For A Football Free Weekend, This One’s Quite Important…


Saturday comes around so quickly, today’s match…oh. Defeat at the hands of Blackburn and Everton’s selfishness in ending Oldham’s FA Cup adventure, combined to leave Arsenal with a ten day gap to fill. Not for them a trip to the Middle East with all the delightful charm of the mischievous press pack, Arsène preferring instead to reward his players with a daily jaunt into the Hertfordshire countryside. Beats running up and down the terraces at Highbury, I suppose. On the subject of that grand old stadium, on this day in 1935, Arsenal’s record crowd saw a goalless draw with Sunderland, more of which here. I know some will say the record attendance came in the Champions League match against Lens but that was at Wembley. That was no more an Arsenal home game than the 1993 FA Cup Final which saw Arsenal designated as home team and an attendance of 79,347, some six thousand more than the European match.

This weekend is one for watching from the sidelines, knowing that a Liverpool victory tomorrow can be the trigger for a Tottenham collapse and see the deficit remain at seven points with a game in hand. The opposite outcome would, I think, put them out of reach for this season. Ten points is too much of a gap to close at this stage, even with their matches at Chelsea and Manchester City. In any case, their failures rely on Arsenal taking advantage with good form, displaying consistency which has previously eluded them thus far. An extraordinarily unlikely progression to the Champions League would be the catalyst for that happening, this season is likely to be the Tottenham equivalent of winning the title, finishing above Arsenal for the first time in the best part of two decades. Chelsea by contrast, are flying below the radar and have a run-in that would normally be considered easier than Arsenal’s. Their biggest barrier to a place in the top four seems to be Rafa Benitez and his ongoing battles with players and fans alike.

Carl Jenkinson understands the hopes (and disappointments of supporters) and still believes that the collapses will be taken advantage of,

There are two teams to chase and I don’t think we can get too caught up in how they’re doing. If we go on a good run now, we’ll finish in the top four. I’m sure of that. If you look at Tottenham’s run in, it’s quite difficult. They’ve got some difficult games so we’re going to hope that they drop points.

If we focus on what we’ve got to do, I think it will take care of itself.

There’s a lot of if’s in this game and to be honest, it is impossible to be certain that the squad will take advantage. If they do, it will be some miracle and offers strength to both sides of the argument on their abilities. Those who passionately believe in them will offer a top four finish of how the strength shone through in the end and that next season they will kick on. The opposite argument questions why they have not displayed this form before. It isn’t hard to see how it will go back and forth or third or fifth.

The reality is that the players have to forget where they are, play with the dreaded handbrake off. Accept that the pressure is coming from below and win their games. Jenkinson is looking for the optimistic solution, the one that feeds hope. The sense is though, that Arsenal have not coped with pressure well this season; when pressure moments have come, the outcomes have been hit and miss. For every Liverpool and Tottenham, there is a Tottenham and Chelsea. For this reason, predicting where the team will finish is impossible. Fifth is what they have, anything more is a bonus, anything less almost doesn’t bear thinking about.

In those circumstances, if the players know they have given their best over the remainder of the season, that is all which can now be expected of them.

’til Tomorrow.

26 thoughts on “For A Football Free Weekend, This One’s Quite Important…

  1. A much better morning in as much as we should now save the test.

    Jenks is stating the obvious really. Last Sunday`s result means we can`t afford any more slip ups so any inconsistency & we can forget top four.

    The Bayern game could be vital in that run in. A good performance & result would do wonders for confidence.

  2. Loved the Sunderland match reports – particularly from “Our Association Football Correspondent”

  3. “Drake behaved with all the courage of a bull let loose, not in a china shop, but against a brick wall…..”

    I like it

  4. The extra tv income should mean that we don’t have to sell players to turn a profit. Domestic tv money isn’t shared out equally, just the international tv rights.

    Moreover, since we aim to compete in Europe, extra TV money in the PL helps us vis a vis clubs in other top leagues to attract players.

