THIS time around, Arsenal, against their current inclination, went for it early. But yet again, the Gunners showed that they always have to make it hard on themselves.
It is just the thing we have come to expect of Arsene Wenger’s men, symptomatic of their whole season.
Against Everton at Goodison Park early Thursday morning, the Gunners dominated possession but squandered their chances in front of goal, including Robin ‘shoot-when-he-likes’ Van Persie .
Worse, they even allowed Everton to get back into the game. Their only saviour was Everton’s own wastefulness in front of goal, and a referee’s mistake.
The Gunners managed to keep their nerve though, and held on to the 1-0 scoreline (courtesy of the header from Thomas Vermaelen in the eighth minute) until the final whistle to leapfrog bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur to the coveted Number Three spot.
Still, sigh, this match showed that the Gunners have not kicked the old bad habits. And despite the gazillion times they’ve been knocked down by complacency, the lesson apparently has not been learnt.
Although they seem to have found the balance between the force and flair in their game, the Gunners have yet to find the right mix of urgency and cool efficiency.
With nine games to play and a horde of rivals, and Spurs, breathing down their neck, they had better get it fast if they are to cling on to that third spot.
Like Harry Redknapp warned, the race for Champions League qualification is far from over.
True, if 10 points can go poof just like that, what is a mere one point advantage? And if Chelsea beat the odds to win the Champions League they will grab the fourth berth, so everything is far from resolved.
Aston Villa may be an easier opponent at the Emirates tonight and Arsenal have to make sure that they grab all three points. It is against lesser teams like this that Arsenal need to keep their composure to ensure their Champions League presence.
Still, I must say that the Gunners are becoming a joy to watch – not because they are winning – but simply because they look like they are enjoying the game once again.
The spirit, mental fortitude, aggression and improved defence aside, it is obvious that they have rediscovered their appetite for the game.
- Gunners need another Spur-ring display
- Just the Spur the Gunners need
- Gunners cast Adams and Henry in stone
- Gunners out to test City’s resolve
- Go gun down the Magpies