Let’s have some context here Gooners
I’ve been watching events unfold over the past few weeks with dismay, frustrated that even as Aston Villa have slipped up, Arsenal have been unable to capitalise.
Last night’s result told us nothing more than that Andrey Arshavin is a class act who will become a fantastic player for us with an eye for a pass, quick feet and a great shot on him.
Other than that? Well, Nic Bendtner and Alex Song had good games, which tells you all that you need to know about West Brom.
Let’s just hope the Baggies provide enough pitch time for Jay Simpson to get a few goals and get used to the Premiership before coming back to North London next season a capable member of the squad.
When he played in the Carling Cup, despite his two goals, I feared Arsène Wenger didn’t rate him and I wasn’t sure myself that he had what it takes to be a regular Arsenal forward.
I’ve revised that view now and I think that, given the chance and some creative support, he could well prove to be a new star.
Back to the immediate concerns, and it’s just our luck that both Craig Bellamy and Robinho are missing tonight when Citeh take on Villa. Let’s hope, somehow, that they manage to take something from the game so we close the gap once and for all.
But spare a thought for one of the biggest teams in Europe right now and put our situation in context...
AC Milan had a difficult season by their standards last year, missing out on the Champions League.
Carlo Ancelotti, despite Milan’s demands for success and Italy’s usual impatience with coaches, was not sacked him and instead the Rossoneri sought to bounce back.
None of the big players left, though they have the pedigree of being a massive club with huge ambitions and a handful of Champions League trophies in their cabinet.
When they were looking for a centre-back last season, they could not find one available of the right age and experience and ended up taking our own Phil Senderos.
Needless to say, he hasn’t really impressed, but the fact that a defence which has previously proved to be impregnable with the likes of Franco Baresi, Mauro Tassotti and Alessandro Costacurta says it all about the dearth of decent defenders.
Interestingly, Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi, not always the diplomat, brushed off defeat at the weekend by reminding fans that an entire team of Milan players is on the treatment table, including Kaka. Their chances of Champions League qualification are again in the balance.
In much the same way, Wenger has had to cope with a season which has been littered with trouble and strife and injuries. No manager could conceive that he would lose almost all his attacking talents at the same time.
I’m as frustrated as the rest of us Addicts, but as my esteemed colleague said on Monday, to call for Wenger’s dismissal is beyond ludicrous.
Just as everything is not right after last night’s victory over WBA, so too is everything not a disaster.
However despondent I get, I remind myself that we’re still fifth in the Premier League and in two cup competitions. There are 88 other clubs in English professional football who would do anything to swap places with us.
We’ve had the best of times under Wenger and now we have something more indifferent. Wenger has punched us above our weight for a long time and with the credit crunch affecting Highbury Square’s sale, we need him more now than ever.
Yes, this is a work in progress and we need to step up now, but we have no divine right to win everything and I’d rather we didn’t mortgage ourselves into oblivion thank you very much.
I’ll be devastated if we don’t get to the Champions League this season, and can’t wait to get back to the winning football we’ve enjoyed in the past.
But even Alex Ferguson had blips at M*nure and not just at the beginning of his career.
Patience is the key to success and I still believe Wenger will bring us more glory before he retires.