I predict a win.
I don't normally do this, but I feel confident that we will win. Why?
1. The team has played well in the last two matches
This is a sign of renaissance.
Let me cull from my review article on the Bolton game. In that article (see it here), I supported my assertion that the team played well with the following points:
The team controlled possession.
The team knew how to regroup and recommence attacks.
The team modulated well, that is, it attacked through difference avenues—overlapping centre-backs (only Barcelona currently does the same), modulating front three, pivoting midfielders, use of the false nine decoy—it was a dynamic display. A great positive, which the team can build upon.
The last paragraph is loaded. I could draw diagrams and go into detailed explanations, and those who are familiar with my writings know I can, but the time I have for this article is limited, so I won't.
Suffice to say, it doesn't cease to amuse me when I hear the hasty-to-type—and the usually loud fans—say things like Wenger doesn't know tactics. It just tells me they don't know what they are talking about.
2. Fortune is fickle
It is the major thesis of Boethius' The Consolation of Philosophy. And no. This is not to show off. Showing off is a sign of shallowness. I cite this (and others like this) because I believe the reader's 15 minutes should be worthy of some profit.
Why read things that tell you nothing? That don't add to your knowledge? That are not refreshing? That pander to you?
I'm always glad to pick up something new whenever I read. It is against internet publishing principle, which demands shallowness, but I don't care. I hope the thoughtful reader appreciates the effort to be thorough.
Boethius is in prison on bogus charges and is wallowing in self-pity, attended by the muses of poesy who pander to him and tickle his ears by feeding him what he likes to hear. This persists until philosophy drives out the pandering muses and rebukes Boethius, her erstwhile pupil.
Fortune is fickle; it turns. It's workings are without discernible rhyme or reason.
This is my point.
If Arsenal continue to play well, the reward will come.
In the Bolton match, they carved out a bucket-load of chances, which, for one reason or the other, they couldn't convert.
In the Aston Villa match, Arsenal pushed, and a good dose of luck helped them win. Luck is fickle; it can turn quite quickly.
If the chances are created again today, fortune could favor a harvest of goals.
If luck doesn't turn in this match, then we really, really are in trouble. We, of course, are already in deep trouble.
3. Theo Walcott may score
Theo Walcott is exasperating as usual.
But think: He does get into scoring positions. This is the key. If he converted these chances, the exasperation we all suffer would turn to delight. And that's the problem, he doesn't convert his chances.
He panics in front of goal. Or rather he's too hasty. Now, since he gets into scoring positions, it means he has the intelligence to know to do so, which flies in the face of those that sprout the "brainless" cliche.
What's required is composure when the chances come. Composure will come. Remember how it felt when you were learning to drive and how it feels now when you drive without giving it a thought? Walcott will drive without giving it a thought.
The time will come.
So will he score today?
I don't know. I'm not a soothsayer.
4. The team will make the whiners eat their words
It's alright to whine, but it's not alright to make it a habit. In real life, we laugh at those who whine when things don't go their way.
Ian Holloway sums it up quite nicely:
Being a football fan isn’t just about cheering your team’s successes.Alex Livesey/Getty Images
To be a genuine supporter you have to get behind your club when times are tough as well. That’s why I was sickened to hear Arsene Wenger getting grief at the Emirates when they lost at home to Man United.
Wenger has built one top team after another. He should be bulletproof even if it is now almost seven years since he last won a trophy. There are some Gunners supporters out there who need a reality check.
Perhaps they should take a trip to Fratton Park and ask Portsmouth fans whether they would swap their club’s FA Cup success for a bit of what Wenger has brought to Arsenal.
If I go popular, I hear this tune, which recalls these lines:
And we will be together in any kind of weather/ Just like that; just like that.
It's from Bobby Brown's "Every Little Step." It's one way of stating Thierry Henry's dictum, uttered four weeks ago: "No matter what, you should support the team."
What happens to the bin-bag protest if Arsenal run away with victory today?
The same thing that happened to the people who said the team was rubbish at halftime in the Villa match?
Of course, they may interject that one victory doesn't mean the problems are over.
In the last six seasons, these same fans have lambasted a top-four finish, and now, they want to kill Wenger for daring to suggest that a top-four finish may not be attainable this season through a run of bad results.
Suddenly, the same people who think financial prudence is rubbish, are so concerned about the £25 millions we'd lose if we don't attain top-four. I thought money didn't matter, only the passion of the working class.
That's enough for now.
5. Blackburn might prove too resilient
This is a huge factor to consider, and it might prove the difference in this match, but I'm so confident of a win that I don't see it becoming a negative factor.
I vote with celebration at the end of the day. What about you?
And if we are wrong?
Well, Cerberus is already baying at the door.
It nearly gobbled me up yesterday. I escaped, you see. Let's hope Arsene Wenger and the players escape today.