Are We Not Through?
Friday 25th November 2016
The problems we seem to have in November every season are very difficult to explain. But some of the negativity I have heard this week is well beyond belief. Looking at it from a positive point of view are we not unbeaten from three tough games? Are we not 3 points off top of the league? Are we not in the League Cup quarter final? And more relevant this week, are we not already through (yet again) to the last 16 of Europe’s biggest club competition?
Admittedly we haven’t been at our very best over the last few weeks, however on that basis I can’t help but feel upbeat about the whole situation. We know we can play better and I’m convinced we will. Yet even with below par performances we have come out with something from the games.
Wednesday night was a strange one. On paper it looked like a belter of a fixture. But with both teams already through it had every chance of being a bit of a damp squib. Big Champions League nights can create some of the best atmospheres of the pitch too but I felt the whole package was at best a little bit ‘flat’.
The fact that at least 3 of the 4 goals came from extremely avoidable mistakes seems almost apt when analysing the night’s events and overall it was hugely forgettable I felt. I read a report after the match (on the BBC website I think) and the reporter described the game as ‘intriguing’. For me that is definitely over complimentary! But maybe I’m guilty of forgetting just how spoilt we are in the majority of games.
Realistically it means we won’t finish top of the group now of course but looking at the way all the other groups are standing, I’m not really sure it makes a helluva difference. And I always believe if you are going to be successful in any competition, you need to beat the very best at some stage anyway!
But being through is no achievement of course. Its a piece of cake to do it year in year out. Look at that lot with a chicken on a beachball as a badge for example. Its easy to progress from a group with only 4 teams in it. A doddle. And haven’t they proved it well!
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth come to the Home of Football next and it is an opportunity to play at the level we know we can and end the month on a positive note. But The Cherries have proved more than once in the Premier League, if we are not at our best they are very capable of taking advantage.
For me personally Sunday sees a first at The Emirates. A good friend and fellow Gooner reached the grand age of 50 last week and has booked an executive box to celebrate reaching that milestone. He very kindly has included me on his guest list and as a result it promises to certainly be a thoroughly enjoyable experience off the pitch.
Only our team can make it the perfect day by doing a successful job on it.
Come on you mighty reds!