Tuesday 22nd March 2011
In a moment of boredom on Sunday I switched on the TV to run the extended recording of Saturday's game and did a little test. Ten times during the hour or so, with the sound off and without looking, I pressed the pause button. On nine occasions we were in possession of the ball!
This of course can demonstrate a number of things. The really obvious one is that once again we totally dominated possession. I am one who believes that, with patience, on most occasions we do eventually break down a packed defence. Our scoring record is evidence that rarely does a team finish the match with a clean sheet against us.
It does also confirm however, that our downfall in games where we don't end victorious is often down to silly and avoidable individual and collective errors defensively.
Letting in two goals away from home, no matter who it is against, gives you a mountain to climb. Despite getting back to level pegging and completely battering our hosts for the last quarter of an hour we couldn't quite get that all-important winner.
There were errors at both The Hawthorns and Old Trafford on Saturday. Unfortunately the former went against us and the latter saw the home side handed an extra two points on a plate with a couple of minutes to go. For me that summed up how things have gone for us in recent weeks.
I quite enjoy going to West Brom. The location for our pre-match consumption is one to enjoy, the journey is rarely problematic and we have a pretty good record there down the years. Going behind so early on this occasion however, suggested it might not be our day this time round.
At 2-0 with time running out it looked even more so but I think we all knew just one goal would see us back in it. The Meerkat's fine strike gave us just that and we poured forward in search of that equaliser. As RVP's stab trickled over the line and the usual away match jostle ensued we all looked at our watches knowing there was time to go on and win the game.
On this occasion it wasn't to be but at least we all left the ground with that feeling that we all know we are in this together and will fight until the bitter end. There is a huge amount of football still to be played and despite recent disappointments we are still in a league position 90 other clubs would rather be in right now. That is something to look at positively not the opposite.
International breaks are so irritating in my opinion but on this occasion, as long as our many players return unscathed, it might just have come at a good time for us.
Our nine 'cup finals' start with the visit of Blackburn Rovers next week. They too will see the fixture with equal importance. We must make sure we want it more on the day.
Enjoy the weekend 'off'!
FrankCopyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 22 Mar 2011