So you’re telling me there’s a chance?!

by & filed under News Review.

Please enjoy this months instalment of guest post goodness from Jonathan Blaustein.

It’s Wednesday afternoon, February 27th.

Given the time difference, I guess it’s already the last day of February, over there in England.

Which would make tomorrow March. (For you Londoners. Confused yet?)

I’ve just watched Arsenal dismantle Bournemouth 5-1, which means that in the past 7 days, the Gunners have beaten BATE, Southampton and Bournemouth by a cumulative score of 10-1.

A cynic would say… yes, and we should be beating crap teams that badly. Said cynic might add, and by the way, we should have put 5 or 6 by Southampton too, and a better team would have done just that.

Today, though, I’m reverting back to my pragmatic optimism. I admit, the winter blues got me down, (like most people,) and Arsenal were always going to drop points during the dark times.

I think most of the big 6 teams dropped points, with the exception of United’s post-evil-Mourinho-bounce.

I’ve preached patience in this column all year, by essentially saying some version of “Let’s wait and see” over and over again. It’s like “Groundhog Day,” if you’re a Gen X-er or “Russian Doll,” for the Millennials. (Got to keep our references topical.)

It’s not that I’ve been hedging my bets.

Rather, I’ve stated from the outset that I’d judge Arsenal’s Post-Arsene rebuild from a context of similar rebuilds in both football, and other sports.

From Day 1, I assumed Emery would have 2-3 years to make a mark, and the Post-Wenger years would not turn into a red & white version of Chelsea, with managers coming and going, despite how much or what they’ve won.

(Who can even remember poor Roberto di Matteo, who won the fucking Champions League and still couldn’t keep his job.)

Whether Sarri makes it until the end of May, much less deep into the year, is an open question. But he probably did us a solid today by beating Tottenham, thereby placing them within 1 point, with a victory on Saturday morning. (5:30 am MST.)

And that last graph is all the segue I need to make my main point today.

Here we are, on the cusp of spring, and Arsenal are actually IN the Top 4.

Not chasing. Not hoping.

In.

Sure, we can fuck it up.

But we’re also in the last 16 of the Europa League, with a fairly easy draw into the quarter finals. (Unlike Pedro, I haven’t seen even a minute of Rennes this year, so of course I’m taking them lightly.)

If the question was always, could Emery step in, improve the team, and give us a chance through either, or both, routes to the Champions League, than we have our answer, as of now.

Yes.

He can, and has done just that.

His point total is ahead of Wenger’s last season, our road win total is significantly up, and there are more than a handful of players who are doing really well, when they’re out there with consistency.

Here’s my list of current, in form, Arsenal squad members: Alex Iwobi, Bernd Leno, Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Guendouzi, Torreira, Xhaka, Mhkitaryan, PEA, and Lacazette.

Add in the injured Holding and Hector, and possibilities with youngsters Nelson and Smith-Rowe, and we’ve got the spine of a proper squad on which to build this summer.

I could add the caveat, we’ll see what happens in May, but at this point, short of a total collapse, (losing 8 in a row,) which is not going to happen, Emery has already earned his second year.

I’ve said all along I thought his odds of a #Top4 finish or a Europa League title were realistic, and I stand by that.

If he blows it in both, of course he’ll be on the hot seat next year, for sure.

But the fun in any run-in is the hope.

The whole, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance” moment that sustains our interest through dull games in Belarus.

And as of now, we’ve still got it.

Which is good enough for me, at the moment.

Last thought before I go, in advance of Saturday’s match. We always talk about the globalization of English football, and today, I’ve got the perfect example.

The other day, in my son’s elementary school here in Taos, New Mexico, some Spurs fans were ragging on him about Arsenal.

Talking shit.

So Theo countered that Spurs were a bunch of cheaty divers. When the kids, who didn’t know what they were talking about, doubted him, he pulled up Youtube straight away.

According to my son, there are videos out there for all the big Spurs players diving: Son, Dele Alli and Harry Kane. His evidence was waiting there, and required almost no research at all.

Because everyone (but 5th graders at the edge of the Rocky Mountains) knows that Spurs dive.

Now let’s go crush them at Wembley this weekend!

I’ll see you in March.

Give Jonathan a follow on Twitter @JBlauPhoto

52 Responses to “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?!”

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  1. Just Another Customer

    Yeah loving the optimism and yeah the prospect of getting even into top 3 first year into the transition would have been a dream if you told me that at the start of the season or during the winter. But not getting my hope up too high lest it will come crashing down.

    Just want us to solidify the top 4 spot at this time everything else is just a bonus.

  2. Guns of Hackney

    As predicted. We run over a pub side, Ozil has a field day and all is well again.

