Today, I eat a humble pie and for my bad verses about Arsenal’s game against Leicester last week, for which I was pilloried by some Arsenal fans such as Joseph, who told me that his mail would make sense after 90 minutes, and Wanangwa Chafulumira, who had to look for me on Tuesday, I say congratulations. We are just supporters aren’t we?
I dedicate this entry to Arsenal fans and in particular to Atate Patrick Manja, the guest writer this week, one of my fiercest critics but a rare sober Gunners fan on football planet. I choose to be a reader this week. Enjoy.
I am only writing today as a guest and do not want to turn tables and overthrow the government of the column. The owner of the plot is a very good friend of mine and decided to lend me his pen today. I have shared these sentiments with him over time, he sometimes listens to me. He mostly agrees with me but often also loses his reason to his fanaticism.
I would like to disagree with his thoughts last week about Leicester. I laughed out loud when on Monday I read that ‘Atate’, as I also fondly call him, had predicted that Arsenal, my colours would actually lose that fixture. I never expected him to make such a flimsy prediction, but on that fated day..his red blood had the better of his reason.
I have often told my landlord here that Arsene Wenger (AW) is good at over preparing for big games where the odds are against him and under-preparing for games that are easy on paper. He has shown it this season and before. The double over Vardy troops should also be remembered in the context of massive first time away wins to Bayern Munchen, Borrusia Dortmund, AC Milan (in the UCL ), among others, records that were pitted against English teams then.
I had it in mind that Arsenal would win against Claudio Ranieri’s team. AW has such a record against him; Claudio has not beaten him in nine attempts now. I digressed.
The win over Leicester last weekend has such a thrilling bearing on the season. While the focus of most anti-Gunners fans is Leicester to win it, they forget that their rich neighbours the Citizens would also win it with a fluke. All teams in the top four have an equal chance of nicking it in the end. It would just take one slip up and that table would appear differently. No one is favourite.
Many Arsenal faithful may also not stomach the thought of Leicester winning the league when they topped the table for such a spell. I have always argued that what lacks in our dressing room is the mentality to keep winning. We always seem afraid of leading and want to chase. This picture has been familiar through and through. Arsenal still have a chance of winning it though as long as they build on that win. In my opinion, that stupid loss to Southampton was the trigger of a poor run. The painful reality for Arsenal fans, however, should be to see Tottenham Hotspur winning the league. The other club from North London has always been in our shadows but been a pain in derbies. I never imagined they would rise to this level where they would compete at the league level. But here they are. They could benefit from slip ups of the other three. I cannot stand the thought of a single Daniel Levy steering that small club to such levels. The league is anybody’s to win in that top four.