It’s NLD time and in truth, it could’ve come at a better time.

Two defeats in a week, and probably worse, two pretty average performances. In the same period the Gooners have recorded two comfortable home wins scoring seven and conceding one in the process.

Let’s hope the old adage about the formbook being thrown out the window in these games has a grain of truth to it because not many of our players are performing at their best currently. We’ve rarely been at our most wonderful all season of course, Chelsea at home, Everton away, Bournemouth at home, the second half against Dortmund and in the Nou Camp? Other than that, I’m struggling.

We’ve been raking in the points though, eking out wins where they didn’t appear likely or possible. We’ve all been aware of our weaknesses all season – the lack of preseason, the seemingly ever-present injuries, the lack of quality in certain positions, Hugo’s new-found erraticism – but others didn’t seem to know about them. They do now.

It’s as though we’ve been lying naked in a full bath since August but a slow leak means that our vulnerabilities and soft underbelly are being exposed for all to gaze on.

A thousand tantrums were launched as Trippier carefully nudged the ball past Hugo on Wednesday night. Those who threw their virtual toys out of their virtual prams should of course, remember the bigger picture man. No preseason, no home ground, constant injuries, no new blood, Winks and Sissoko playing every sodding game,the media constantly trying to sell our best players for us, two of the biggest clubs in the world after our manager… a blip or two (or three) is hardly surprising. Yet third place is still in our hands and we’re planning to defend a three-goal lead which will take us in to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

They’ll come full of hope and in Ramsey, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan they have players who have historically hurt us. As well though they have a defence that is screaming to Son, Lucas and Sissoko: “Come and do me for pace. Again! Again! I love it! More!”.

I suspect it’s how often and how clinically we can do this that will tip this particular see saw of a game, a game that may be, you never know, our last home league match at Wembley ever!! Now if that doesn’t cheer people up, nothing will.

Come on the Undrawables! Chin up, chest out. Let’s do ‘em!

Anthony Taylor is the man with the cards.



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