Friday 29 February 2008

Time to Separate the Men from the Boys

It has been a tragic week in Arsenal land. A great deal has been said about the Eduardo injury already and I fully endorse 1979Gooner's stance on this issue. Unfortunately, apart from Gary Lewin, no-one has come out well during the week and the media and FA should be ashamed of themselves. I expect there to be a lot of emotion at the Emirates tomorrow for Eduardo and we shall all wish him to a speedy recovery. I expect there may even be the odd tear.

I also suspect that Arsenal's season now rests on how we react to the emotion and the absence of so many key players. Lets not forget that Toure, RVP and Rosicky are all still injured and Eboue suspended. Thats 4 players (5 including Eduardo) who are genuine contenders for a starting place in the first XI. As I have been saying for some time now, the squad is now stretched to the limit.

We have Aston Villa and AC Milan within 4 days. Win both games and I think we will be set next week in an ideal position for the run-in. The next games will be Wigan (a) and Boro (h). Another 6 points there and you begin to dream....

Unfortunately, it could also go badly tits-up in the next 4 days. Losing on Saturday is likely to allow Man U, who are away at Fulham, to overtake us at the top of the table. If we then get knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday, then the season really is on shaky legs.

Of course, its one of football's truisms that the most important game is always the next one, but given the week we have just had then its even truer than normal. Its truly true.

If the experience of the last 7 days has brought the squad together, then I really think we can do it this season. If the season was a Hollywood script, then this would be the moment for someone like Theo Walcott to rise to the challenge and score a bag full of goals. A Bonnie Tyler style hero. Or maybe a Christopher Wreh - he was suddenly so good in 1998.

Of course, this could also be one of those crappy foreign films where the plot just peters out, most of the characters disappear and the final shot is of some forlorn figure standing in the rain and ranting at the bitterness of the world.

I don't know why, but I just think that Bruce Willis is with us on this one. Despite the enormous car crash of the last 7 days, we can dust ourselves down, smear the trace of blood from our mouths, adjust our white vests and give Aston Villa an almighty thumping tomorrow. Just Maybe.

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