Writer: Brice Coffer
Date:Wednesday April 1 2009
The lack of any real exciting footy has left me bored as hell. This week and a half is dragging on and on. A international break at this junction of the season is a superfluous insult. Clubs shouldn't have to send their prized players to all corners of the world so late in the season. The traveling and extra games will only further increase a players chances of getting injured. Arsenal, alone, have already lost three players to injury (Diaby, Bendtner, van Persie) and another round of trivial fixtures are still to be played. These injuries at such a crucial point in the season could certainly affect who walks away with the honours in various competitions over the next two months. But never mind all this, Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter say the games have a purpose. I mean really, who wants to miss the exciting double fixture of France versus Lithuania?
Anyways, the lull in football over the last 10 days has given me a lot of time to think about how important our next match at the Emirates against Manchester City is. Maybe I have had too much time to think this over, but nevertheless, I have convinced myself that however Arsenal preforms Saturday against City will be indicative to how the season will finish for the Gunners. If we come out guns blazing then I think the season will end in glory, but if Arsenal fails to show up then I will start looking forward to July/August.
Momentum cannot be underestimated in the modern game. Before the break Arsenal seemed to have finally discovered their form and the team was clearly bubbling in confidence. The team's new found resoluteness was expressed by both Wenger and van Persie when they went on the record saying Arsenal was going from strength to strength. February signing Andrey Arshavin was making a big impact and pivotal players were returning. Arsenal also had turned around their fortunes in the table to where our fate is in our own hands. Not so long ago, Arsenal were on the brink of going eight points behind Aston Villa, but now Arsenal are practically four points clear of the Villains considering our superior goal difference. Ten days ago all was going in our favour, then BAM! The international break came, players left the club to go back home, and the momentum abruptly died. There cannot be many more frustrating things for a manager than losing your players just as you got the recipe right. On Saturday Arsenal need to take the bull by the horns and reclaim that spirit against a somewhat underachieving but still immensely talented Manchester City.
In football, confidence, passion, and self belief are almost as important as skill, so it is essential that we regroup on Saturday and get our swagger back. If we fail to do this then I'm afraid we won't for the rest of the season because the schedule only gets harder. On Tuesday we go to Spain for the quarterfinal versus Villarreal, then we travel to Wigan where Steve Bruce will have his 7th place squad fully ready to take down the Arsenal. I could go on, but a quick glance at our remaining fixtures tells the entire story and more. This is our only chance to turn a vastly frustrating season into a glorious one. A good preformance and a positive result against Citeh is a must.
I have said for sometime on here that I believe when Cesc, Adebayor, Eduardo, and Walcott come back to the team, Arsenal can compete with anybody and even bring home a cup. But the key variable in that equation is whether the confidence and momentum will be flowing through the team. Saturday is the day where all this begins. Hopefully our players come through on Wednesday unscathed and the injured trio aren't hurt too bad, so everyone can return to London Colney ready to tackle the business end of the season and bring back a trophy or two to Ashburton Grove.
Bring on the weekend, bring on the Citizens!
Date:Wednesday April 1 2009
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