By Avenell Dave
It’s hard to be positive on the morning after the night before.
Yesterday was one of the first times I can recall not standing or cheering when Arsenal scored. I knew it wouldn’t make any difference to the outcome, much as that smidgeon of hope yearned for the mother of all comebacks.
As I walked out of the ground yesterday, it crossed my mind that for the huge financial sacrifice, the emotional investment and the dissipating hope that seems to be an annual occurrence now, it just doesn’t seem worth it anymore.
Then I wondered if my faith in Arsène Wenger, my hope that we could confound the critics and make a real fight for the title, truly is misguided.
We all know that there are severe deficiencies and the hope has to be that Wenger knows it too.
He does not buy players, and the question all of us would like to know the answer to is whether that is down to a lack of funds and his admirable defence of the club that employs him despite huge constraints, or just a stubbornness to act on what all of us can see is wrong.
With the cost of season tickets being so high, we deserve more team investment and when the fans start to doubt how the club is run, it takes a lot of faith and love to cut through the negativity and remain loyal and steadfast in our commitment to the Gunners.
Ahead of the game, I warned that beating M*nure was never going to be as straightforward as many Addicts seemed to think it would be.
What worries me more than yesterday’s result is the fact that we simply don’t roll over our greatest rivals away from home when we beat M*nure or the CH*vs, it’s always by the odd goal in a hard-fought, level game.
It’s sobering to remember that the last four times we’ve played either side at our place, we’ve lost 1-3, 1-4, 1-3 and 1-3. It gets harder and harder to take.
As my neighbours at the ground said yesterday, we are becoming perennial bronze medallists and that seems to be enough for the hierarchy. Get into the Champions League, flatter to deceive, have a couple of memorable wins and then blow any faint chances we had at winning trophies.
We lack height, we lack strength in depth, we lack heart and we lack experience.
Now for the bad points. I’m not going to analyse the performances of Manuel Almunia, Denilson or Gael Clichy too much.
RedN*se Fergie got it spot on yesterday. Nani had a great game, but Clichy was targeted as a weak link and so it proved – involved as he was in all three goals. I’ve been saying for years that he is not as good as the hype and his performance against top class opposition said it all.
When Almunia sliced a back pass in the most amateurish fashion, a part of me hoped it would go in. The game was over and it might, just might have ended his Arsenal career. I’m ashamed to have thought that.
Denilson lacks guile, heart, pace and wit. Enough said.
If you were Cesc Fabregas, Andrey Arshavin or even RvP, how long would you put up with it before answering the call of a club who promised a more competitive squad?
We complain about a lack of height in our side, particularly upfront, but Shrek R**ney is hardly a giant is he.
I hate the guy on so many levels, but yesterday he gave a masterclass in how to play as a lone striker.
He ran everywhere, knows how to hold up the ball and must enjoy playing against Arsenal – that’s his first for Everton, his first for M*nure in the Premier League and his 100th for M*nure in all competitions all scored against the Gunners. We simply don’t know how to deal with him.
The most galling thing is that the CH*vs are getting older, M*nure are weaker than last season after losing R*nald* and Tevez and rather than strengthen and take advantage, we’ve allowed ourselves to remain in their shadow.
I’m sure in a few days, the despondency will pass, the optimism will return that we may beat the Ch*vs and then everything will be on again.
Hope springs eternal. And where Arsenal has been concerned over the past few years, that hope has been the most painful blow of all.