Apr 132008

Chelsea, Bolton, Liverpool, Liverpool, Liverpool, United. The run is nearly over, and it hasn’t gone well so far. What a boost it would be to win our final match of the season against top opposition.

There is something of an anti-Arsenal bandwagon going on at the moment, with most media outlets claiming Wenger is either wrong to persist with youth, or losing the plot completely. Transfer rumours are running wild, but he has already moved to scotch them, saying:

“If we can add one player we will do it, not one in each department just one experienced player.”

Don’t expect that to stop the wild rumours, or the Fantasy Football fans demanding ten new signings. In any case, that debate is for the summer, not the day of a trip to Old Trafford.

On that wrong, Wenger is equally defiant:

“Do you really think that we go to Manchester United on Sunday believing the season is over? That would be ridiculous.”

“We will fight until the last second of the championship, especially on Sunday. If we win on Sunday then realistically we can win the title.”

Very few pundits are giving us a chance this afternoon, which is exactly the same situation as last season, just before we deservedly won there. What price the same result today?

However, even though a win today is possible, I don’t believe that title race is on whatever happens today. To win the league, we have to beat United, as do Chelsea, and then both teams have to drop further points, and all in only five matches. Honestly, I can’t see United dropping enough points to let us back into it.

That doesn’t mean to say that this afternoon doesn’t matter. Whereas United are looking ominous, Chelsea aren’t, and they can certainly be overhauled between now and the end of the season. With a squad widely agreed to be thinner that those of our rivals, it would certainly help to remove the Champions League qualifiers from our calendar after a busy summer.

Elsewhere, the ‘kick them while they’re down’ mentality is coming from all angles, with John Terry claiming we’ve blown it because we don’t have enough Englishmen:

“You need an English backbone – one with that force, that togetherness, that pulling together. That’s what the English players have. It’s why Arsenal might come up short in the run-in.”

Can someone tells me why it is widely believed, and stated ad nauseum, that it is only the English that understand team spirit, resilience and a never say die attitude? Looking at our national side, I’d say those qualities are completely absent from the very country that claims they have them in abundance. The view is ignorant, to say the very least, but then what else do we expect from Terry?

He’s not the worst though. That honour goes to Alan Green, who took Wenger’s assertion that the referee in the first leg against Liverpool had simply made a mistake, rather than look favourably on his countryman Kuyt, and completely reverse it, claiming the boss had suggested the opposite. Check out Arseblog’s quotes for full details on some of the most ignorant reporting we’ve seen this season.

I can see why Wenger’s defiant. There are so many that are delighting in our collapse that he would love nothing better than to stick it up them once and for all. Let’s start this afternoon.

Enjoy the game.

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