It has been a tough 48 hours since we were left lying in the gutter by that steaming turd of a performance.
Wallowing in S H one T is no fun, even though people on some Arsenal blogs seem to have been enjoying it.
But as I recline, idly watching the floaters* drift by, I have decided to heed the words of Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
He may have been a bit light in the loafers, but Wilde was a very wise Irishman (I apologise for the unfortunate nature of his first name in the current circumstances).
It took a while to see the stars but they are still there, twinkling through the dark, offering a little hope.
There is nothing to be said about our capitulation at Chav Central that has not been said. We were pants. Pants with skiddies.
There was a predictable deluge of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the weekend (I know – I contributed to it) but it has gone too far. It’s time to step back now.
There are serious questions about our ability to cope with high pressure away games in the Premier League but they have been allowed to overshadow a lot of good things that have gone on this season.
I’m not trying to be blasé: those questions will need to addressed very seriously in the summer. But we are still having a good season – a better one, in fact, than we have had for many years.
The defeats at Anfield and at the Chavs hurt like taking a cheese grater to your cojones, but let’s remember some other results this season:
Three victories over the N17 swampies.
Drawing at the home of the European champions.
Thrashing Everton 4-1 in the cup.
Two victories over Liverpool.
Winning in Dortmund.
We have topped the table for many weeks, qualified from the Champions League “group of death” and generally confounded the usual critics and pundits who didn’t even have us making the Europa League spot.
This team may have schizophrenic tendencies but it is still more Jekyll than Hyde.
I am delighted that Arsene Wenger is not doing his scheduled press conference today in advance of the Swansea game. Following his non-show at the presser after the Chav game it shows the whole team and management have gone into lock-down mode.
I’m sure serious words are being had and harsh truths are being spoken (“Gibbs, why did you decide to play left wing?” “Chamberlain, what were you thinking of? You’re not even Polish!” “Bendtner – why? Just why?”).
This group of players has shown itself capable of bonding in the face of adversity before now: the run-in at the end of last season; beating Liverpool in the cup just a week after the Anfield thrashing; those away performances in Germany – all these can be put as counter-weights to the negativity from Saturday.
I have a strong feeling we will now go on to remain unbeaten for the rest of the season.
I don’t mean we will play brilliantly. I foresee quite a few draws – including when we entertain the Manchester Oilers. Other results, even against supposedly “easy” teams will be ground out and hard fought for. I don’t expect to see much free-flowing Wengerball.
We won’t win the league but, naturally, if we remain unbeaten it will mean we end our trophy drought by winning the F. A. Cup.
Watching Thomas Vermaelen climb the steps at Wembley to lift the Cup (after his five minute cameo appearance), our hearts will be filled with joy. We will not have forgotten days like Saturday’s, but the pain will have eased and we’ll be able to recognise some of the opportunities that lie ahead, not just the pitfalls.
I know some readers will call me an idiot for my optimism. Some may be the same people who told me I was an idiot for saying – during the clamour for us to sign Marouane Fellaini last summer – that Ramsey was a much better player
Of course I could be wrong on this one, but I am expecting something impressive from our players and coaches from here on in. They know they owe it to us and to themselves.
If I was Swansea I would be worried, because we are a badly wounded animal and we are in a corner.
- sadly I’m not referring to the 1970s Detroit R ‘n’ B combo who gave us the memorable ditty, “Float On.”