With only a few days to go before The Big One we could do worse than remember the words of 19th Century Spanish midfielder George Santayana – “those who do not remember the past will end up in the Europa League”.
Almost exactly one year on from the shocker at the Emirates that seemed to trigger the end of Harry’s New Order even before it had begun we once more find the levels of hype and optimism staring down at those of substance and caution the same way that Andy Carroll’s goal tally towers over his IQ.
Scott Parker’s perfectly reasonable suggestion that the Gooners would’ve been disappointed with our late winner on Monday night (I was a bit miffed that Villa didn’t hold on for another few minutes on Saturday after all) has been twisted and exaggerated by the headline writers so we see his out of context quotes alongside Bale v Walcott comparisons, lists of players who would get into the other’s side, and more quotes and articles from those who should know better, most of which appear to be designed to make the world think that there’s no point in Arsenal’s coach driver even getting the sat nav out to find directions to N17 from Woolwich.
The truth is different from that. Arsenal aren’t as bad as they’re currently being portrayed and we’re not as good. They do have an error prone keeper, a jittery defence and a manager with a spoof tactics manual but they have some talented midfielders and plenty of goalscoring potential, if I was Walcott in particular I’d be licking my lips thinking about how square our defence was on Monday. We’re on a great run, Bale is turning everything to gold and AVB is getting the best from the squad but we have our well-publicised striker issues and an unsettled defence.
We’re deservedly ahead of them in the league and will still be so on Monday morning no matter what. Sunday will be tough game. It’s not a done deal and a draw wouldn’t be a terrible result. The Mind The Gap t-shirts, along with all signs of complacency, need to stay where they are, in the bottom drawer, for the moment. If you’re going to wear anything with an in vogue slogan on it, try ‘Calm Down and…. well, just calm down’.
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