We couldn’t utter it, lest we be called fickle and our fan-hood diminished to naught but we all, to varied intensity, could hear the whispers of defeat from afar even as we trudged down to the Etihad. Such is Manchester City’s home-form this season; putting four, six, and seven past Man U, Spurs and Norwich respectively were enough pointers to suggest they are a different kind of animal when hunting in their den. Yet, we held out for some hope. After all, the above-mentioned victims of their bullying were, at best, mid-table teams and it is now up to us league-leaders to try put out their petrol-fuelled raging fire.
In hindsight, we didn’t do much wrong with our tinted optimism, under different circumstances we might well have done the unexpected as we’ve shown a penchant for in the recent past. A myriad of reasons have since been attributed to the loss: fatigue, poor-officiating and bad tactics – chief among them but, perhaps, it would be better if we hold our hands up and admit that Manchester City, on the day, had more in their armory than Arsenal did. Not to the discount the afore-mentioned reasons and more: Wilshere, Monreal, Ozil and Giroud had a rather forgettable day as to their performances but the collective display had little to cheer about as well. Walcott was perhaps the shining light in an otherwise bleak afternoon. Ramsey did run around a bit, Sagna was his quietly reliable self and Mertesacker’s most notable contribution came at the final whistle, the referee and his aides were a bit rubbish…
Predictably, the ‘the more signing’ brigade have gotten into character act: to question the team’s quality altogether after two dodgy performances would be grossly misplaced and too convenient albeit, some fans would point at Manchester City’s much-acclaimed depth as their proof for what money can buy. Leaving out the small bit of if Arsenal had such deep pockets, such viewpoint is rather jaundiced as it would be viewing yesterday’s result in isolation as our relatively lean squad, under same conditions, have accrued more points than City’s this season.
That said, you get the sense that we are heading into the most crucial part our season and how we come out of this bit of mess would determine where we finish in May. Our resolve is being tested harder now than ever. It will take something special in a world-class signing or, what I would call, world-class players mentality to affirm our status as not mere title contenders but the team to beat to the title. This race is a marathon to dwell on yesterday’s result would be treating it as a sprint – the next bend to turn look like some cunts in Blue.
‘til next time, be a fan…and a supporter