Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Just under two hours to go

It's time to show this league we mean business.

It's time to show Man United that the title is not theirs.

It's time to show all the critics that we can overcome the toughest of challenges.

Most of all, it's time to show ourselves that we actually can do it. So many near misses, so many late collapses over the course of this season and in seasons previous. But Newcastle handed us a lifeline yesterday, and we can take it with both hands with a win tonight. And against the noisy neighbours no less...

So much has been made of our spectacular failings, including our recent self-destruction while leading Liverpool at the Emirates. After that game, it seemed like the title dreams were over. But Newcastle ground out a draw with United, and our hopes are still alive.

It's a similar situation to the NLD at WHL last season. We'd seemed to be out of the race but after a result surprisingly went our way we were still in it, just. While our opponents were chasing Champions League qualification. We went 1-0 down to a miracle goal (Almunia could have done better) early on, before shocking defending saw us concede another.

The introduction of a returning RVP inspired us, and we nearly pulled two back, but we only got one thanks to an also inspired Heurelho Gomes (ha!) and it finished 2-1.

In that game, we were missing loads of players; Vermaelen, Gallas, Song, Fabregas, Arshavin and van Persie for most of it. Now we have an almost full-strength squad, so no excuses there. Bendtner insists the players know what the derby means, and I think he's right. We showed passion and determination to go 2-0 up earlier in the season at the Emirates. What happened next was a disaster, but hopefully once in a lifetime, a complete freak, just like Rose's goal. Hopefully the performance we see will be more like the first half of that game, and not the second.

There's been a lot of talk about Cesc's comments, but I feel the criticism he's had is unfair. Guillem Balague summed it up nicely on SSN, saying that Cesc just wants the best for the team he's at. I agree, and I hope he'll be able to lead us towards that. Starting tonight.

It's a massive, massive game. It's a must win, just like the rest of our games. Let's pray the team don't let us down. Up the Arsenal!


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