Wednesday, 13 April 2011

5 reasons to believe

With the season nearing the end, and Arsenal looking unlikely to overhaul Manchester United, I'm going to look at reasons for the fans to maintain hope.

1. It's happened before
Back in 1997/98, we found ourselves in a similar position, but didn't give up and clawed back the points to top the table after the 38 games. It was a remarkable comeback, and we showed spirit and resilience to go on a brilliant run in the new year. The omens are good too - the last time we lost in the league this season was December 13th. That was the last time the title-winning side of 97/98 tasted defeat as well.

2. Fixture advantage
Whilst Manchester United are still in three competitions, all of our eggs are in the Premier League basket. Until the end of the season, they'll have a game every three days, which will mean they're more tired and may pick up more injuries. Our game against them at the Emirates on May 1st is sandwiched in between both legs of a Champions League semi final with Schalke (or Inter if they make a miraculous comeback). They also have to face Chelsea again in the league, while our other toughest game would be Liverpool on Sunday.

3. Injured players returning
If the papers are to be believed, the two players above will be back for our crunch tie vs Liverpool. They're so important to our team, and represent an important part of our spine. If they come back, the only player missing should be long-term absentee Thomas Vermaelen. Oh, and Denilson. But we've done just fine without those two over the course of the season, so their absences shouldn't matter too much. I'd expect Alex Song and Bacary Sagna to return to the frame as well, giving us a full compliment of first team players. We've seen how good we are when we have our full strength side available - Chelsea and Barcelona can testify to that.

4. On our day we can beat anyone
Speaking of those victories over Chelsea and Barcelona at the Emirates, if we put our minds to it, get the crowd behind us and give 100%, there's no team we can't beat. It's difficult to put in performances of that intensity when you're in four competitions, but now that we're focussing on the league we'll be able to concentrate all of our energy on hunting down United. This should mean more performances like vs Chelsea and Barcelona, and more consistency.

5. We've added steel to the silk
As well as putting on the usual breathtaking attacking performances this season, we've also demonstrated more mental and physical strength than we've been used to seeing, despite some anomalies on the chart. We've ground out wins against the likes of Birmingham, Blackburn and Everton twice. Furthermore, we've shown more of a clinical touch in front of goal, hitting three (with no reply) against Man City, West Ham, Birmingham and more. 

There's no point in writing us off. There's no point in dismissing this season as another trophyless season. There's a long way to go yet, and there are plenty more twists and turns in store for us. Keep the faith.


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