We’re having a rotten season in many respects.
After the euphoria of the summer’s FA Cup win most of us probably thought this would be a campaign in which we showed significant improvement in the league and would be knocking on the door of top four.
Instead we flirted with relegation after a dreadful run of games before Christmas and have performed in fits and starts since then. We languish in an embarrassing 10th place at the time of writing.
But we have a Europa League semi final to look forward to and the tantalising possibility of a trophy and a route back to the top table of European football against all the odds.
And things could be worse. We could be Spurs.
Let’s just pause for a moment to enjoy the comedy brilliance that defines the efforts of our N17 neighbours.
They hire the most disruptive and provocative manager the Premier League has ever known because they are desperate to win a trophy and, despite all his faults, he is a proven winner.
Mourinho, for it is he, performs his now familiar arc. First he flatters to deceive (the Spuds sniff the air at the top of the table for a few seconds earlier this season, leading their fans to immediately get carried away with thoughts of an elusive title win amidst much talk of “years ending in a one”); Swift decline follows, with a serious drop off in performances and results; then Mourinho begins criticising his players, talk starts to seep out that he’s ‘lost the dressing room’ and the inevitable parting of the ways follows.
But, being Spurs, this final element is conducted with a whole extra layer of idiocy.
Whatever you think of Mourinho, hate him or hate him, you would – more often than not – back him to win a cup final.
So, having got to the Carabao Cup Final – their first sniff of a trophy for 13 years – what did the Clown Car Club do? They fired him, a week before the appointment at Wembley. Then they lost the Cup Final.
You’d need a heart of stone not to wet yourself laughing.
Bear in mind that since they last got some silverware, we have bagged four FA Cups and four Community Shields, all during a period that most fans look upon as having been one of underachievement!
Anyway, enough about them. It’s just nice to know that we’ll always have them there to provide a bit of schadenfreude however depressing things seem in N5.
Finally a quick word on two of our loanees – Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. They are both making valuable contributions to their new clubs (Newcastle and West Brom respectively). Willock scored Toon’s equaliser against Liverpool at the weekend (his fourth goal since starting his loan spell) and AMN earned a penalty that helped secure the Baggies a draw with Aston Villa.
I think it’s fair to say that both players were generally liked by Arsenal fans, but we weren’t exactly clamouring for them to be automatic starters every week.
Have we underestimated them? Did they not get a consistent enough run of games at Arsenal in their favoured positions? Would they feature in the first team on a regular basis if they were with us now? Should they be brought back at the season’s end, or does their good form on loan give us the chance to sell them for higher fees than they would otherwise have commanded?
What do you think?