The Baby and the Bathwater


As the minutes tick down towards today’s derby, some are already warning that a loss to Spurs amounts to the final nail in the coffin of Wenger’s career. Let’s just take a minute to put that to rest.  This is not Ohio State-Michigan or Bears-Packers (references to American football rivalries), in which coaches might lead a team to a near-perfect season but lose to that rival and be fired, or lose every other game except against that rival and get a raise. Wenger was not hired for the sole purpose of beating Spurs. As important as today’s match is to our season, it alone should not be used as a barometer for Wenger’s career.

There are a few variables here to consider, listed roughly in order of preference:
  • win or draw at White Hart and finish 4th or higher.
  • lose at White Hart but still finish 4th or higher.
  • win or draw at White Hart but still not finish 4th or higher.
  • lose at White Hart and fail to finish 4th or higher.
As sumptuous as a victory today would be, and as strategically important as it is in our pursuit of UCL qualification for next year, it is not the be-all and end-all. Whatever happens today, there will be still be ten matches left to play–time enough to close the gap between us and Spurs and even between us and an increasingly brittle-looking Chelsea. Time enough to evaluate our options for next year after the dust has settled, not just after this match, but after the other ten matches.
Now, having spent a moment trying to sound cool, calm, and collected, I’ve gotten that out of my system. In all sincerity, I hope that our boys deliver such a famous result, that we so utterly demolish Spurs today, that they fall into a complete tailspin, finishing behind not only us but behind Chelsea and Everton. If I could just channel the adrenaline surging through my veins and send it across the Atlantic, I’d have no doubt about the outcome. You’ve never seen a man whip up a batch of pancakes (game-time is 10am here) for his wife and kids, wash the dishes, and hustle said wife and kids out the door quicker than I have today.
Let’s settle in for a few hours and see where things stand…check back in after the match for analysis and prognosis!

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