Arsenal Anguish Turns To Opportunity

Two games against opponents from the North East in recent weeks have yielded two disappointing draws yet by the end of each weekend we’ve ended up closer to the top than we started. After Saturday’s game were disappointed and frustrated, but certainly not pulling our hair out. Aside from the fact that Arsenal didn’t actually play too badly, we held the belief that Liverpool would take something from United.

On Saturday night I watched Match of The Day expecting to relive the lack of cutting edge that saw us fail to break down a resolute Sunderland. What I saw actually improved my outlook. We were slow to start, and admittedly could have ended up losing 1-0 after Wellbeck was denied by a great save from Szczesny. That said, when the pressure was on we had an onside goal ruled out, hit the bar and had a stone wall penalty waved away. Ok, we should have made sure but these things happen. These things being incompetent referees.

Talking of incompetent referees, Phil Dowd – Newcastle United’s honorary 12th man – confirmed what Arsenal fans already knew. He’s simply not good enough. First Jamie Carragher recklessly and brutally leaves a deep gash on Nani’s shin yet Liverpool retain 11 men. Later, Rafael launches two-footed into Lucas and similarly gets away with it. Quite what Dowd thought he was doing by allowing both sides to push, shove and remonstrate whilst he stood with his arms folded 20 yards away, I don’t know?

One good thing to come from the melee was Suarez’s subtle little tug of twinboy’s hair. One for the connoisseur of South American Football’s dark arts that, not immediately obvious but exceptionally well executed. Well done that man.

A recurring theme of Arsenal comment this season seems to be that our chance has finally arrived; it’s ours for the taking etc. I’ll refrain from that now, just to add, seeing United comprehensively outplayed for a match and a half, drop six points and appear to have absolutely no answer in either situation, should fill our players with more self belief than they would’ve gained from three points at Sunderland. United are no longer the formidable unit they once were and if we don’t win the league from here, we only have ourselves to blame.

In other news…

Apparently there’s a game tomorrow night? Jack Wilshere has suggested Arsenal will go and attack. Not that we really have the inclination, fortitude or personnel to do anything other than that.

“We do not want to go to Barcelona looking for a draw. It will be an open game and we will create chances. We are looking to score and then see what happens.”

Joking aside, news that Puyol will not make it, added to the absence of Pique, there is definitely a goal or two in this for the Gunners. It almost goes without saying that Barca will find the back of our net, but if we defend like we did at home we might restrict them and be able to get a goal or two that would see us through. Barca only managed to sneak a 1-0 at home to Real Zaragoza this weekend so, whilst we all know they are a fantastic outfit, signs are there that they aren’t the irresistible force we feared before we met them a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, forget Tuesday night. You’ve got plenty of time to bite your nails tomorrow. Keep The Faith. In Wenger we trust.