Is there anyone fit for the Arsenal these days?
I got up this morning to look at the Arsenal results, and we lost 1-2 to Blackburn. I was so indifferent I didn't even read the match report. I checked my email and looked at my Facebook instead. It wasn't until the evening that I bothered to check the line-up. After I saw the line-up, I realised that a loss was reasonable, always on the cards, and the result of a simple equation: Fabianski + Silvestre = Fail.
It leaves us having to get a point or more against Fulham to secure third place. It would be squeaky bum-time if 3rd place was a prize worth fighting for. But no one's really worried, especially not Wenger. After the match, our manager said:
"We are playing at home. I don't think we need to worry about what Tottenham or Manchester City do."
I suppose we don't need to worry about what Tottenham or Man City do because 3rd is just as good as 4th. Both give you a Champions League qualifying spot. 4th gives you a potentially tougher draw, but stronger opponents also gives you better gate receipts in the qualifiers. When you're an economic manager, you have to think about such things.
One other thing that an economic manager has to look out for is the health of our returning young players. Håvard Nordtveit, a young man with a promising future as a centre-back, is planning on going rock climbing in the summer. Considering the impending departures of Gallas, Silvestre and Campbell, it might pay to dissuade Håvard from his plans, and carefully wrap him up in five metres of bubble wrap. Because considering the alacrity with which Fate seems to dole out freakish accidents to Arsenal players, it is highly possible that while climbing, Håvard might break a foot / strain a hamstring / run into an English centre-back who's "a good lad without a malicious bone in his body".
Oh well, if he makes it out of the Vats alive, there's a good chance he'll see match-time next season. Let's hope he can step up to the plate.
Anyway, last game of the season is against Fulham. An interesting question: which set of fans would be happier at the end of the season? Arsenal will (probably) finish 3rd and will make a profit. Fulham are battling mid-table, are financially reliant on a sugar-daddy, but have a first-ever Europa Cup final to contend. If you're sober and sensible, you'd say Arsenal. We can look forward to another year of Champions League football and another another of financial prudence and sporadic good form. Fulham, on the other hand, have been struck by a bolt of lightening... and we all know how many times lightening can hit the same place.
Still, how many gooners would trade places with Fulham fans? A legitimate cup run, versus financial prudence and sobriety? I see the sense in desiring safety, but I remember the excitement of the Champion League run in 05-06, and I want another one. As much as Peter Hill-Wood would like us to think, Champions League qualification isn't a "prize in itself" - at least not in a footballistic sense. Football fans get high on the fumes of trophy polish, and we haven't had much of a sniff these past few years.
So on the 354th last day of my 20s, I had a free afternoon because there was a blackout at the clinic and I can't work without electricity. Made it home before the storm started. Played a bit with my baby nephew, who kept crying whenever he looked at me. Tried to make plans with my parents for Mother's Day, found out that they already had plans. Started getting suspicious that they're seeing other people's children on the sly...