08 February 2014

Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal: Five things we learned

It's after results like this one that the scales really from the ol' eyes, don't they. Indeed, verily, the season now lays in shambles at our feet. Making matters worse, the squad is so piss-poor that they can't even kick away any of the rubble. Yup. We can drop the fa├žade. The pretense is over. We were never serious title-contenders, and today's result was a long time coming and proof-positive that we were mere pretenders to the throne. It's time, then, to take stock of what remains of our season.
  1. Liverpool is capable of scoring a lot of goals.
    Oh, wait. We knew that, didn't we? I guess this list of mine is off to a poor start. Kind of like today's match, come to think of it. While we did well to shut down Suarez again, holding him scoreless for 180+ minutes, we let our guard drop on set-pieces, and the floodgates opened with two set-piece goals from Skrtel inside of ten minutes. Was Skrtel a little bit offsides on the first one? Sure, but that doesn't matter because we're so terrible that even the refs won't help us out.

  2. Eighteen minutes and 23 seconds is all it takes to make accurate predictions about the season.
    True. Nevermind the 38-game season. The first 18 minutes, 23 seconds of this match is all we need to predict with 100% certainty that Arsenal deserve to be relegated, Arsene has no idea how to run a club, Ozil is a waste of money, Giroud is a terrible, terrible human being, and Arteta should retire. In fact, Arsenal FC itself should be liquidated and all of its assets sold off. Along similar lines, we can forgo the remaining 13 matches as it's clear that Liverpool now deserve to be champions. Any other conclusion that seeks a more nuanced understanding of the match clearly comes from someone who knows less about football than Piers Morgan.

  3. Arsenal is frightfully fragile.
    The players? Maybe. The fans? Certainly. Judging by twitter and reddit, the loss completely and utterly exposed us for frauds, capable only of beating teams fighting relegation and just lucky to be on the pitch against a side as inestimable and invincible as the one we just faced. Why, it was a 3rd round FA Cup match between a Prem club and some League 2 outfit. Because I am incapable of forming opinions of my own, or to draw evidence from any other source, I have no choice but to accept the judgement handed from the twitterazzi. The idea that this might have been a freak confluence of factors, an admittedly embarrassing one at that, is just too outlandish to entertain. Anyone who refuses to admit that we are complete and utter shite belongs to the hapless, deluded AKB crowd, not worth the saliva it would take to spit on.

  4. We were fooling ourselves with all of that "We are top of the league" and "we're undefeated with Kos/Per" stuff.
    The critics were right, after all. Being top of the league after 18 of 25 matchdays proves absolutely nothing about our quality or ability to challenge for the Prem title. All of that talk of how well the Kos/Per partnership has performed was nothing but a pack of lies. They each must have been playing out of their minds or hopped up on goofballs or something, because there's no way that they could have performed that well for that long on anything resembling skill or effort. Now that the truth is out, we'll probably revert to form and go on to lose every single remaining match by three goals or more. The karmic debt we've incurred through all of that chanting and singing has come back to haunt us, and Saturday's result is just the beginning of the repayment plan.

  5. We can kiss all hope of any silverware good-bye for another ten years.
    After all, Liverpool will come to town next weekend and pick up right where they left off, and we'll be out of the FA Cup. Then, Bayern will add misery to miseries by steamrolling us in the first leg, rendering the second leg moot. In between, we'll lose at home to Man U and end the season on a winless streak that well see us end right where we: at 55 points. This might good enough to maybe see us finish 7th, far higher than we deserve. No football ever has lost this badly. Ever.
I've been practicing the art of under-reacting, by the way. Imagine what I'd be saying without that mindset.

In other news, something known as "the table" still shows us in second place, a mere point behind Chelsea. Somehow, a lot us have latched onto the idea that losing on the road to a very dangerous team is more damaging to our long-term prospects than drawing at home to a very feeble team (as Chelsea did 10 days ago) or drawing on the road to an even-worse Norwich (as Man City did today). Yes, they "kept" a point in those matches, but they each also dropped two points that truly are inexcusable. Don't let the severity of our loss to Liverpool symbolize more than it should. Yes, we came out poorly and were punished for it. There is no 25th-week trophy, so as gory as the headlines will be over the next 12-24 hours, the fundamentals haven't changed all that much. We knew we would drop points, and we had to know we wouldn't simply stay top of the table all the way through. Chelsea now has an inside-track, but a narrow one at that, and what was a three-team race still looks to very much the same as it did yesterday.

The last time we lost like this, after all, we reeled off eight wins and two draws in our next ten. I'm not saying we'll repeat the feat. I'm just suggesting that death-spirals are not in the cards for this squad.