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Arsenal fans celebrate the small victories

Watford and Wolves give Arsenal fans something to cheer.

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ARSENAL V LEICESTER Photo by Sean Dempsey - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Arsenal fans were feeling cautiously optimistic recently as the team began 2020 without a loss. That renewed confidence quickly faded last week after the Gunners put in an abject performance in the second leg of their Europa League tie with Olympiacos. The team’s failure to make it past the round of 32 has only magnified the problems that Mikel Arteta has inherited.

To say it has been a difficult season would be an understatement. At times the team has played brilliantly and then suddenly the same group of players can’t pass, defend set pieces or break down defenses. Supporters have once again put titles and European glory on hold. Instead the fans have had to celebrate smaller achievements; some of which are due to the failings of other teams.

This weekend gave Gooners the chance to rejoice over a record that will not be broken. It also increased the odds that Arsenal fans will celebrate the return of a once yearly holiday that has not been observed in three seasons.

On Saturday, Watford hosted Liverpool. It seemed a far-gone conclusion by most that Liverpool would easily walk away with the points. Instead the Hornets surprisingly outclassed Jurgen Klopp’s side and handed Liverpool its first loss of the season. While no one is ready to build a statue to Troy Deeney and his teammates, Watford’s win was seen as a victory for Arsenal. It meant that Liverpool could not equal or surpass Arsenal’s 2003-04 undefeated season or the Gunner’s run of 49 matches without defeat. Gooners everywhere rejoiced and celebrated Invincibles Day.

On Sunday, Tottenham threw away two leads and ending up losing at home 2-3 to Wolves. Spurs loss means that Arsenal trail their rivals by just three points with a game in hand. After all the talk of a “power shift” in North London, Arsenal fans are hoping they can regain their rightful place and longtime advantage over Spurs. The last time that Arsenal were able to celebrate St. Totteringham’s Day was May 15, 2016. They’d also celebrated every season since 1995. What would make this year’s St. Totteringham’s Day celebration even sweeter is the fact that it would come at the expense of one Mr. Jose Mourinho. Plus, after Spurs went to last year’s Champions League final, it would mean that they have come right back down to earth and that the natural order of things has been restored.

The sad reality is that this season’s Arsenal side have under-performed. They currently sit in tenth position, have been knocked out of Europe, and have a lot to do if they want European football next season. Gooners would much rather be celebrating an Arsenal achievement like a title or a trophy rather than the failings of other teams. But for now, that will have to do. Until Arteta leads the club back to the top (or at least the Champions League places and a good ole’ Fourth Place Trophy), it’s small victories for us. And remember, schadenfreude is like candy. It’s sweet and enjoyable for a while, but you can’t live off it.