As I hobbled towards the ground wearing a new shirt my wife described as 'not your worst' I hoped for better. I nearly didn't go. All week I've been stuck in bed then in the house as I've Diabyied my back. It's agony when I move so it's best not to. Why do we do stupid things in the name of football?
I took the disabled lift to the upper concourse and puffed to my seat. I've put the effort in. The least the boys could do is the same. For a while they fooled me. 2-0 up at home to Fulham. Very nice indeed. I looked at my son and we had that 'this is easier than it looks' look in our expressions but neither of us would admit it.
Fulham went on a rare trip up our end. We were in control of this. I looked down to tweet a tweet and there it was. An utterly pathetic bit of defending of which we are so fond crashed the party. Suddenly that confidence wobbled and there was little surprise when it then went to 2-2. Bloody hell Arsenal.
The team left the field to a non responsive crowd. The 'fans' who chose to boo Santos' name at the start were too shocked to react to the second 2-0 lead to go up in a puff of smoke in 5 days.
The second half started and I wasn't the only one sitting uncomfortably. We were back to square one and Fulham fancied it. They looked as likely to score as we did and of course they did. An awful bit of sodding about in the corner led to Arteta molesting one of them. 100% penalty that the undead buried. Somehow we had gone from 2-0 up to 3-2 down. At home. To Fulham. Yet oddly it didn't seem too surprising.
We briefly woke up. We looked urgent and finally with it. A cracking Giroud header levelled it and we were celebrating an equaliser. At home. To Fulham. After leading 2-0. Needs must. The missed penalty (or fantastically saved penalty I should say) summed it up. Had that gone in we wouldn't have deserved it. This is where we are now. We are level with Fulham. We draw with Fulham. Look at the table. Top 3 look familiar. They were our rivals once. No longer do we check their results. West Ham, Tottenham and Newcastle is who we need to worry about now. We've finally downsized into that group below teams that can actually win it. 16 points from a possible 33 is just not good enough.
This side, I'm loathed to say, are little more than average. They are hard work to watch when you've seen some of the teams of the past. My poor son has never seen us win anything (he's been going since 2006-07) but I've seen The Arsenal at their best and what's going on now breaks my heart. They are streets away from some of the teams we had at Highbury. It wasn't always perfect but we had word class players all over the place who, most importantly, would bust a gut for the club. They would dig deep and achieved the rewards. They were a pleasure to watch. I saw crowds gasp at the beauty and speed of some of the play at Highbury. That's gone.
Being a miserable old bit I guess I miss those times. We went to cup finals. We challenged the top of the league most seasons. We had hope. The whole place has changed and it pains me (today, quite literally.) The board are a massive problem. The Arsenal fans have gone. As long as the money keeps rolling in then they don't give a shit. There is nobody there that is hurt by defeat or a home draw with Fulham. Bloody Kroenke probably doesn't even know today's result. Not one of them will have a word with Arsene to say this is not good enough. Maybe if we don't finish 4th and the ground is half full as we take on Fulskinerkenstein in the wafer cup they might care. I don't know.
All I do know is we have a massive game against 'them' next Saturday and we don't look ready. 11 games in and we don't look ready.
Sorry for the misery but my back hurts and today was not good enough again. Next week has to be better.
Up the Gunners.