On Saturday we see the first meaningful league clash between Arsenal and Liverpool for quite some time and it is very much a top of the table six pointer: and we haven’t had one of those for a while. Both clubs are looking to restore the glory years and this season is huge for both of us, possibly more so for Liverpool who, by their own admission, have drifted further from the standards that they once held.
The loss against Chelsea has been and gone and losing is not habit forming if you take losing in context. Losing in the League Cup to a poor lower division side last season is not like losing to the team below you in the league who have a deeper squad. Put simply Chelsea were better and they won because they were better and we made errors. It wasn’t a capitulation or a humiliation it was simply a loss in a competition that is fourth in the pecking order. Don’t get me wrong though, I wanted us to win the game and the trophy but a moment’s reflection would tell anyone that we don’t have the capacity to compete on all fronts at the moment.
Now there are three trophies to consider, two of which I consider reasonable targets and one that I think we are not yet ready to mount a serious challenge in.
The two domestic honours are pretty much ‘up for grabs’ for the club that is able to sustain performances from the players that slot into gaps that will be made by inevitable injuries. Injury free the arsenal have as much chance as anyone else and looking back to midweek you begin to acknowledge the value of having players like Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlaine, Flamini and Podolski available as opposed to some of the contingent on show.
My contention is that this squad, although not as gifted as I would like, now have a resilience, and on Saturday I hope to see that resilience come to the fore. After all isn’t this what it’s all about? high stakes top of the table clashes. Remember when we were in the big time? Could this be the start of a return to those days?