Well, it’s a sign of the times when you’re the talk of the town, and tongues have been wagging about the Arsenal since about mid-October when it started to become clear that we might just be more than a flash in a pan. Indeed, we’ve topped the table for all but three matchdays. Even though we’ve stumbled and staggered these last few weeks, we still peer down precariously if not imperiously upon those below us. However, a surer sign of our strength might come from the big talk emanating out of the Eithad. One might think a more-confident, more-secure side might bite its tongue. Not so, this City side…
One Bernardo Silva, perhaps feeling a bit brash if not too big for his breeches, had a few choice words after he wasn’t deployed at left back only to be eviscerated a second time by Saka. Speaking after Man City did, it must be admitted, manhandle us, Silva offered these bold words…after the fact:
We’re big men and we talk about whatever we want. We’re not going to be complacent about the title. We’re going to take this job very seriously and try to win every game, now focused on Fulham away, which is a tough game.
Last I checkd, “big men” don’t bother pointing out that they are, in fact, big men. They let their play do the talking for them. Yes, Man City did put us to the sword, but one has to wonder whether they’re heaving a collective sigh of relief after passing they fretted about failing. Wouldn’t it be something to see them suffer an emotional letdown after passing this test, only to falter the very next time they kicked off?
Man City are hailed for their experience, their depth, their savvy—but Silva’s words suggest that we might owe him and others in that squad some mental rent. Who bothers to get braggadocious other than those with a few insecurities, those with a few, um, “compensatory” issues on their minds? There’s been plenty of arm-chair psychoanalysis of the Arsenal in the last month or so. It’s only fair to subject City to the same. They’ve been on an impressive undefeated run since losing to Tottenham (!) in early February—a run of 17 matches across three competitions. Read one way, they’re an unstoppable force and an immovable object, having scored 53 goals and conceding just 10. Read another way, they might just be due a wobble of their own. What goes up must come down, after all.
Yes, we’ve put ourselves behind the eight-ball with our own results over the last few weeks. No, we longer control our destiny in the Prem. However, I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel, and I suspect that this feeling is shared among a fair few of our players. There is one Gooner yet who still draws breath. We can heap pressure on our rivals by running the table on our last six matches. Who knows? That might be enough to see us finish top of the table.
For the next few days, we’re all Fulham fans. From there, anything can happen…