That’s what I shrieked at the largely unsympathetic TV as I watched Arsenal lose badly to Southampton (Southampton!) on Boxing Day. There we were with a second golden opportunity this season to beat weak competition and move to the top of the league after Leicester City fell earlier in the day. And for a second time this season, we flubbed it up. Yes, the refereeing was terrible and had some small hand in producing situations that led to at least two of the goals, but the end result was nothing but our own fault. We weren’t good enough on a day when it would really have paid to have been. Forget “not good enough,” we actually weren’t good. If we want to win the league, we must win the easy matches and not just the hard ones. Waiting for others to fail just isn’t going to get the job done.
But as soon as I said out loud “No one is going to hand it to you!” in the 70th minute, I realized that also applied to me. With regard to Big Problem A that I mentioned in my post No feasts in November, the problem that keeps me up at night and makes me miserable during the day and is probably chipping away at my health, that situation must come to an end. And no one will hand me the solution. It will require my own work and creativity, and possibly some collaboration. It’s not yet New Years, but I think I have my resolution. This problem must be in the rear view mirror by the end of 2016, but as importantly, time must be put toward it, starting now.
Today the lads faced Bournemouth at home. Given the large number of matches in close proximity, Arsene Wenger had no choice but to rotate the squad. Undoubtedly, he was hoping for the win on Saturday to be able to comfortably rotate, but he was forced to choose the risk of losing another match over the risk of losing more players to injury. Defensively, Nacho Monreal gave way to Kieran Gibbs and Laurent Koscielny gave way to Gabriel, and in the midfield Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Joel Campbell and Calum Chambers replaced Mathieu Flamini.
It was a gamble that worked in our favor. There were no injuries and we played very well, perhaps better than the 2-0 score would indicate. The angel Gabriel decisively headed in the first goal from a corner kick taken by Özil. It was his first goal in the Premier League. He had a good day defensively as well.
The match has ended less than two minutes ago, and I won’t bother waiting for an official man of the match announcement. If it was not Mesut Özil, there is not an ounce of fairness in this world. He took the corner kick that produced Gabriel’s goal, and scored the second goal. His passing and dribbling was gorgeous all day. He put the ball on a silver platter for his teammates so many times, it would be a shame not to plate up a Gooner Triumphal Feast in his honor, even though I’m working today. (Really! Do you doubt it?)
On a day of nasty freezing rain in Chicago, we’ll go with some comforting German pancakes and sausage.
We end the day in first position, but Leicester has not yet played its 19th match. If they manage to beat Manchester City tomorrow, Leicester City will be back in the lead.
If they don’t manage to win, well, maybe someone is willing to hand it to us. But we must be ready to hold it.
Pictures later from the Gooner Triumphal Feast.
It’s later! The German pancake was delicious. We had it with powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon. There were those at the table who doubted that lemon is an authentic German accompaniment.
We do not care. We are triumphal!