It's Not The Spurs Defeat That Hurts, It's Arsenal Fans Total Lack Of Surprise
If there's any one feeling which hangs heavier than the rest in the wake of yesterday's loss at White Hart Lane, it's a total feeling of non-shock. Disappointment is there or thereabouts, but it's just impossible to be very surprised about it. Not that a defeat was to be expected, but that the manner of it can hardly stun many.
Fans the world over are at home with bemoaning their own club's deference; their inability to keep followers from being put through the mill. But to throw a spanner in their own carefully constructed works is very much this Arsenal's speciality. It sees us Gooners currently at one with predicting nothing but unpredictability, and a season of oddity and inconsistent performances sees us in a very real battle to finish in the top four.
Unpredictability. How else to explain away a season that has seen us score five and seven against Premier League opposition while being dumped from both domestic cups by lower league opposition? How else to explain that despite holding two thirds of the possession against Spurs, we came away with only one of the three goals? How else to explain that we lack a clinical nature that our North London rivals seem to have borrowed? And how else to explain that despite so rarely playing a high line this season, we should choose to do so in a game of high importance only for it to fail spectacularly?
These are odd times. And not just because the “balance of power has shifted” or whatever line it is that broadcast media likes to tow. Take the North London Derby filter off and still this squad keeps finding good chances to move the season forward, only to take equally good chances to brutally derail it. Honestly, Arsenal feel like a gold miner who marks heavily laden seams for future trips, only to spill a celebratory drink and use the map as a towel.
I appreciate none of this is a very in-depth analysis, but perhaps you'll forgive me. After all, in my post at the end of January I suggested we needed a defender. We bought one. While watching us trail at the Lane – in no small part due to that very defender attempting to play one Gareth 'cheatcode' Bale offside – a friend remarked to me, “what is it this Arsenal team lacks in terms of players?”
I suggested a world class defender. But the newly acquired Monreal is an International, as are Vermaelen, Mertesacker and Koscielny for their respective nations. I've suggested above that we're not clinical enough, and here that our defence needs work, and yet we've both scored more and conceded less goals this season than Spurs...who now sit two places above us.
So what now? Well we can hope that this most bizarre of seasons ends a truly odd period for the club, and that somehow some way we manage, again, to qualify for the Champions League. Do we deserve it? Currently not, and that's why we're fifth in the league. But the boys in red are the only ones who can put that right. A steady stream of results, a bit of consistency and who knows what might happen?
I do, anything and everything most likely. But working hard and putting up a fight sure as heck can't hurt.