposition take advantage of the gaps and errors that such skittishness causes. Last night even the great Petr fell victim to the collective madness. Do I exaggerate ? Perhaps, but in recent games there have been a number of grim examples of allowing the attackers to take the ball, and the game away from us.
And yet, despite the footballing equivalent of Scylla and Charybdis, we sit still third in the League. Six points adrift but with ten games to go. To listen to some it might as well be sixteen points. Nonsense I say. With no side truly dominant in terms of form that the Premier League could/should be written off is absurd. If we were six points clear with ten games to go you and I know we would be nervously casting glances over our shoulder, and rightly so. There is much work to be done, to recover confidence, to re-sharpen technique. Do it again, do it better.
The North London Derby but three days away. Always a key fixture but this year….. ! Both sides frantic to secure the three points, both still in the chase for the title. There is no magic pill, no miracle panacea, we face a long march up a steep road, with the precipice of defeat a step away. The players must work hard, regain their optimism, and not give up, indeed never, ever give up. Will you join them ?