Now that's a gap
Arsenal's players turned in another gritty effort last night to get the three points. With this win we have now gone above Tottenham and it feels rather good. We've heard a lot from that mob over the past few months. Their favourite attempt at winding us up came with their "mind the gap" nonsense. Now that there is no gap it has all gone rather quiet. However, I am not comfortable with the way in which a large number of Gooners are now berating the Spurs fans in a similarly premature manner.
Last night I think most of us were more than happy to rub their noses in it with regards to the "gap" etc. It's fair to say that, having thought they would win the Premier League, and that they were now far superior to Arsenal, the mugs have brought a little light ribbing upon themselves. There is absolutely no problem with that, and the sport of getting them to bite every time never becomes any less amusing. There is a problem, though, with assuming Arsenal have now done the job. The fact is that there are still nine games to go and our luck (which has been very much in of late) could change back to what it was around Christmas when no decisions, and no results, were going our way at all. The profligacy we show in front of goal, which was prevalent again in the early stages at Everton, could still come back to haunt us.
One more thing that is bugging me about the attitude of a lot of Arsenal fans is the fact that they are actively celebrating us being in third place in the Premier League. We are 15 points off the lead for God's sake. This is not something to celebrate in the grand scheme of things. Yes, in the situation we found ourselves after 40 minutes of the Tottenham home game, it seems a quite spectacular achievement to be where we are now, but it really is not to a Club of Arsenal's stature. The day that finishing above Spurs, and maybe scraping a place in the Champions League, is seen as a genuine cause for major celebration is the day that we sink to their level of ambition.
Last night on the social networking sites there were a lot of people (most of them annoying student types, Tarquin's, Henrietta's and JCL's) giving off about Wenger, and how he had proved everyone wrong. Apparently those of us who believe he should be moved on "have been made to look stupid." These people fail to grasp the reality that celebrating being third is a symptom of the Club we are becoming. The reason we are so far off the pace in the League is that the Manager failed to do his job properly, and has done for a number of years now. If we do get a top three/four finish it will indeed be a surprise. Everyone wrote us off this season, including me - I couldn't see us finishing any higher than sixth. However, that doesn't excuse the fact that, had proper transfer business been done in recent seasons, we would once again have been waltzing away with the Premier League. If Wenger achieves a Champions League spot with this squad it will show that he is a fine Manager. But I would question why he should choose, therefore, to hamstring himself by not bringing in the sort of quality we need to challenge. If he can do it with this lot, just imagine what he'd have done with a couple more top players at his disposal.
What I'm trying to say is that the crowing at the Spurs fans, and the back-biting over the Manager should be put to one side. There are still nine games to go, so let's do our shouting at Tottenham, and our "I'm right and you're wrong about Wenger" arguing until we've secured a decent end to the season. Believe me, an injury or two to the wrong player(s) and Arsenal could just as easily collapse again. There is still a long way to go.