Thursday, 10 May 2012

Fine Lines

Well it’s a massive weekend in the Premier League this weekend. There’s the title race in the balance, the race for third spot and fourth spot, the relegation battle and the Merseyside battle.

The most relevant to us Gooners is indeed the race for third. If Arsenal win, they’ll finish third, no matter what the White Scum and Newcastle do. I’ll be at the Everton v Newcastle game on Sunday, cheering on Everton, but more importantly, very quietly cheering on Arsenal in my mind, telepathically urging the ball into the West Brom net as many times as possible. My heart will be skipping beats whenever the scores come on the big screen at Goodison Park; it’s a good time not to have heart condition, although I might have one come 5pm on Sunday afternoon.

The reason for this is because, in my opinion, it’s Arsenal’s biggest game for six years. The biggest game since the heart-breaking night in Paris when Arsenal lost the Champions League final to Barcelona, despite a heroic performance with ten men for most of the game. If we fail to get in the Champions League, it could be catastrophic for the club. It could precipitate the departure of the clubs most important player in Robin Van Persie and it will make it a lot harder to attract players of a very good standard to the club, players would start choosing clubs like Tottenham ahead of us in the transfer market. And yes, that’s the other aspect, it’s Tottenham who are the most likely team to take our place, should we fail to beat West Brom on Sunday, which wold make it all the more painful and hard to take. Overall, it would be a lot harder to challenge for trophies in future seasons, or at least next season.

On the other hand, it could be a blessing in disguise. It could mean Wenger leaves the club and it could mean we start taking competitions like the FA Cup and Carling Cup more seriously and maybe win at least one of them. We’d also have a decent shot at winning the Europa League. But then again, it would probably mean Van Persie (and maybe a few others) leaving the club, while replacing them with players not quite as good. So it would probably be a bad thing.

If we win on Sunday, everything’s looking rosy. It gives us a better chance of keeping Van Persie, it makes us a more attractive club to join for other players, and we could have the chance to build a squad that’s capable of challenging for major trophies again. Players like Yann M’Vila and Jan Vethongen could be catching the Piccadilly Line tube down to Arsenal Station and getting off with big smiles on their faces as they walk down the road to the Emirates Stadium. Who knows?

It would also mean that scummy lot down the road would have to settle for the Europa League and deal with the fact that Arsenal are still officially a better team than them and that they blew a ten point lead over Arsenal and have the words ‘Mind The Gap’ repeatedly said to them by mocking Gooners and Goonerettes. Ah the sweetness that would bring…

In terms of what I think will happen, I just don’t know. My heart and my head are saying different things. I have a good feeling about it overall, my gut feeling is that we’ll finish at least fourth and get in the Champions League, though I just get the feeling I’m going to be happy on my way home on Sunday, which would imply that we’ll have finished third. I can see us losing, which is where my head interferes, it’ll be a tough game and Roy Hodgson’s farewell game at West Brom, so they’ll probably be up for it and it’s a tough place to go (as cliché as that sounds).

Overall, my gut feeling at the moment is that we’ll win. And even if we don’t win, I have sneaking feeling that Tottenham will sum their last 2 and a half months selves up by choking it and dropping points at home to Fulham. I also think the most Newcastle will get at Everton is a draw. The odd thing is, we could lose 1-0 at West Brom if Tottenham only draw and Newcastle don’t win and still finish third on ‘goals scored’ ahead of Tottenham as our goal differences and points totals will be equal by then. However if we lost 2-0, they’d finish above us, so it’s very fine lines.

But it’s all just speculation and I will be posting my official predictions on Twitter tomorrow afternoon.

Here’s to hoping that Arsenal manage to win at West Brom on Sunday! And whisper it, but if Arsenal are winning comfortably and Tottenham are drawing or losing, part of me may be wanting Newcastle to go and beat Everton so that Tottenham would finish 5th and stand no chance of Europa League football. My Dad wouldn’t like that! Though I do want Everton to finish above Liverpool for him, so that may stop me from wishing them to lose. But it’s a highly unlikely scenario anyway.

Come on you Gooners (and Everton and Fulham!)

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