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IT’S NOT OVER YET!
We have to keep the faith. What else can we do? We now sit four points behind United and three behind Chelsea. But should we beat Wolves at the Emirates on Saturday and we get that United-Chelsea draw we’re all dreaming about we will be one point behind Chelsea and only two off the top. Even if Chelsea win, we would still be within a one-match striking distance of the top. It is not over yet.
I can’t bring myself to write much about the match as I still want to scream every time I think about it. And while it may be harsh to fully blame Almunia for the dropped points, I can’t help but wonder why it is that he can be fairly inactive for most of the match and then cock-up the one moment when we need him to just do what any mediocre keeper would be expected to do.
To be fair, it’s amazing that the team has gotten this far in the title race with a keeper like Almunia. A little over two years ago, after taking over from Lehmann, he looked like he might be progressing towards being a true number one keeper. Last year, his performance suffered with the rest of the side. However, the rest of the side broke out of the 2008/09 funk but Almunia never has. He has become even more prone to errors, and costly errors at that, the more he’s played. I don’t think there can be any doubt that Almunia is not a title-winning keeper. But, yesterday was not entirely his fault…
We had chances to put the match away at 1-nil, most notably Arshavin’s opportunity from less than 10 yards out. However, though Arshavin has returned from injury, his shot has not. I can think of 4 or 5 instances off the top of my head where he had clean shots on goal from inside the box and mishit them, and that’s in the last two weeks. To be fair to him, his substitution along with Nasri made a big difference to the match and we weren’t getting shots off or penetrating Brum’s center-backs until they came on. But those chances have to be taken at this time of the season.
The thing that annoys me is when we read these articles in midweek quoting Arshavin as saying stuff like, “Arsenal need more players to win the League.” No we don’t. We need our own players to be able to put a shot on goal and test the keeper from six yards. If Arsenal lose out on the title, it won’t be because we didn’t buy the “3 or 4 experienced players” Arshavin has talked about, it will be because the players we do have didn’t get the job done when they had the chance. If Arshavin had scored, the points would have been secured and we would have remained two points back.
As painful as it is, and I literally mean painful, we have to put this behind us and focus on the Champions League tie with Barcelona on Wednesday evening. Cesc will apparently be struggling to be fit after sustaining a knee injury and you have to wonder why Arsene didn’t just pull him off instead of letting him play for another 50+ minutes on a hurt knee. The ball is out of our court now. And though it looks bleak, in reality, any result besides a United victory next week, puts us right back within striking distance of the top. IT’S NOT OVER YET. And we need to KEEP THE FAITH!