Two quick goals. An opponent set on shooting themselves in the foot. Some lovely free-flowing moves. The crowd in fine voice. The sun shining.
For a brief moment, Arsenal seemed to have the hang of this football lark.
Then, bit by bit, the nerves crept in. Chances were missed and what should have been a stroll in the park turned into a horrible nerve-shredding second half.
Leeds United, down to 10 men from the 27th minute, grabbed a goal out of nothing which ensured the closing stages of the game were soundtracked by panic on the terraces as the crowd desperately tried to rouse the players from sleepwalking their way to a damaging draw.
By the full time whistle, everybody was in a bit of a daze. It took a few moments for the 2-1 win to sink in.
Playing it cool in his post-game press conference, Mikel Arteta said, “Some nerves had to be handled.”
While accepting the circumstances nearly got the better of his players, the manager was very pleased that they continue to grind out important results given everything that is at stake.
“We are finding ways to win football matches,” he said. “The way we played today, especially the first 30 minutes was brilliant.
“So under pressure to play the way we have done in front of our people is a credit to them, but obviously, we have an opponent and the context changes throughout the game and you don’t expect to be all the time for 95 minutes on top of the game and we are dealing with that and getting better at is because at the end, we are winning football matches.”
Arteta also dismissed suggestions his players took their foot off the gas with one eye on Thursday’s north London derby.
“I don’t think so, it was just to try to play the game that we have to play in that phase, I think we showed a lot of maturity not to rush things and start to concede breaks, we didn’t do any of that, but then we didn’t find the net in key moments to score the third goal and have a different last 20 minutes.”
He also referenced Manchester City’s late collapse, at the hands of Real Madrid, in the semi-final of the Champions League as an example of what can happen to even the best teams when the pressures cranks up.
“This is football, if you look at what happened a few days ago in Madrid, there are things that nobody can explain but this is the beauty of this match, and suffering unfortunately for all of us, especially for the managers, it’s part of it.
He added: “Now is the defining moment when a goal can change the whole season, and that plays in the back of the players but I didn’t see any of that at the start of the game.”
Arsenal now have a four-point lead over Sp*rs and know a win on Thursday will secure a place in the Champions League. It would be a Hollywood ending for the Amazon documentary that is currently being filmed.
Of the opportunity that lies ahead, Arteta said: “We want to prepare and go for that match like we always do, with the same enthusiasm, but knowing obviously that this can be a defining moment and that’s an extra level of motivation and another layer for us to really go for it and I can’t wait to play that game.”
And while that’s lovely, I still think a really good way to win is to score a fuck tonne of goals and chill for the last 20.
Just need to wrap up the season in Top 4. Then we can sign a striker or two and evolve our style of play once more. Slowly but we will get there
Yeah, this Arsenal side is looking mentally fatigued I think. We are doing amazingly and still playing well but I think we seem a little punch drunk at times.
One of the things about playing young players is stamina. 21-22 yr olds aren’t supposed to really play 40 games in a season. But so many of ours have. And it is taking its toll.
I mean, god, I feel knackered. So they must be really ready for a warm beach and a cold margarita.
We really need to pinch one or two more in that first half and then rest our key lads, giving the kids some pitch time…
But – 3 points in the back sky, all to play for down Twyfords Lane now that the Shite will have to chase the game.
North London forever…
…and my heart, gets put through the ringer
A win at their place would be the perfect way to clinch top 4 but just hope we don’t go gung ho for it. A point there would mean we just need 1 win out of Newcastle and Everton to get it. Saying that there’s no reason we can’t go there and beat them after our recent wins.
Going to be interesting, given that they will have to be increasingly aggressive as the 0-0 wears on. Which means the one thing we must NOT do is concede early to take the pressure off ’em… gobshites!
One man I don’t want to have in my friends list…is the man who advised Alex Oxlade Chamberlain to join the Mug smashers….
Man…what was he thinking?
Yeah, I’m sure he’s devastated with those premier league and champions league winners medals.
Yes the medals must be nice, but he is mostly watching his team mates winning them.
Is that how medals suppose to be won…?
What were YOU thinking?
He was thinking he was an overrated and injury prone player and Liverpool were prepared to cough up £35 million. He’s failed to make an impact at Liverpool so it was a great piece of business.
I don’t care how you do it on Thursday, please just win!
Celebrating St Totteringhams Day at their toilet stadium (the first time we play there in front of fans?) would be amazing!
That lot doesn’t have fans, they’re crusty turds clinging on as the Arsenal come to flush em down on Thursday!!
The derby draw 4:4 like in the g olde n, days would be enough for me 🤔😍
BLOGS…any chance u could send me the link to the new gooners chant u posted afew days back,can’t find it…..COYG…in Mikel we trust…top man
Here you go: https://arseblog.com/2022/04/north-london-forever-an-anthem-emerges/och
Anyone know how to get this as a ringtone?
I had hoped we had gone harder for more goals after the red card and get our goal differential higher (though likely won’t matter in the end) and also to put the game away, but just didn’t play with as much intensity the final 2/3’s of the match and of course Xhaka was doing his best to even up the numbers by trying to get into a fight and get a red card. In the end though the most important thing right now is getting points which we did while Spurs lost points. If we can get the win on… Read more »
Just don’t lose on Thursday, please! – that could mean having to win at Newcastle and then relegation fighting Everton. My nerves are shredded already.
Personally, I think Everton will be safe by then. If they’re not, then there’s a decent chance that means Burnley got a result of some kind at Tottenham. But either way, let’s just win Thursday and make it a moot point!!
Find a way to win Thursday and I don’t think anyone will give a rats ass regarding the ups and downs of the season.
This team never does things the easy way. They just don’t.
I hope they prove me wrong on Thursday and smash Spurs to settle our return to Champions League, then catch Chelsea for third place.
The difference now is that they are winning the hard way instead of losing the easy way
Whilst we should remember we are in only one competition, lots to be positive with recent performances. We look strong now for a CL spot (Just one point off Chelsea)…imagine had we won two of Soton, Brighton or Watford? It will give us an opportunity to reinforce this summer. Still prefer us to get in someone with experience to work market over Edu. We will need to reinforce in several areas outstanding since last summer – Likely Laca will leave. If Eddie stays, we will have to add one more, preferably IMO someone with a bit more height. Nunez for… Read more »
Brighton nullified Spurs’ threat brilliantly while maintaining control the whole game. We are not there yet but with Tomi and El Neny in the team, we have a good chance. Just start well and get the first goal.
Spurs play well on the counter but suffer against a team set up to defend. Since we don’t need to go for it, we should sit back and hit them on the break. We have the players to do it.
No Odegaard? Are you mad…..?!
If you’re going to play three at the back, then ditch Cedric – who is an accident waiting to happen – and play Saka as a right wng back and Tommi as a left wing back.
Then you play Odegaard behind Eddie and Martinelli.
After a little blip a few weeks ago I’m of the opinion Eddie should be given a new contract. Whilst maybe not prolific enough for a nailed on first choice he’s demonstrated he can be very handy up top.
Arteta clearly wants him to stay. It’s just whether he really wants to leave himself or if it was all about getting minutes whenhe rejected the contract before.
He has a spikiness I like.
He has a new contract.
He’s just refused to sign it and made up his mind to go elsewhere – unless Arteta can convince him otherwise.
And Eddie might want to play Champions League football!