By Jack (@swgoonerafc)
It’s an unfortunate turn of events that we we’re subjected to nigh on all of our season’s biggest fixtures over the coming period but it’s something we, as Arsenal fans should be relishing. We have the chance to prove our credentials against all of our biggest rivals domestically, in conjunction with once again challenging the current European champions once again. But what else would you want, Dnipro on a Thursday after a 20 year old episode of Piorot?
The most important asset our squad must have during this period is momentum, this must start tonight against United. Here’s why.
The Liverpool ‘performance’ or non performance was painful to watch, they played to the best of their ability, no one can say otherwise and we simply didn’t turn up. We can’t afford for this to happen again, tonight we must beat United. The fixture against United, particularly for someone of my generation has always been a barometer against which you can put the whole season into context, Overmars in ’98, Wiltord in ’02, huge wins which in every title winning season, are seen as pivotal moments.
Again at 28 many of my contemporaries are United fans, therefore to be able avenge the 8-2, banish some of the demons of the 6-1 of a decade ago should be used as fuel tonight to motivate these players to do it for the fans as well as themselves, in short and to quote another era, “I would love it if we beat them, love it”.
A win against United tonight is worth so much more than the 3 points on offer. It would build momentum and belief as there is no doubt in my mind that United still hold a psychological grip over our club. Our performance against United in November was totally out of character in the run we’d been on, sweeping aside Liverpool, winning away at Dortmund then turning up at United a meekly accepting defeat when they did little to deserve it, only a goal off the shoulder of Judas.
There’s no doubt we’re a better side than United, equally there’s no doubt Spurs are a better side than United. Why do we consistently beat Spurs? Because the players do it for the fans and believe that they’re better than any Spurs side they may wish to cobble together. This has to be our approach to tonight’s fixture, they’ve lost their fear factor, Sir Alex would always set out to win, Moyes’ approach tonight will be not to lose. I want to thump them.
That belief instilled in our squad by a convincing win against them would enable our players to break a hold over which no other team in the league has over the minds of our squad. It would put us top, it would create confidence and it would build momentum.
This momentum would be taken into the F.A Cup fixture against Liverpool, a win against United would stoke the flames which must be burning to avenge Saturday’s 5-1 humiliation. A further win at home in the cup, buoyed by jubilation from the fans would drive us into the Munich game. Under the lights, confident, a totally different animal to the one they met last year, we can beat them, shock them with our intensity, pass them off the park, we the fans must play our part. Two wins against United and Liverpool will enable both fans and players to believe we can do something against the Germans.
Anything other, nagging doubts about frailties too familiar will resurface, the media will have a field day and we’re back to picking holes in a squad which is so close to achieving something truly special, considering the financially doped goliaths we’re trading blows with.
Next into a trio of alliteration against Sunderland at home, Stoke away and Swansea at the Emirates, this takes us to March 8th. Nothing more to be said than these are must wins, further momentum can be taken from winning away at Stoke, another psychological milestone we can banish, shut the media up. Then Bayern, Spurs and Chelsea away then Man City at home before March is out.
Confidence and momentum must be taken into this, if we lost to Bayern, I can accept that, they’re phenomenal but go down with fight, there’s no shame in losing to a side like that, there’s so much pride and belief to be taken from beating them though.
There is no divine right to win any game we won’t win all these games, we must earn it, we have to ensure that any side that takes points from us over this period earns it. We were an abomination against Liverpool, but they earned it, you can’t say they didn’t, we were battered by a team that flew at us, sweeping us aside. We didn’t play because we weren’t allowed to, I hope the stories of Wenger dishing out a bollocking at half time are true, may that be extra fuel for tonight.
After the Everton game on April 5th, we do have a nice run in, we can take 15 points from our last 5 games and win the league. Chelsea and City will drop points, we seen that at Norwich and West Brom respectively. I would sacrifice both the Champion’s League and the F.A Cup to win the league, I’d like to win them all but I’m a realist, and realistically it can all start tonight against United.
A win tonight to start the ball rolling, put us back on top, drive us further in the F.A Cup, sweep into Bayern at home and then, on paper, win our easier fixtures, then go again into the second phase of this fixture schedule, then plough through them remaining games lifting a trophy. This must start against United tonight, there can be no excuses, no hand break, no little bit lacking physically in the second half, beat them and beat them well and it will allow us to prove to all the doubters, we can do this. We are Arsenal Football Club and we can do this.
COYG – JR
You can follow him on twitter : Jack (@swgoonerafc)