What a week it's been. Got back from Wembley, having watched The Arsenal put in a lackluster display, and got a bad case of the Dovers or Dermots (depending on what podcast you listen too.) Due to this brief illness I missed the Orient game and felt too ill to blog about it. Too late now as everything has been said. Shame I missed it. It would've been a nice blog, a positive blog, a promising blog about confidence, professionalism and the desire of some of the fringe players. It was the night we needed.
However, miss it I did and am now faced with the task of recording my thoughts on our latest tryst. The silver lining of the chavs somehow beating the mancs was tarnished too quickly. Maybe even mentioning silver is brave as the team seem to come out in a rash just contemplating it. Today was a big one. We are still in for 3 pots and the Premier League is the most realistic and the best. I had high hopes that this team would grasp it and run with it. Instead, the lightly undulating performance at Wembley returned but this time it was totally flat.
We started badly. Sunderland, to their credit, attacked us and the majority of the opening 15 minutes played out nearer the North Bank. A steward at the Clock End was actually asked if he could arrange some football up our end. To get an idea of how we played in the first half sit in silence for a couple of minutes......
..........Bored yet? Yes we were.
The second half had to improve and it did. We showed far more but not enough. We had lots of the ball without doing a great deal and, despite hitting the bar, never really looked like a goal would come. The keeper obviously had a good game as they always do but our attacks were predictable and cumbersome. No spark, no RVP. No key, no Cesc.
Throughout the afternoon I was struck by how ordinary we looked. There was no slick passing, movement or pace. This team without Cesc, RVP, Theo, ADSB17 and Vermaelen is ordinary. That's quite a list of quality to be missing and take the equivalent players out of any team and they would struggle too. Maybe we are expecting too much from those that are left. Maybe they are not up to it. The fact is they have to be if this season isn't going the way of so many before. Was it the missing 'stars' or did they have both eyes on the big game on Tuesday. I hope not because that's unforgivable. To cock up today because there is a game they would rather concentrate on would be hard to swallow. If that is the case then they had better go through on Tuesday. They shouldn't be tired as they gave nothing today. My son even suggested a chant of 'You don't even need a shower!'
I apologise for the depression but I've seen this all before. The 'bottling' has begun. Smash the bloody bottle and wake up. You are so close to greatness. Stop running from it. Grasp it, concentrate and things can be achieved. My belief in this team is wearing thin. How a team that's lost a two goal lead to spuds at home to lose, a 4 goal lead at Newcastle to draw, lost at home to Newcastle and WBA can still be in with a shout of the league says a lot about the quality of the team above us. Today was another 'one of those day' that was have too often.
So on to Barcelona and Manchester. It's going to be quite a week. Two important games but probably not as important as today. They need to snap out of this and put us miserable bastards in our place. I'd happily go there if it meant the Premier League was the prize.
Up The Gunners!