Up For It Or Not?
Are we up for it or not? It is tough to be optimistic about the recent results and performances. Most fans previously considered our January business acceptable, but frustration is spiking again out of fear that we are going to have watch Arsenal’s title challenge slip away. We find ourselves yet again on the verge of a mid-season dip.
Our last four league matches have left us with a relegation-form account of only two points and we haven’t scored a goal in the last three! I would not consider the performances to be lackluster, but the end product and killer instinct have been letting us down. I noted that every single shot that we had against Southampton lacked pace. All the while, Leicester are top and Tottenham have a greater goal difference than us by ten! I am not necessarily a doubter of Wenger, but I am struggling to find a reason for squads with less overall quality and pedigree to be above us in the league.
At what point do the players start doubting themselves and their chances to win the league? They certainly know how close they are, or were, and I have a really difficult time believing that a league championship is not high on their list of desires. Considering that the team has this level of consciousness, I can not decide whether the fear of losing out on a title challenge would be a benefit or a detriment to their performances. The emotionally-brutalized Arsenal fan inside me calls to expect a market-like drop preceding a glorious effort to beat out third place in the table.
I am, however, clinging to the optimism that has carried me through the season. This optimism comes from the unfamiliarity that we as fans have been experiences from the actions of the manager and the style of play. We are on the cusp of the “same-old Arsenal” mantra coming into play but it hasn’t yet. For me, the next three matches against Bournemouth, Leicester, and United are the deciding factors in whether this team is up for it or not. Nine points and we will look to come down to the wire in the penultimate game of the season. Any combination including a loss to United and I will be reassessing my feelings toward the players, the manager, and the board.
As always, catch me on Twitter @GoonerInCali to let me know what you think! If you’re still feeling optimistic or that we can start grinding out results, read the post on Wenger’s favorite quote lately, “We’re Ready for a Fight.”