Rather predictably, yesterday was a huge day on the blog. Indeed, comments-wise, it was the busiest day since I started everything back in March 2007 with over 160 responses to yesterday’s post. It clearly shows the way that the manner of Arsenal’s 4-4 draw with Tottenham has gotten to a lot of people and stirred their emotions intensely.
Now, in the aftermath of the disastrous draw at Emirates Stadium, Emmanuel Adebayor has made some comments that should keep the waters bubbling. One in particular read:
“To be champions in this way? You can never be a champion. That is for sure.”
It is a concise and definitive statement from an immensely frustrated player. And while I don’t necessarily agree with Adebayor’s decision to make this comment it’s hard to argue with his point – throwing away a two-goal lead in the final minutes of a huge derby game is not the sort of things that champion teams tend to do.
Still, call me naive, but I have faith in our side’s ability to make a sustained challenge for the title. After all, we’re still only 6 points off the top of the table and the team that currently occupies that spot is not the one that I believe will be there at the end of season. With that in mind, to say that Arsenal our out of the title race is premmature and incorrect. But the team must stop having bonkers moments like this.
Adebayor went on to speak about the mentality of his side, suggesting that they switched off in the final moments, believing the game to be won:
“We feel very sorry for ourselves that things are not going the right way. It was one of the most difficult games in my life because I cannot understand that after 90 minutes we were leading 4-2 – I don’t know how we finished with a draw. With five, six or seven minutes to go, maybe in our head the game was over.”
If this is correct of the mentality in the team then it is infuriating and disappointing in equal measure. A team should never think a game is won until the final whistle goes regardless of whether they are two goals ahead or 10 goals ahead. It only takes a second to score a goal in football and the Arsenal boys have learned that the hard way.
Thankfully the boys have a chance to make up for their monumental cock-up in the game against Stoke City on Saturday. William Gallas and Emmanuel Eboue have both been ruled out of the squad meaning that Kolo Toure is likely to return to the side to partner Mikael Silvestre in defence. It’s a partnership that many Arsenal fans on this blog have been wanting to see since the start of the season and one which I think has the potential to be quite effective.
In many ways we’re lucky to have another game so soon after the Tottenham affair, and even luckier that it is Stoke. They’re hardly the best team in the league and our boys will certainly have a point to prove going into this match. In terms of other team selections, Cesc Fabregas could do with a rest while Gael Clichy and Manuel Almunia should keep their spots despite clear errors against Spurs.
It will be interesting to see how the team responds in this match. Three points is beyond an absolute must and we have to hope that the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool drop some points in their fixtures. But at the end of the day all Wenger and the team can focus on is their own game and they simply must get the win against Stoke.
Have your say on Adebayor’s statements or Arsenal v Stoke by leaving a comment.