Friday, 31 October 2008

Can Stoke Rory past us?

The morning after, the morning after the night before.

Firstly, to anyone who isn't sure how small a team Tottenham are, look here.

People will say I'm only optimistic because I'm young and I have the exuberance of youth. But, I've only known the good times, so why do I have such faith in this team?
I suppose it's not that I think this is the best team we've had under Mr. Wenger because it's not. Rather, I think, and I know this sound ridiculous after Wednesday night, they know how to win matches. Or they will do now.

I can foresee a similar situation to what happened at the end of the 2002-03 season. That year, the league was ours. Yet, although we scored goals we kept on conceding and lost the league, after a 3-2 defeat to Leeds. That in many ways was a moment of epiphany. Because it created a reaction - rather than sulking, the players were angry and scored 10 goals in the next two games, and henceforth, proceeded to go unbeaten for 49 games.

This team has some players with huge egos, and they will not like being derided by the press: they will want to show a reaction. And if they can channel their anger into being a positive thing, they are hugely talented players. The damning which Gael Clichy has suffered is ridiculous. He was soup-herb on Wednesday night, really good. And maybe he dilly-dallyed a little, but losing posession should not mean the opposition score - to put the blame entirely on Clichy for the third goal is to fail to acknowledge the errors which other players made, and that Jenas hit a shot which no goalkeeper would save.

Maybe I'm positive about this result, because scoring 4 goals is a good thing, and ultimately, if you score more goals than the opposition you win a football match. Arsene Wenger's first European game as Arsenal manager was incidentally, my first game. The 10th of September 1996 was when we lost to Borussia Monchengladbach 3-2. Then, Arsene was already talking of taking the positives. And although we still had the great back four we conceded four goals. I really believe that although Almunia is a good keeper and a nice guy, he will not win matches the way Seaman and to a lessser extent, Lehmann, did. Yet, we need to make sure it doesn't make a difference. The way to do this is to start attacking quicker like we used to, and pressing on to score 6, 7 or 8 goals. Forgetting our goal difference, the psychological message results like that send out are huge.

So, to Stoke we go. Frankly, a failure to claim victory here would be a travesty. Yes, Spurs are bottom of the league, but they were also really fired up as it was the biggest game of their season. Providing we can cope with Delap's long throws I think we should win. And not just win, but convincingly. If we don't it's a travesty, and even I, the eternal optimist will start to doubt our chances.

However, I wouldn't be surprised to see a backlash. Even with 'this' Arsenal side, that has often been the case. After the travesty of Peter 'I'm a Cunt' Frojdfeldt giving a penalty to Ryan Babel in the Champions League last year, the reaction was arguably our best performance of the season. Yes, we lost at the Theatre of Shit, but that was mainly because of poor refereeing. And I still remember when we beat Southampton 6-2.

Us fans, we haven't taken the result from Wednesday well as just a glance at Online Gooner will tell you. So here's to a resounding victory tomorrow....

Adam

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