The return from the international break worked out well in the end. Fourth place after a flurry of matches isn’t a bad result at all. In fact, it’s a good one and sets us up nicely for the trip to Goodison Park.
No team, I read, has scored more goals against one side in Premier League history than Arsenal against Everton. Positive noises until you remember that most people are worried about the defence.
I don’t know where that problem is solved either, particularly away from home where we haven’t registered a clean sheet all season. That’s with every defensive combination under the sun as well, both good and bad, with the ugly always lurking.
However, it’s the match to look forward to and one which gives us the chance to leapfrog Tottenham into third place and that’s as far ahead as we should look. Before Watford, Wolves and everyone else, there is the visit of Napoli to overcome.
That’s A lot of football ahead. As was pointed out earlier this week, the team which overwhelmed United hasn’t started any away game. That, in part, explains why Aubameyang hasn’t scored since the win at Brighton. Missed penalties don’t help either.
Our cause may be helped by Burnley facing Cardiff in nine days. The likelihood of the Clarets being involved in a relegation fight could all be extinguished if they win that clash. Not that they will try any less harder, just that with the pressure off, etc.
It’s building up to be a pressure cooker on the final day. The top four could see four teams fighting for two places with European trophies playing their part.
Insecurities and Disbeliefs
The Europa League is irrelevant to the top four race. The winner is an additional place in the Champions League for a country. The fly in the ointment of United or Spurs winning the CL but really? I can’t see either getting past their next opponents.
But to some this is the nightmare scenario, more so with United. Tottenham’s chances are dismissed out of hand, which is weird because of the manner of City’s capitulation to Liverpool last season. Lightning, it seems, doesn’t strike in the same place, we think.
It’s twilight zone some have entered. This was never clearer than after the recent results. Spurs cocked it up at the weekend, we laughed then got down to the serious business of wondering whether we’d win. All well and good; life is how it’s supposed to be.
We won, then prayed for United to turn in a turgid performance and lose, which they did. Instead of howls of derision, suddenly insecurities surfaced. “Oooh, Wolves. We’ve gotta go there. We’re gonna lose; they are invincible!”
There was a step in the process which went missing and sapped the living joy of Ole’s wheel buckling. Come on, this is part and parcel of the squad being involved; enjoy it! I know it is the “race for fourth” against which we railed.
That, however, was the numbing predictability that we accepted fourth as our lot and killed ambition in the process. Now, there is a new enthusiasm in its place. A sense that we are moving upward once again, or at least willing to give it a go.
Our away form is hit and miss which is blogger code for a bit crap. We need the answers this month with four away games. However, one thing I know is watching Arsenal is fun again.