No Bir-MILAN-ham fallout this time…..
I woke up today with the strangest feeling; I had a great feeling of pride and optimism with a hint of disappointment.
I must admit that I never thought it possible to come back against Milan and even though I was right in the end after the first 45 minutes I was so sure that I was going to be wrong.
The downside of last nights victory aside from the injuries we picked up in our glorious failure is the potential fall-out.
At the final whistle our players looked distraught and I hope that having come so close will spur them on rather than leading to a collapse as has been the case for the past 7 seasons.
05/06 we weren’t really in the season as far as the league was concerned. We racked up 6 defeats by Christmas and never put a run of more than 3/4 games together.
06/07 we were unlucky to finish below Liverpool on GD having lost fewer games but aside from a few wins over very weak teams after going out of the FA cup to Blackburn, Champions League to PSV and losing the League Cup final to Chelsea we had four games where we only got one point including a 4-1 loss to Liverpool which game them the superior GD.
07/08 our best season for years but when we lost 4-0 to United in the FA cup we went on a 4 game run of draws starting with that infamous 2-2 at Birmingham which we couldn’t see out. We then lost to both of our title rivals and finished 3rd. Even with those defeats to CFC & MUFC with just 3 wins instead of draws against teams like Villa, Birmingham, Middlesbrough and Wigan we would have finished top.
08/09 was a weird one because there wasn’t really a game that made us collapse. We had a run of 5 draws in January including 4 games without scoring (after which we scored 25 goals in 8 games) but those draws cost us. Ironically it was one of our better seasons for sharing the goals around with RVP on 11, Adebayor on 10 and Bendtner on 9. That year we scored as many goals as Chelsea and Man U but crucially conceded 13 more including letting a 3 goal lead against Spurs slip for the 4-4.
09/10 we went out to comprehensively to Barca in the Champions League then went on a run of 4 games without a win including a 2-1 defeat to Spurs, a 3-2 loss to Wigan after being 2 up with 10 minutes to go, a bore draw with Citeh and losing a 1-0 lead against Blackburn to go 2-1 down. 11 points dropped which would have taken us 2nd on goal difference. Chelsea were different class in front of goal that season. Although we could have finished top if we also didn’t concede a final minute goal to draw with Birmingham once again.
10/11 as you all know ended with us dropping 21 points out of our final 33 after losing to Birmingham in the League Cup final. We finished 12 points behind the Champions and 3 behind Citeh in 3rd.
That leads me on to my point. Too often we have let one disappointing result shape our season. Luckily for us we had such a defeat early in the season at Old Trafford which gave us time to regroup but then we had another blip in January. We are now at the same point as we were last season, 11 games to go, 33 points up for grabs and coming off the back of a disappointing result.
As a faithful Gooner I am hopeful that a glorious failure like the win-loss against Milan last night will work in the opposite way from our other disappointing results. Every year we have lost or drawn a game and completely collapsed afterwards. We’ve collapsed twice this season and bounced right back; from being relegation candidates to smashing the champions of Italy and challenging for 3rd.
We should be disappointed to have gone out of the Champions League last night but the players should be proud of themselves and use their positive performance but disappointing result to power through the rest of the season. I think that there are 30 points up for grabs out of the 33 with Chelski & Citeh being our toughest games and we have a great chance of finishing 3rd.
If we finish strongly I think Wenger can look the players in the eyes and say that he and we (the fans) believe that to be as good as winning a trophy this year considering the start we had and that we can finally finish a season with good momentum, pick up where we left off and make 2012/13 a year to remember.
The players can’t let last night be our Birmingham. It needs to be our Leeds at Highbury. We lost that game but we destroyed the opposition in the next two games to finish the season with a bang and we all know what happened the season after……
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