This is it. This is the one we've had circled since the fixtures werepk first released, the one on which we have pinned all of our hopes and dreams. It would be a clash between two—oh, sorry. Those are my notes on next week's match, the one at the Etihad. This one may lack the marquee billing, but it more than makes up for that in significance. While there was once a time when we could look past Norwich's visit, but we have to seize all three or see an already lack-lustre season slip away all the more.
30 April 2016
24 April 2016
To have watched the match against Sunderland was akin to inhabiting a parallel universe, a bizarro-world in which Sunderland were fighting for a top-three finish and Arsenal were staving off relegation. Yes, Arsenal dominated possession, but the lion's share of chances went to the Black Cats. Were it not for Defoe's wastefulness or Čech's class, we would have left the Stadium of Light empty-handed. As it stands, we escaped with a point we scarcely deserved but sorely need. Instead of standing two points clear of Man City, we're now level on points and trailing on goal-difference. With Man U in the FA Cup final, Liverpool in the Europa League semifinal, and Man City in the Champions League semifinal, all bets are off. Fourth in the Prem assures us nothing. To paraphrase the American satirist Mark Twain, rumours or the club's death are greatly exaggerated.
In a match that looked for a long, long time like it was Sunderland seeking a top-three finish and Arsenal mired in a relegation scrap, Gooners' frustrations had to boil over time and time again. While it's true that Mannone came up with a few fine saves, we failed to really ask any stern questions of him, and the fact that we coldn't score on one of the Prem's leakiest defenses asks plenty of questions of us. The fact that our most-vital performances from Koscielny and Čech indicates how poor we often were going forward and how careless we were tracking back. If Jermaine Defoe had been a little less, well, Defoe, Sunderland might have claimed a few goals. If there was a highlight to point to, it have ceom through the appearance of Jack Wilshere. Four added minutes seemed only to inspired the Black Cats into seeking a glorious winner. Fortunately for Arsenal, it was not to be, and the Gunners might be lucky to have escaped with the point. We'll look at the deeper ramifications of that later. For now, get down to the poll to rate the lads...