Tuesday 22nd January 2013
Frustration is definitely an emotion all us football fans have to learn to live with. Even though there is no point in following your team if this is something you cannot handle, it certainly doesn't get any easier!
For me Sunday's trip to west London had all the ingredients that prove the above point.
Crucial refereeing decisions not going our way, missed chances, a second-half performance that proved we are capable of dominating against a top side and worst of all, coming away with nothing but a degree of pride for our efforts.
Despite the snow falling throughout the build up to the game, the streets were no worse than a bit 'slushy' come Sunday lunchtime, so there was never any doubt as to the game actually going ahead. On the other hand, keeping warm was not as easy with only those attending in suitable winter attire having half a chance.
We looked quite sharp in the opening exchanges I felt, with the fact we could and should have gone one up providing evidence. Olly's strike went agonisingly wide after he latched onto Theo's excellent through ball.
Chelsea's Mata took his goal well, even if we could maybe have defended it better, but none of this would have been relevant had the free-kick been correctly awarded in the build up. It looked a foul in normal time from way up in the away end. Television replays have proved there is no doubt it didn't go our way.
Having seen replays of the penalty incident, it does no more than rub salt in the wounds. Any goalkeeper has every right to spread himself when a player goes through and that is all Chezz did. It seemed a harsh decision to me, that pretty much summed up the first half.
Don't get me wrong, our hosts were the better side in the first period. When you are not playing well however, you sometimes need a bit of luck and we certainly didn't get that on the day.
As a result we went into the break two goals down, when the evidence suggests we could have been level, undeservedly or not.
Our second half performance was excellent but once again it proved too high a mountain to climb. Theo's fine finish gave us all hope but despite dominating for long periods and pouring forward for much of the half, we came away without the point we deserved at the very least. Overall I have seen us play a lot worse and come away with a win down the years. That dividing line between success and failure doesn't get any thicker!
Defeats are never easy to take and whatever way we observe these situations, it also means we weren't good enough on the day to avoid defeat, despite how good we were in the second period. The latter part of this statement however, gives me both evidence and hope that if we keep working at it we can go on to match the current top clubs more consistently.
As a Gooner family, that is what we all want.
That progression starts with the visit of The Hammers. The weather forecast suggests it is going to be another cold night in north London. Only a performance that yields three points will warm us all up.
Victoria Concordia Crescit
@stubbsy70Copyright 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 Jan 2013