Football Is A Funny Old Game

Not long ago, I heard someone say that Abou Diaby was a waste of space at Arsenal. The guy was adamant that the player is worthless. He didn’t even give an allowance for the Diaby not having been able to put in an uninterrupted run in the first team.

I understood and even accepted the latter part as legitimate – part of being a good player is to stay healthy. I didn’t buy the part about him not being worth a place in the squad. He is worth a place and more. It’s taken a while for him to show why but Wenger has trusted him for a reason. He delivered tonight. I was especially pleased to see his celebration with pumping clenched fists. I haven’t seen that much emotion from him.

His header on 72 put us ahead of Liverpool and proved to be the difference. He and Gallas were outstanding. Eboue played well and Almunia also helped our cause. His fantastic fingertip touch on a Ryan Babel effort was enough to ensure that the crossbar did the rest. It was a well earned victory from a fairly difficult game.

Bendtner and Gerrard looked to have dived in search of an advantage. It wasn’t pretty. Diving never is. Until there is a Draconian response from the authorities, it will go on. Sometimes we’ll benefit from it sometimes it will hurt us. Shame on Nicklas! Business as usual for Gerrard.

Cesc raised his arms to deflect a Liverpool free kick in injury time. I’m not sure if Howard Webb didn’t see it or if time just ran out. He blew the final whistle, much to Liverpool’s ire. Maybe not exactly poetic justice but there’s some twisted kind of justice there, for sure. Those Champions League memories still linger. And had it been Arsenal players remonstrating with the ref on Full Time the way Kuyt, Gerrard, et al have done, we’d hear another round of Arsenal-hating rants for the next few days.

With United drawing at Villa Park and Chelsea losing to Everton, we have hope. Our remaining fixtures read as follows:

Sunderland H
Stoke A
Burnley H
Hull A
West Ham H
Birmingham A
Wolves H
Harry’s Scumbags A
Wigan A
City H
Blackburn A
Fulham H

If we can’t beat Chelsea and United on our way to the title, a back door route would be fine with me. I normally like to beat the best to be the best, but a run of 13 wins to close out the season will be impressive. It would surely put serious pressure on the teams above us. You never know!

We need to focus on winning and fighting and doing the things that we haven’t done against United and Chelsea. We need poise and the heart of a lion. Is the hunger truly there? Can the mistakes stop or at least be reduced to a minimum? Three points from Liverpool is a good start.

Do players like Walcott, Clichy, Rosicky, Nasri, Bendtner, Ramsey, Denilson, and Almunia feel that they can win a title? I did see a better display tonight. If they look at the remaining fixtures and are not energized by a strong sense of belief then they should all be sold.

Wednesday, 10 February could be a pivotal point in the season. We shall see.


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