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January 20, 2019

A weird week for the Gunners but I still have hope

Hull City v Arsenal - FA Cup Fifth Round Replay - The Kingston Communications Stadium - 8/3/16 Theo Walcott celebrates with team mates after scoring the fourth goal for Arsenal
Hull City v Arsenal - FA Cup Fifth Round Replay - The Kingston Communications Stadium - 8/3/16 Theo Walcott celebrates with team mates after scoring the fourth goal for Arsenal

It’s been a pretty weird week for the Gunners but somehow I’m feeling hopeful. We all knew the match against Tottenham would be tough and when Francis Coquelin was red-carded, the general belief was that the match was over.

It would have been tough eleven on eleven; but eleven Spurs against ten Gunners was not something we thought could be overcome. I think it was a blessing in disguise and I’ll tell you why. It was as if a spark went off in the Gunners camp and the players suddenly appeared totally possessed. The squad of ten decided to make the best of a very tough situation and it paid off.

While the ideal situation would have been to get three points out of that game, given the Gunners’ recent form versus the Spurs recent form, it was impressive to get a draw. Days later of course we found out that senior players in the squad led by Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky; had called their fellow players for a private meeting for them to thrash out amongst themselves what was happening to the team.

Without giving details Theo Walcott said it was a very fruitful meeting where they discussed their recent poor performance; their personal form and mental state. He said they felt the embarrassment of recent losses and the outcome was a resolve to do better; a resolve to give 110 per cent;, work smarter and harder. The result was the Spurs outcome and better still the thrashing of Hull City in the FA Cup.

I felt extremely proud to be a Gunner when I read the story about their meeting because sometimes as fans we forget that players are human beings. We forget that they too feel devastated when they don’t win games and that they get hurt when we hurl insults at them. We sometimes take the players as commodities, not people with feelings. We insult them without considering everybody, every once in a while, has a bad day at the office. What I saw in the players during the Spurs game and the FA Cup replay was a hunger to get out of the hole we had dug for ourselves. With teams unable to take three points off Leicester City, it looks less likely the Gunners can challenge for the title. Eight points behind the league leaders means Leicester would need to lose at least three matches and Arsenal win all her remaining nine games.

Given the Gunners don’t have a game against the teams ahead of us means the title is not in our hands at all. Considering Leicester have only lost three games the entire season; banking on them losing three in their remaining nine is a tall order. The best we can hope for is a couple of draws but even that won’t be easy. I won’t go in to who still has to play who because on paper Leicester and Man United have tough run ins, but right now it doesn’t matter. United wouldn’t have considered West Brom part of that tough run in, not to mention “small” teams are fighting relegation. All I ask from Arsenal from here-on-in is to win every remaining game; and we can! Not winning the league will be disappointing but hey; once a Gunner, always a Gunner! Talk to me on @CarolRadull on twitter or

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