27 April 2013

Latics, Latics, Latics!

Oh, you Latics. You very nearly earned the undying love, respect, and devotion of legions of Arsenal fans (and by undying I mean "for the next few weeks"). What a heart-breaking, agonizing outcome. For you, of course. I promise that nothing I say has anything to do with how your match with Spurs affects us. I would never be so insensitive as to view your fixtures with anything resembling that kind of selfishness and narcissism. However, I do have to add that, having come so close to stealing my heart, choosing instead to break it is rather callous, and I may just find myself passive-aggressively rejecting you in the future. Should you come calling at some point in the future, on bended knee, you have only yourselves to blame if we slam the door rudely in your face with not so much as a "how do you do?"

Alright, enough of the cutesy-coo. On one hand, Wigan has done us a bit of a favor by holding Spurs to a draw and forcing them to drop two points, which means we now control our destiny, at least as far as 4th place is concerned. Spurs now sit level on games with us but a point behind, meaning we can match them point for point and stay in 4th. I don't want us settling for that. Not at all. It's therefore  not caddish of me in the least to turn up my nose at Wigan's performance today. They almost literally gifted both goals to Spurs, the first on a hilariously inept exchange between Figueroa and Robles, who tried to clear by blasting the ball directly into Bale, who closed his eyes, stuck out a boot, and opened them to see that he had scored. Wigan equalized before I could finish cursing Spurs out adequately and went ahead just after halftime. For 40 glorious minutes, then, Wigan was in control, only to see everything slip away thanks to a Boyce own-goal in the 89th minute. So, so close to victory that you could see Roberto Martinez starting to feel quite good about staving off relegation. Instead, they'll have to spend another week there as they wait to see how Aston Villa does when they host Sunderland on Monday.

I'm torn between wanting to see Sunderland relegated as punishment for hiring Di Canio and making sure we face a Wigan that has nothing left to play for when we meet on May 14th. If Aston Villa beats Sunderland, they're level at 37 and Wigan lingers in relegation at 32. If Sunderland wins, Wigan clings to hope as Aston Villa stays at 34. I don't know to stick to my principles (Sunderland loses, Wigan's hopes stay alive) or go with my dreams (Sunderland wins, Wigan all-but relegated). All the more reason to stick to Man U on Sunday. If we keep these three points, our path is much, much clearer, and I can keep my principles intact, at least for another week.

On a more-strategic level, Spurs really should have taken all three. Dropping points against relegation-threatened teams is inexcusable for a team fighting to qualify for the Champions League. We've been guilty of it, too, so to keep all three on Sunday could effectively end the debate over who finishes in 4th and allow us to set our sights on solidifying a spot in 3rd place for the second year running. Mph. Come on, you Gunners...