With no midweek game to focus on, the temptation is to overanalyse Sunday’s demoralising defeat. The press are at it, listing reasons why a) we lost so poorly and b) why this means we’ll never win anything ever again, and the internet media is going the same way.
There is no getting away from the fact we were poor. Wenger pulled no punches in his post match interview, and the players are likely to have been suitably chastised. Certain individuals will have been singled out. What matters is how they react – if they let this hang over them, the season could be derailed.
And that would be a much bigger issue than a solitary defeat. If you listen to some people, the season is already over, which is plainly not the case. We’ve gone out of the cup and slipped behind in the league, but the gap is only five points. That may be extended to eight by the end of the evening, but as I write this Chelsea are level with Hull at half time. This season has been one where the top teams have been consistently vulnerable to the rest of the league, and to our credit we’ve been shocked less than our rivals. Our weakness has been in the big games, our record against the lower sides is actually better than those around us.
Instead, we have to look forward. A midweek break is potentially well timed – Bendtner, Nasri, Walcott and Diaby all have a chance to shake off various niggles to be fit for the weekend, and as we move into the final few months of the campaign, a lot rests on how many of them can stay healthy.
It is remarkable how we judge players on how they deal with adversity, yet so many fans are throwing in the towel after one defeat. The reaction to the Chelsea defeat was excellent, and needs to be repeated. If we can get away from Stamford Bridge with a solitary point, we will still be in range, and with a far easier run-in.
I’m not saying we’re going to win the league – our odds have certainly lengthened and it will take something special from here. But it is not out of the question.
Irrespective, there is plenty still to play for. Let’s not give in now.