Saturday, February 28, 2009

Game by game

"It is not realistic to look at the league title now.... to be intelligent now is to go game by game and think about who is directly in front of us. Now we have to make sure we put a run of wins together and don't lose more points."

- Cesc Fabregas, The Guardian

The game against Fulham kicks off at 2am tonight, and I'm wondering whether I should take a nap before it starts. On one hand, I get a bit pissed off when I've got to wake up in the middle of the night. On the other hand, I'm actually pretty tired and could use the sleep. It's tougher than I thought to adjust to real life again.

It's a bit like trying to adjust to the reality of Arsenal missing that Champions League spot. It's going to happen. We're not going to get 4th. Our side is pedestrian and bereft of ideas, and the only thing the addition of Arshavin has done is show us just how stale we are. And when Cesc Fabregas comes out and says that we're not fighting for the title, you know things are going really, really bad.

We're six points behind Villa, and Villa don't look like they're going to stumble. Villa did the pragmatic thing the other day and tanked their UEFA Cup game in Russia, in order to concentrate on the Premiership. They know they've a unique opportunity here, and they're not going to throw it away. If we're going to catch them, we're going to have to go on a some sort of incredible run from here on end.

I'm wondering about where our players' heads are at at the moment. The size of the challenge is pretty daunting. Our squad is in a pretty bad state, and there won't be any more reinforcements. We're not scoring and we're playing pretty bad football. I wonder whether the players are focussed on grinding out wins for the Arsenal, or whether they've already had a discreet word with their agents to look for another club at the end of the season.

And I'm wondering about myself. Nothing's changed since I left Australia, but everything seems different. You come back with fresh eyes and you can see the size of mess that you've been wallowing in. It's a daunting sight, and you're not sure you can fix it. You're not even sure you know where to begin. It's the kind of thing that makes you want to cut and run, and spend another six months of your life trying to find yourself.

But Cesc's right - the only thing to do is to deal with what's directly in front of you.

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