Last night I dreamt that Arsenal’s manager was an evil clown, in full make up, who had a cutlass for a hand and none of the people in the press conference would ask him any questions for fear that he’d behead them. This enraged him more than being asked a question he didn’t like, so he went on a frenzy, chopping and slicing and all kinds of stuff.
The story never even made the papers. This was considered acceptable behaviour. I love when my dreams take me to magical wonderlands.
So, the situation in the Premier League is interesting. Chelsea, having been beaten at the weekend, are now well and truly involved in the scrap for the top four. They’re just 1 point ahead of Sp*rs who are just 1 point ahead of us. However, they have a game in hand which they play tonight against West Ham.
It’s hard not to look at tonight’s fixture and hope that this was the reason that Marouane Chamakh was born/signed by Arsenal. It’s fair to say things didn’t work out for him at Arsenal, for a number of reasons, but when it came to scoring goals he was a Morrocan’t. Despite the fact we only have one striker he was shipped out on loan during the January window where, to be fair to him, he’s shown that he’s at least consistent by maintaining his goalscoring record at Upton Park.
Yet football being football, it’s all set up for him to score a late winner and put us in a position where we can actually go above them if we beat them next weekend. I realise that this is about as likely as us existing in that wonderful place where football managers are free to dismember and maim the press corps for any reason they see fit, but you’ve got to have a bit of hope, don’t you?
We were quite happy to say So Long, Marouane, so you do wonder how inclined he’d be to do us any kind of favour. This is a man who is friends with Samir Nasri after all, I think that calls into questions a lot about him, but maybe for tonight he’ll find the spark and show some of the form which made us hope for a few months that we hadn’t signed a club-footed goon with illegal hair. And some West Ham blogger will get to use the timeless ‘CHAMAKHATTACK’ headline that is, let’s face it, the best thing about him.
All the same, it does feel a bit surprising that things are so close. As we have wallowed in our misery it’s kind of escaped our notice that there’s now a 5 point gap to Everton and the closeness of things between ourselves and the other two is quite striking. Although it’s far from the position we’d really like to have been in at this point of the season, sport requires that you adjust your expectations and sights as seasons progress and here we are.
Chelsea have a manager who isn’t a dead man walking, he’s already dead. Zombie Benitez will be somewhere else next season and that may well have an effect on how much the players there are willing to give him. As for Sp*rs, they look better than they have done in recent years, but we know that as a club they’re on perpetual thin ice. One crack and all of a sudden they’re up to their gonads in icy-water and screaming for mummy. It’s up to us to put that pressure on them and see what happens.
We have a full week to prepare, no interruptions, no lulls or distractions of any kind, and the manager needs to get his team fully focused for the remaining weeks of the season. And while it’s something we’ve spoken about before, it’s interesting to hear Mikel Arteta to specifically reference Villa’s goal on Saturday when talking about how we need to cut out mistakes from our game:
When they equalised, I could not believe it. They did not even go through the middle of the park in the second half. The first time they did, on the break from our corner, they scored a goal.
It seems to happen. For every small detail, the other teams are taking advantage and it’s costing us a lot of points.
He’s keen to stress the point that there’s a collective responsibility and nobody is trying to apportion blame (regardless of how that may be viewed it really is the only way for a team to operate properly), but like so many of the goals we’ve conceded this season, it was ultimately an individual error. Perhaps we should have dealt with the break a bit better but they did have an overlap. In the end it was a shot that Szczesny should have saved, and I’m sure if you asked him about it he’d hold his hands up and admit that.
If we are to complete the task ahead of us – finishing in the top four, at least – then it’s time we really stopped gifting the opposition goals. It’s little wonder that we’ve been unable to build up any real momentum in terms of the league when so many of the games which knock us off stride have been down our own self-destructive ways rather than the quality of the opposition. Hopefully, in the last 12 games, we can get rid of that streak and point the destruction outwards. That would be jolly pleasant.
Right, fingers crossed that the minging Walrus can do something good against that lot tonight. It would make Sunday very interesting indeed.