    This is why Arsenal as a winning entity is finished. Our expectations have fallen so very low over the years, beating relegation fodder and part timers is considered de riguer. Also, finishing higher than Spurs is NOT and never will be an achievement. Pathetic.

    Oh and by the way, Ozil’s ‘contributions’ only cost the club around £6,000,000 very time he assists or scores.

    Joke club. Joke fans.

  3. Just Another Customer

    Not Pedro by the way it’s that guy whose writing everyone hates due to long winded personal blog instead of about! he club. I’m ok with him tbh as he brings different from Pedro something that we need so that the won’t become stale.

    At least he keeps it Arsenal-related this time!

  4. Ben D

    GOH, what are you even doing on an Arsenal blog? I assume the team you support hasn’t got one.

    Where are all the Pochettino followers who won’t even give Emery a year before writing him off (Pedro, I’m looking in your direction too). If we beat the spuds this weekend, we will be a point behind them. And they are mustard whilst we are crap!!

    This season is as good as we could have hoped for in the first year of our rebuild given how little we spent in the summer. I am optimistic

    Come on you gunners!!! Onwards and upwards

  5. Ben D

    And to frame the optimism as being a result of spanking Bournemouth is disingenuous. The optimism is a result of being 4th at the end of Feb, in our first year of rebuild, in a year where the league is ultra competitive, and still in with a chance of progressing in the Europa league.

  6. Guns of Hackney

    Ben D

    I have a local team and no, they don’t have a blog. However, I do have 35 years of arsenal support under my belt.

    I guess I have adhere to much higher standards than you.

  7. kenyangunner

    Guns of HackneyFebruary 28, 2019 08:13:42
    As predicted. We run over a pub side, Ozil has a field day and all is well again.

    A pub team that beat Chelsea 4-0

  8. Guns of Hackney

    And I knew you were an anti-Semite. Here’s a suggestion. Go and start queuing for that stale bread that Greggs throw out at the end of the day, you communist peasant.

    I doubt you have a job but if you do…have a shower and put some deodorant on. As a labour supporter, I imagine personal hygiene is not top of your to do list. Your colleagues will thank you.

  9. mysticleaves

    ‘But Emery made his big move, tanked and is now back at a upper-middle class club.’

    Tanked? that kind tanking. Every manager would like to tank like that. Cos someone doesn’t win the UCL doesn’t mean they tanked.

    To answer CCs question on who’s better between Emery and Poch, Emery is better. Emery has done everything Poch did and even more. Check their careers, even minus Emery’s trophy count

  10. mysticleaves

    Good guest post by Jonathan by the way. Definitely better than the last.

    I found that no one talked about Ozils goal? The way he hit the ball was genius. He’s done it before, scores and gives passes like that, all disguised. That’s how talented he is. Also I noticed, with the last match and this, he was full of running. Putting himself about and not shirking challenges. Long may it continue

  11. Pierre

    Ben D
    GOH is just being realistic, until we see an upturn in our away form then expectations should be restrained.

    Beating Bate,Southampton and Bournemouth were exactly the type of results and performances that would keep our previous manager in employment.

    I see no reason why we have to go to Wembley at the weekend with a negative attitude ..we should play our most creative players , we should look to be proactive whenever possible and we need to give the opposition something to think about.

    Tottenham’s confidence has taken a knock in the past week and we should capitalise on the situation by playing fast expansive football instead of retreating into our shell as has been the case in recent months away from home.

    We will see what type of manager Emery is with his team selection this weekend, will probably play wing backs , will probably bring in the workers like iwobi and possibly Ramsey and will probably be pragmatic.

    This formation,tactics and personnel has not worked in recent months , we have looked devoid of creativity and ideas offensively and have been weak in possession and lacking any control in our football.

  12. Emiratesstroller

    Emery and many of the so-called supporters who post on Le Grove are learning a hard lesson that there is no substitute for “class”.

    Ozil is one of the few experienced players on our books with that commodity and Emery’s refusal to play him in games until now has in my view cost the team and not the player.

    Everyone knows what are Ozil’s shortcomings specifically he does not play high octane football and is not a tackler, but what he does deliver is skill,
    craft and above all a “meaningful” passing game.

    Arsenal’s nadia performance was the away game against BAT and that told you
    how poor Arsenal were in Ozil’s absence. The midfield hit a brick wall against
    a poor team.

    If you want to build a successful team with Ozil included then we need to improve the defensive side of game. That is where Arsenal come up short as
    the goals conceded column over last two to three years proved.

    Our offensive game with both Aubameyang and Lacazette is fairly lethal. Only
    Man City and Liverpool have scored more and if we were more solid at the
    back I am pretty sure our attack would score even more goals, because they
    can focus more on that job rather than having to come back from deep positions.

    Arsenal should play a diamond formation in midfield. Whilst I believe that
    Guendouzi has great potential he is still inexperienced and prone to silly
    mistakes. In the meantime we need to recruit another central midfielder
    so that we can rotate more in back three positions.