  5. Same old gooners, wallowing in your own self importance. The only problem is that your assumption that things will carry on as before and Tottenham will implode like last year and you will finish 4th like last year. Well a few facts, this time last year we had lost our 3rd game in a row after losing 5-2 to you. This time around we have beaten you and are on a run of 12 PL games in a row without defeat, our best so far. Our form is superb, our morale is superb, and we have the most talked about player in the PL paving the way to CL qualification. Win lose or draw against Liverpool (I think it will be a draw) it will not be the start of a collapse as we made of sterner stuff this time around. And to be honest, even if we did lose to Liverpool, parity will be restored the following weekend as you will be taught a footballing lesson by Swansea as your soul will be destroyed by the hammering you bet by Bayern.
    P.S. finishing above you isn’t even the issue anymore (just a bonus). We want to be above Chelski and Citeh too.

  6. That’s also continuing the discussion this morning on yesterday’s post.

    Excellent write up today, YW. I wish we had some football–especially an FA cup tie this weekend. I watched Spuds v. Inter for a few minutes and was entertained by the regular spectacle of a Bale dive. This weekend, I’d much rather see them drop points, though I think Chelsea are our more likely targets. Since we don’t get to play, it’s hard to be like Jenks and only focus on Arsenal’s matches at this point in our season.

    I’m looking at Bayern away as a chance to put in a good performance so we can build momentum in our league run-in. If something miraculous happens, wonderful. But at least we could eliminate defensive frailties, work on our passing and pressing in midfield and try to create better chances for forwards to finish– getting back to the basics of Arsenal football. So I expect to see our first 11, whoever that is these days playing to get ready for Swansea.

  7. If I were in London, I think I’d go to see the under 19’s v. CSKA in the NextGen tournament. It’s Arsenal football!

  8. “There’s a lot of if’s in this game and to be honest, it is impossible to be certain that the squad will take advantage”

    And therein lies the problem. If the season so far is anything to go by, we simply don’t have the consistency necessary.

  9. Good to see WUMs with nothing better to do than go on forums for fans of opposing clubs. I imagine there are also a few small minded little Arsenal monkeys who hunt down Spurs websites so they can try to start arguments with Spurs fans. A pointless exercise for those with nothing better to do.

  10. Deserved half time lead at Goodison – hard to believe everton will out in another 45 like that

  11. Fantastic post yogi.

    Hope we get back to 4th. Agree with limestone that Chelsea are the team we are most likely to overhaul. No matter what place we finish this season I really hope that this was a wake up call for our decision makers. If we do make it back to 4th it will only paper over the cracks.

  12. Spurs are on a roll and if we are to overtake Tottenham Liverpool has to win. Spurs haven’t beat Man U and tied them so they are focused on winning. Tottenham has a mission. We need to play the same way. the rest will do us good to get ready to shock the world when we take it to Bayern Munich. Fourth is the goal but it is always one match at at time. Check bobby gee word press and bobby gee defutebol

  13. Mel, Spuds fans have been waiting for 16 years to have the confidence to come here with that sort of bravura. Yet they can’t be sure it won’t all end in disaster again. Even if they finish above us, do they realistically think they will be a dominant force and turn te tables fr more than a season or two? Amazing what short memories they have!

  14. Don’t fret, Gio. Bale is gonna take his terrific diving record to Madrid or Manchester soon and you lot will be right back to square one. Enjoy it while it lasts pal.


    Not sure how accurate the above link is, but I thought there were some interesting things to draw from it:

    Santi is now our most expensive purchase (replacing Nazri) at £20m. Is that right? I know all these things are undisclosed, but I hadn’t thought he cost that much.

    Our highest net outlay in a season was about £16.5m even in the years when AW was building (and rebuilding) the squad.

    In the last two seasons we have shelled out around £52m per season on purchases which has largely been offset by sales. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the summer because we don’t have the players to sell who will cover such expenditure this summer unless we sell some of the real crown jewels (Wilshere, Cazorla, Podolski). We may have a number of players who are nowhere near the first team squad who are likely to go, but we have found it difficult to sell them on so even a wholesale reduction in numbers in unlikely to net us much cash. If the club does invest in the three or four more players most of us think we need, this summer would be the biggest net spending window the club has ever seen. Which kind of makes me doubt we will bring in all of those players unless we are going bargain hunting again (we have already been linked with one free transfer). And is Sagna does go we have to add another right back to that list who can be part of the first team squad immediately, even if he is just going to be cover for Jenks.

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