I want to draw your attention to some statements/claims made by some people this season and how true they hold as we move towards the end of the season.
Statement/Claim I (Manu manager on spending money to build a team): We are building a team to beat Barcelona and we want to be the best in Europe.
Reality: Manu couldn't even pass the Champions League group stages, after having beaten comprehensively by Basel. Now they are even out of Europa, after a worse defeat against Athletic Bilbao!
Statement/Claim II (Evra talks about chances in the Europa League): Europa will be a two horse race, between City and United.
Reality: Both horses out of the race.
Statement/Claim III (Vincent Kompany on Europa League finals):A ManC vs Manu Europa final would be bigger than the Champions League final.
Reality: What a pity! You need to actually get through to the finals for that to happen.
Moral: Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.
Teams have grown over-confident of themselves, under estimating opponents. Just because you are a Champions League team, doesn't automatically make you the best team in Europa League, remember you are CL drop outs! Hope the reality has shaken them and opened their eyes to the world around.
Normally, I wouldn't have delved in to other teams misery, but Arsenal have been criticised so many times in the past for their methods and policies that there was a need for a reality check. Maybe EPL is the best league in Europe, maybe even the world, but when it comes to playing football, I think Spanish and Italian teams do it beautifully. We have been called as a "training club", "a group of kids", by a lot of people and I remember Evra saying this during the last season. I am sure he would have realised last night that his adulthood is not going to win him any matches, after suffering a torrid time from Athletic B.'s wingers.Anyways, the results say it all and both Manchester teams are only after one thing now, that is the EPL title.
Back to Arsenal, there have been a lot of positive aura surrounding the club right now and people are talking about the new found belief at Arsenal. The fans have been getting behind their team a lot and the support after the recent displays has been roaring, I have never heard the Emirates being so loud!
When the fans feel that the vibes are right they stand behind the team and support the team. With the recent history of the team having been more positive, the fans have more reason to believe that they can support the team and that they will win the game. But the dynamic always has to come from the team.I am glad the team has responded well to criticism, and there is only so much you can handle. The team needed to have that belief in themselves about their ability, and that's the biggest achievement for them. It was not so long back when some low-lives had ruled Arsenal out of a Champions League spot for next year, and here they are ready to snatch the third spot from another over confident bunch of people.
Chelsea were the only English team to show some progress in Europe, after qualifying for the quarter finals. The draws were announced and Madrid have a fairly easier target against APOEL while Barca drew against A.C. Milan in the quarters. While Chelsea have a tricky opponent in Benfica, the Bavarians will play against Marseille. It feels a bit odd with Chelsea being the only English team to proceed out of the last 16.
But now, Arsenal can concentrate solely on the Premier League, which will give time for the players to rest after every match. Arsene has cautioned against taking opponents lightly and focus on what is important, which is carrying the momentum in to further games.
Sometimes there are games that you think will be difficult but they are slightly easier than expected, and sometimes the easy game is harder than expected. You don't make any plans. The only thing we know is what is needed from us: to be at our best no matter what people say about the situation.
If you look at the matches we have lost this season, many of those would have been expected to be won by us quite easily, but still we lost those. Although, it looks a completely different team now. It looks more ruthless and unforgiving.
Perry Groves, a former Gunner, says,
The resilience is back after the disappointing results against AC Milan [in the first leg] and Sunderland. They are playing the Arsenal way and they have that bit of belief.Suddenly all these positive statements are coming out of every corner, and it's refreshing to hear some good stuff about this great club. Surely the players are aware of this adulation and the history that surrounds this club. Hope they continue what they are doing and bring back the golden days to the Emirates.