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Sunday 8 May 2016

Con Te Partiro

It nearly always rains in Manchester
As beautiful as it was to hear Andrea Bocelli serenading the Foxes fans at the King Power on Saturday, their duly euphoric celebrations of this fairy tale Premiership triumph made for particularly painful viewing, knowing full well that yesterday’s encounter at Man City really should’ve been this season’s climactic title decider.

However while we might’ve witnessed a meeting of the two sides that, on paper at least, both contain the quality necessary to reign supreme, sadly there proved to be a lamentable absence of the sort of intensity and appetite for Sunday’s stroll in the sunshine, which ably demonstrated why both sides failed miserably to live up to our lofty expectations.

I’m certainly not moaning, since it was only a couple of weeks back when the Gunners already appeared doomed to suffer the ignominious fate of ending this season trailing in the wake of the Pochettino inspired renaissance at White Hart Lane. In truth, I’d already resigned myself to finishing below Spurs and was consoling myself with the thought that, compared to the excruciating prospect of the old enemy piping Leicester to the post, throwing my Spurs pals this rare bone, only the once every couple of decades would really be no big deal.

I would’ve bitten your hand off back then, if you’d offered me the opportunity to be going into the last game of the season with 2nd place still up for grabs, while savouring the sphincter twitching anxieties of my Lilywhite mates and their dread of another dodgy lasagna.

Nevertheless, after the Saints had truly earned their haloes with their hard-fought triumph in the sweltering heat at Tottenham, I at least expected the Gunners to match the honest attitude shown by Koeman’s team in Sunday’s lunchtime KO. It seems that it was somewhat naïve of me to expect the homegrown likes of Jack Wilshere to be chomping at the bit to kick open the door that Spurs had kindly left ajar.

So while I was happy enough that the Gunners were able to hang on for a point, after twice going behind, it was evident that we only really started playing when we were 2-1 down and my satisfaction with the draw was tinged with disappointment that this was the limit of the Arsenal’s ambition.

Unfortunately our prospects of wrestling 2nd place from Spurs hinge on Wednesday’s game at the Stadium of Light and Everton’s ability to prevent Sunderland from condemning Newcastle to relegation, as we badly need Spurs to be travelling to St James Park on Sunday with the Toon still battling for their Premiership lives.

Nevertheless, although the team might’ve been solely focused on securing guaranteed Champions League football in 3rd place, the renewed hope of the redemption offered by leapfrogging Spurs at the death, seems to have satiated the travelling Gooner faithful, to the extent that the banner boys were shouted down at the Etihad. Yet sadly, no matter what transpires in the final week, nothing can dispel the abiding mood of despair, over quite how badly the Gunners have blown it this season.

I can’t honestly envisage Man Utd pooping the Hammers farewell party at the Boleyn on Tuesday, but it’s nonetheless amusing to think that Guardiola could be taking over a City side deprived of Champions League football, when they were playing for a place in the final only last week. Still with Pep’s much lauded arrival on the Premiership stage and with the changes afoot at all our other traditional competitors, it’s evident that the conflux of circumstances that resulted in their disastrous starts to this campaign are unlikely to be repeated.

Worse still, with Arsène seemingly going nowhere anytime soon, the stale microclimate that’s closeted London N5 with a stifling air of disunity, is only set to endure. Meanwhile, elsewhere it appears that the influx of obscene additional sums in TV sponsorship are destined to result in the continued all round improvement of the level of competition and the increased ambitions of those such as Leicester, Spurs and West Ham. All of which leaves us only too aware that we could live another lifetime, without being presented with a better opportunity to win the league!

If only our blinkered stars had appreciated the uniqueness of this situation and truly sensed that this was their time, this might’ve encouraged that crucial extra 5/10 per cent commitment that might have resulted in us Gooners enjoying the dulcet strains of Bocelli, singing (with absolutely no disrespect intended) what might well be our new anthem, Con Te Partiro, Time To Say Goodbye.

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Richy1971 said...

I think though well written there are flaws within your piece. I don't believe the players needed to give extra in matches just in certain matches they had to be more ruthless. Examples I will give you some like in the Utd game 3-0 in twenty odd mins the team should have kicked on and mauled utd but they relaxed and dropped off because game was won. Same against lesser teams score a goal in first twenty mins the relax and struggle to get a result that's not lack of effort its a mentality thing the mentality to be ruthless almost an arrogance that we are better and we are going to humiliate you streak is missing. And saying that attitude comes from Webber is wrong. Watch him the guy is a born winner he hates losing ok he may not rant and rave but I like the ice cool reflexive approach the ability to step back and analyse and not get caught up in the emotion of the moment.