Sunday 19 March 2017

4th Place Is Not A Trophy

I was given an extraordinarily personal kick in the stomach early Saturday morning. Six hours later a follow up kick in the teeth was delivered by Tony Pulis & his West Brom Team. Arsenal lost and for the first time this season, I believe my team’s chance of a Top 4 place is in the balance.

This season promised so much at some stage. We went out into the transfer market and spent good money for good players. Although the season started poorly with the loss to Liverpool and the draw with Leicester, we were able to quickly redress this set back and climb up the table. Our overall group stage Champions League performances were different this season and further pointed to good things ahead.

There were worrying signs, the draws with Middleborough, Spuds, the away matches at the Parc Des Prince in Paris & the one with Ludogrets in Bulgaria but we were still in a good place.

Things started taking a turn for the worse with the back-to-back defeats to Everton & Man City. They followed a sort of pattern with our historical performance in the winter months.

As we accumulated one poor performance after another, my expectation of a title challenge ebbed. I was expecting a tough but achievable Top 4 position. It appears this is drifting away too.

Guess what. QUE SERA SERA.

I haven’t given up hope of a Top 3 finish or celebrating St Totteringham’s Day this season. Both can still happen and I hope they do. Anything can also happen. What will be, will be.

Was yesterday’s loss spectacular. Not really. Arsenal lost there last season even with our maestro Santi Carzola. So if you take it as a one off, the West Brom loss is not a big issue.

The big issue is in the context of our overall season. We have lost too many matches this season – Everton, Man City, Watford, Chelsea, Liverpool & now West Brom. I believe conventional wisdom suggests that no team can lose 5 matches and still win the Premier League. So our 6th lost is indeed a kick in the teeth.

I watched the West Brom match on a dodgy stream and at 1 – 1 and 2 – 1 we were very much in the match. My stream went down and I then noticed when it was about to come on that we were now 3 – 1 down.

I dressed up and went for a 4-hour walk. I did not resolve to curse the squad or the manager because I have a life. It’s a football match. Yes the result is painful but there is another chance to make things right next week or next season. Nobody died and the trial for the latest drug that will solve the problem of humanity did not just fail.

It appears while some have been complaining about Arsenal remaining in one place and not progressing, it turns out they were moaning about the wrong thing.

While writing this, I came across this article -  about appreciation. Worth reading I dare say.

On the issue of appreciation, some of my fellow Arsenal fans are the definition of unappreciative. 4th place is not a trophy. 4th place is nothing. We are stagnating in 4th place. Yet we see Liverpool bursting a gut to get this nothing 4th place. We see Man U spending billions of pounds to achieve 4th place, Totteringham are forever grateful to be Top 4, this same Top 4 that some Arsenal fans disdain. I am happy for those unappreciative ones as they are about to lose it.

Guess what the new refrain will be if Arsenal and Arsene don’t make Top 4? You guess right, he should go because he can’t make Top 4. The same Top 4 that is not a trophy. The same Top 4 that is nothing.

Personally, I hope Kroenke and the Arsenal Board are men of steel and are bold enough to renew Wenger’s contract on a 2 years or yearly rolling basis. Tell the unappreciative fans to take a back seat and come back in 3 or 4 years when Wenger retires.