…or so says Scott Parker after Spurs eked out a 3-2 win over West Ham. We’re “reeling,” apparently. I can’t speak on behalf of any actual players, of course, but as for myself, I’m a little disappointed, sure. Obviously, being one point behind is better than being four points behind. Any dunce can tell you that. To say that it’s “deflating” to us might be a bit of an overstatement, but, to his credit, Parker does refer only to his own experiences and then projects the cracks in his own psyche onto those of Arsenal players:
“I’ve been in that position when you’re playing and you’re watching the scores come in and you hear there’s been a last-minute goal in a game that’s important for your side. You’re praying it’s gone the way you wanted it to and then you hear it’s a goal for the team you didn’t want to score. So it is deflating for a player watching, and I’m sure the Arsenal players are like that.”
Tortured pronoun references aside, it might have been deflating and we might have been praying for a draw or even a West Ham win. However, given that we had won our own match, it might be closer to the truth to suggest that Mr. Parker, in his attempt to redistribute the panicky feeling from himself onto his listeners (all of those you‘s and your‘s) might really be giving us a glimpse behind the curtain into his own feeling–“yes, we are winning, and yes, Bale is in the form of his life, but we’re still only four points clear against a team we have to face on Sunday.” After all, for as hard as they’re working and as well as they’re playing, our run of form shows us keeping pace quite nicely, thank you.
It’s when we look ahead that the nature of Parker’s thoughts seem to distill down to their essence. A quick review of remaining fixtures might be in order?
The chart to the right lays ’em out for us. Simply put, we are much-better positioned to end the season strong. I don’t think it’s generous of me to label eight of ours as winnable games (in green, with red suggesting difficult, too-close-to-call games). Only the trip to Swansea, which I’ve also dubbed winnable for Spurs, feels iffy. Of course, we still have to show up and play. Between us and Spurs, they’re more likely to advance in the Europa League than we are in the Champions League (to be honest, I just wanted to casually remind us of who’s in which league). Parker referred to “what happened last year” as a motivator, but, truth be told, it places the pressure firmly on their side of the equation: can Spurs bear up under the furious scramble of the last few weeks of the season, or, as they did last year, will they fold faster than Superman on laundry day?
Right. I like a little bit of friendly trash-talk, especially when there’s nothing but time to waste. Parker did go on to say that Spurs has “players that Arsenal would want any day of the week.” I suppose that might be true–I’d enjoy having Clint Dempsey, but that stems from my own Yankee pride than from any other factor. Vertonghen? Maybe. After that, I do see a few former Gunners on their roster, but none I’d particularly care to have back. Be that as it may, I’m curious to see what other chalkboard material comes out over the rest of the week.
See you tomorrow unless my evening pint(s) gives me inspiration.