To say that few people were not impressed with us last night is an understatement and that certainly includes the pundits, notably the incorrigible pair of Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville on SkySports.
Let’s be honest, they have never been enamoured with Arsenal, especially this team and so they were never going to come out and say anything positive, though, on this occasion, it has been made easy for them.
Carragher does not see us as favourites to finish in the top four and remains convinced that it is our away form that will undo us. He said: ‘No they’re not favourites. I said before, I didn’t think they’d get in the top four because of their away form. I didn’t expect them to win tonight, obviously the circumstances have gone with them tonight. Unai Emery is not soft, that was a great result, but not a great performance. That doesn’t matter. The fact the opposition team were down to ten men and probably should have got something, that’ll be a worry for the other away games. You look at the home games and think they’ll look after themselves for Arsenal. But the away games, you still feel they’ll have to win one of them. Looking at it… they should win one out of three, with the team Arsenal have, but you’d still fear for them away from home. Six points for me is a guarantee and that gets them to 72. Whether they could pick up another three or four points, that would be enough. But they’re not easy games away from home.’
Neville took a different tact, he actually thinks we are performing brilliantly because, in his opinion, we are a far inferior team than Man Utd or Chelsea. He said about on Arsenal’s performance this season: ‘I think I said before the game, for them to be where they are with a game in hand over Chelsea, navigating the Europa League – we’ve always talked about how difficult it is to play Thursday and Sundays. I think it’s a brilliant performance when you think of Chelsea and Manchester United have spent a fortune. Chelsea have the better squad, with Eden Hazard. Arsenal are nowhere near that. When you look at that Arsenal team… there’s a lot of questions to have answered. You think of Ramsey leaving, of Ozil, the defenders, the midfielders still don’t look right, you’re not convinced about the goalkeeper, the full-backs look like they could change every week and yet, he’s getting that level of performance out them. I think it’s a brilliant performance.’
What irritates me is that yes, we have some tough teams to play away, yes, our away form is bad but have they not seen Man Utd’s run in, have they not seen how poor Chelsea can be on occasions, both home and away, have they not clicked on that we actually have a game in hand over Chelsea and are above them?
No it would seem, it is when it comes to Arsenal that they get all negative with their analysing, we are were we after 33 games, their is a reason for that and that is despite our away form we have still had a better season than United and Chelsea and so if we have issues in our run in, what about that pair.
We shall just have to prove them wrong won’t we?