As we sit back then, wishing for some kind of mutually assured desctruction, Wojciech Szczesny, perhaps feeling a bit sassy after keeping three clean sheets in four games, had this to say of Spurs:
If we win our next two games, it will be enough because either Chelsea or Spurs will drop points because they play each other. If you look at Chelsea’s fixtures, they have Tottenham and Everton left, and they won’t be easy games, and Tottenham do not have enough quality, so there you go…
At the risk of giving Spurs more motivation (and if they need it at a time like this, they need more help than Woj can give them), I like his spirit and confidence, even if it’s a bit inaccurate. A Spurs win would be bad, bad news as it puts them and Chelsea one point above us, level on games played. Even if we do win our next two games, we’d still be marooned in 5th, hoping for one or both to drop points. Therefore, go, Chelsea. Sorry I couldn’t manage an exclamation point there.
If Spurs do win, we really have to hope for them or Chelsea to drop points elsewhere, with Chelsea looking more likely to do so thank to having to play four games in 11 days (Spurs, at Aston Villa, Benfica in the Europa Final, and Everton). Dicey, dicey.
Before you go lambasting Sagna for his take-down of van Persie, mistaking how recently we dropped those points for how vital they are, he’s not the one who put us in this unenviable position. Not on his own, at least. Hypothetically speaking, who’s to say that, had that penalty not occurred, Man U wouldn’t have found some way to score in the second half? Yes, a victory would have been sweet, sweet revenge, but don’t let those emotions muddle your mind. A draw against Man U is an honest point earned; a draw against Fulham is two vital points dropped. We should view these points in the same way that we excuse a 30-yard shot that goes just wide and jeer a miss from six yards.
We haven’t dropped points wastefully since January 1st against Southampton. Yeah, we’ve dropped a few, to be sure, but none of those had me gnashing my teeth and rending my garments to the same degree and frequency as in the first half of the season. Keep three points from Southampton, and the Man U result is what it is: a tough draw against the first place team in the league. Drop two points to Southampton, and the Man U result becomes a staggering slap-in-the-face from a nemesis led by the man who jilted us to ruin our season. A club like Man U can look around and coast to the end of the season because they took care of business all season. We only recently started taking care of our business with any kind of thoroughness or consistency, and we’re paying for it now as we worry about needing victories over the likes of QPR, Wigan, and Newcastle instead of enjoying those victories.
Still, it’s been an impressive second half of the season. After 19 games, we had taken 33 of 57 points (57.8%) and were in 5th place. In the ensuing 17 games, we’ve taken 34 of 51 (66.7%). If we had kept 66.7% of our points all year, we’d have 72—good for 2nd place, and with six points still available, a cozy perch from which to watch the squabbling among the teams beneath us (literally and figuratively). Of course, it’s a little late for that. Let’s just shoot for 73 points and wait for Spurs (and perhaps Chelsea) to shoot themselves in the foot.