Morning all, today starts with a mild *boilk* but it’s not my fault. It’s all the fault of The Man from East Lower who has left his comfortable surrounds and is in Dublin instead and insisted that I drink beer with him.
“No,” I said, “I am an abstemious man who rarely partakes of the demon drink, especially around this most holy of times.”
“Ah go on,” he said.
“Ok. You’ve talked me into it.”
Dublin was particularly busy last night due to everyone being in a panic because today you can’t get a drink anywhere. Pubs are closed, the only day apart from Christmas day that this happens, and none of us have three pounds of dinner in our bellies to distract us. You can get drink on trains though, but I’m not that desperate that I’d take a two hour trip to Cork and back just for a few cans. No, I’m not. Definitely not.
Anyway, on to matters Arsenal and after a week that’s been as quiet as we’ve known, especially coming up to a game as big as Man City on Sunday, there’s a veritable glut of stuff going on this morning, with Arsene Wenger pinpointing the Sp*rs game as the one that turned the season around, saying:
I believe we turned a corner that day. I believe that game also helped to heal some bruises with the fans. The relationship between the team and the fans is always created by results and the results in the derby even more so, because it is linked with pride.
Fans want to see the players fight and on the day, that is what they did.
And while that all makes sense to me, what about QPR? What happened to the fight that day? According to Arsene it was just a blip:
We are very confident that this was just an accident. Overall the performances we have had recently and the spirit we have shown will allow us to restart in a very positive way to win our next game.
And I get that too but this is the kind of accident we keep having. When I was a kid we used to have a brain damaged West Highland White (he got all kinds of sick as a puppy and was on the verge of being put to sleep when all of a sudden he recovered). Anyway, every single time he came from the back garden into the house he would run underneath the kitchen table, forgetting the wooden bar underneath the table which was head height for a dog of his size.
In he would come, eager to run about the house then piss on the rug and, *clonk*, he’d smash his head off the bottom part of the table. Every single time. We’re a bit like a brain damaged dog because we keep having the same accident. We get ourselves back on track then we come scampering into the house super-confident, forget the wooden beam of self-satisfaction and end up rubbing our swollen noggin going ‘Oh yeah’.
Anyway, the only way to prove that it was an accident, I guess, is to go out and perform on Sunday and Arsene is looking for all three points:
Both teams are in the same situation – a draw is not good enough. I say on our side it is a ‘want-win’ game more than a must-win game. We love victory and we want to win. On the table side of course you want these three points.
Man City are in a situation where they will have to win.
That City could be 8 points behind United by the time we kick off could energise and focus them, or it could heap the pressure on them even more and at the moment they don’t seem to be coping particularly well with it. The game at the Middle Eastlands was tight, I don’t think we deserved to lose, so if we play to our potential I think this is a game we can take three points from. However, any lapses of concentration like the ones against QPR and they have more than enough players to really punish us.
We can look more at that game over the next couple of days, and the last week should have been a sharp reminder to everyone – players and fans – that this season is far from over and there’s still a lot of football to be played before we can relax.
Which is one of the main themes in this week’s Arsecast discussion and joining me to bash that one over the head are Tim Clark from Arse2Mouse and the lusciously bearded Gareth Parker. Also in there some QPR guff, a look ahead to City, your chance to win a set of 3 prints from the shop, and the usual bits and pieces of waffle and flummery.
You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here (23mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.
So, we’ll have Arsene’s press conference later on, maybe we’ll get more on why we keep smashing our head off the kitchen table, and what’s planned for Sunday. Updates on that over on Arseblog News throughout the day.
Until then have a good Friday. Yeah, I know.