Very Superstitious

In regards to sports, I’m an incredibly superstitious man.

I know that they probably have no bearing on our team. That is the reasonable view on rituals and superstitions.

I had a friend who was a Laker fan that secretly wore Lakers shorts underneath his jeans every day during the glorious three-peat a few years ago. During another Finals run, my friend promised that he’d never eat In-N-Out burgers ever again (a huge deal if you go to college at UC Berkeley). Over the past few years, with a few failures, my friend has refused to believe in his rituals. He plainly states, “nothing you or I do affects the Lakers at all.”

Obviously, this is the sensible way to think.

But, I refuse.

I believe that if I see a match live, I’m somehow helping the Arsenal. I have many rituals, and most I won’t go into because they’re exclusively mine. Having rituals helps sometimes in explaining away a bad performance.

One of my superstitions is never proudly boasting about a prediction, specifically to single matches. I feel fairly confident about making predictions over a season or even matches that don’t involve our team, but when it comes to the Arsenal, I refrain.

I don’t want to give ammunition to fire at me when our team disappoints. I don’t want any cosmic karma working against the Arsenal ever. Whenever I have made a confident, boastful prediction involving us, it’s usually an egg in my face.

But for tomorrow, that stops here.

This trend ends here.

We will beat West Brom tomorrow.

Despite the fact that it looks like a very winnable game, it’s a dangerous one. When we played West Brom at the very beginning of the year, we only scored one goal and West Brom played very well. Tomorrow, it’ll be on the road and some of our players will have heavy legs.

To our benefit, West Brom play an open style of football that I actually admire. Not to say that they’re world beaters, but they try to play football and it’s no surprise that Tony Mowbray holds Arsene Wenger in high regard.

The fact that Jay Simpson can’t play against us is actually somewhat of a drawback. Had he been available against us, they would have fielded two strikers (along with Fortune) and played football against us. With that, we could have the space needed to create and score multiple goals. Either way, an offensive team doesn’t become a defensive one overnight, and they’ll play to win.

That sets up a situation where we can put our foot on the throats of Aston Villa. When they blew their two goal lead, I immediately thought about the Bolton fixture where we threw away the title in 02-03. Similar to last year, when we started to drop points, United mercilessly applied pressure on us. And we must do the same to Villa.

Make no mistake, we were let off the hook. This may be the last time. Both teams have interesting fixtures, and the benefit to this is that chasing the 4th place spot is not the same as chasing the first place team. The margin is far greater, but there’s no time to waste at this point.

Villa are rocking, and we need to take advantage of it.

After the game against Fulham, Wenger said nothing to the players. We know what that means. Once the psychological problem of not scoring a goal is dealt with, our team will be clicking once again. With Theo, Cesc, Eduardo, and Adebayor all set to return soon, we can challenge for the third spot. Finishing fourth would be better than finishing fifth, but it would still lead to a difficult qualifying round. Anything can happen in the final stretch of the season.

Hell, we could finish fifth and win the Champions League, thereby knocking Villa back to the Europa League.

We will win at West Brom tomorrow. We will rise.

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