Oh, what was that? We won yesterday? I couldn’t tell, what with all the bitching and whining about a match that happened three weeks ago consuming the conversation.
Did you know that, since that loss at home to Monaco, we’ve won five straight matches in all competitions? In that time, we’ve managed three clean sheets in those five while fielding an apparently decrepit and washed up Per Mertesacker in the back four, and a keeper that many probably believe struggles with basic daily functions.
Since that New Year’s Day loss at Southampton, Arsenal have won 13 matches and lost two. In that time, we beat Manchester City and Manchester United away. Think about that the next time someone tells you Arsenal struggles with top clubs. We went into Monaco yesterday and scored two goals; up until the mighty Arsenal visited, every other Champions League opponent before us managed to score exactly zero goals at the Stade Louis II this season. We’re visiting Wembley in the FA Cup semifinals versus a Reading side we have literally never lost to – ever. We have a couple players injured at the moment, but we’re not stuck in a situation where we have to field players like Armand Traore ever again. Oh, and since that match at White Hart Lane? Where a spunky Spurs side left with three points and a higher table position? Yeah, like you really thought that was going to last. Our season didn't shatter with our exit from the Champions League.
I get it, yesterday was another frustrating Round of 16 exit. It would have been nice if Arsenal didn’t poo their pants at the Emirates back in late February. It’s also, 100%, not indicative of the quality of the players and their overall ability to sustain good runs of form. It’s a knockout competition – a type of playoffs, if you will – that doesn’t always identify its champions as the undisputed best club. I’d love for Arsenal to win the league on a somewhat regular basis, but the realities say our rivals will take them more times than not. Success in the form of trophies or yearly deep runs in European competitions shouldn’t be the starting point for fans. All we can ask for is that we have an overall strong team, with the couple weaknesses in our side being able to be covered up by others around them. Arsenal, largely, can claim to be in that position right now.
So dust off the exit from the Champions League and look at the overall picture. While the campaign’s been an interesting one, giving us crazy low points and pretty awesome highs, we’re in the driver’s seat to qualify for the Champions League for the 16th straight season – only Real Madrid can claim more consecutive Champions League qualifications in the history of the competition. Let’s look forward and start the process of enjoying the run-in to the end of the season, shall we?