    Dennis Suarez is certainly not the player to solve that problem. My personal
    view is that Arsenal should go for Rabiot who is available on Bosman. Securing
    him might be feasible providing we secure Champions League Football and that would afford us four options in squad to play in three Defensive/Central
    midfield positions.

    As I pointed out on many occasions to those who wish to offload Ozil the best
    route is to play him. Good performances will result in other clubs willing to
    take the player off our books. Sitting at home like a couch potato will not.

  13. Dark Hei

    mystic

    He was fired from his job. Lets not pretend it was all great because some parts of it were not flattering at all.

    He tanked. Arsenal tanked too.

    Now we are building our futures together. He needed us and we needed him.

    Winning 5-1 and getting into the top 4 is the first step of recovery for both of us.

  14. gambon

    I don’t think we will be finishing top 4 im afraid.

    Last night was actually a bit of a disaster.

    We were always going to beat Bournemouth, although the extra GD comes in handy.

    But UTD and Chelsea won significantly tougher matches than us. I thought both teams would drop points.

    UTD are just playing too well for us to beat them to 4th.

    We had the easiest 12 game run in of the 3 teams fighting for 4th, but now with 10 games to go we don’t have an advantage, because we’ve just played our 2 easiest games of the run in.

    We have tough games away from home, and we won’t win many of them.

    There’s some hope if we can beat Spurs on Saturday, as then we are playing for 3rd and 4th – but I fully expect us to shit ourselves and get well beaten.

  15. gambon

    Redtruth

    Liverpool 5 – Arsenal 1
    Chelsea 3 – Arsenal 2
    City 3 – Arsenal 1
    Southampton 3 – Arsenal 2
    West Ham 1 – Arsenal 0
    Palace 2 – Arsenal 2

    Emerys Arsenal can’t handle tough away games.

    We’re flat track bullies, like Wengers teams in recent years.

    Problem is we have hardly any easy games left.

    Our 6 remaining away games are Spurs, Watford, Everton, Leicester, Wolves and Burnley.

    We won’t win more than 2 of them.

  16. gambon

    Receding

    Where did I say ‘any’ you absolute re.tard.

    See you’re still on here 24 hours a day arguing with everyone.

    You must have a great life.

  17. gambon

    Redtruth

    We have 4 home games left.

    You think we are getting CL football with 12 more points?

    Not to mention one of them home games is UTD who easily beat us a few weeks back.

  18. gambon

    Redtruth

    You’re deluded.

    1- We won’t win all 4 home games
    2- We will lose at least one more game this season

    We couldn’t beat Bate Borisov away.

    How are we going to win 3 of Spurs, Everton, Wolves, Watford, Leicester and Burnley?

  19. gonsterous

    Why are people always moaning here ? get some optimism in your life lads. Get into the top 4 people moan about the up coming fixtures, get out of the top 4 and people moan about the team.
    Get to the Transfer window and people moan about the TW. Win, people moan, lose, people moan, draw, people moan. Yet to see any sort of positive posts from a lot of you.

  20. salparadisenyc

    Think gambon has a point there, United keep on getting the results for Ole and thats the main worry. Unless we see a Spursy meltdown which looks somewhat on at the moment opening up 3rd its going to be tricky.

    Much hinges on Saturday morning, we need to get off to quick start and put fear and doubt into them. Bit of an acid test for Emery, well see if he lines up for the win or goes mental with defensive numbers. Bravado required to win the NLD.

  21. ddkingz

    @Gambon…..

    are you this useless on a faceless forum, or you are also totally useless in every facet of life….????????????

    please answer this.

    always ranting like a…..

    you want to be the first to say I told you so…

    or are you now representing CG, while he is in Siberia????

  22. ddkingz

    not losing the spuds shite is the first step towards our objective for the season…..

    Chelsea playing fulham is just a walk in the park for them…..

    so a minimum of 3-4pts between the spuds and manure is all we need…. though trying to get all 6pts won’t make us look greedy😁

  23. Ben D

    ‘Why are people always moaning here ? get some optimism in your life lads. Get into the top 4 people moan about the up coming fixtures, get out of the top 4 and people moan about the team.
    Get to the Transfer window and people moan about the TW. Win, people moan, lose, people moan, draw, people moan. Yet to see any sort of positive posts from a lot of you. ‘

    Lol…. Well said gonsterous

  24. Ben D

    ‘Beating Bate,Southampton and Bournemouth were exactly the type of results and performances that would keep our previous manager in employment.’

    Pierre, are these the only matches we’ve played this season? We are 4th at the end of Feb, and it’s a season 2 other teams have their best points tally in a long while and Man City are in a class of their own. Some of you just gonna moan, I guess