I forgot that I'd neglected to post this on Monday and thought I'd better get it done before it becomes completely outdated. Hopefully by Fabrice Muamba making a full recovery (and not to mention three points at Goodison tomorrow night!). But after popping into one of my Spurs pals this evening and hearing quite how disturbed they all were (and still are!) by poor Fabrice Muamba's plight at White Hart Lane on Saturday, I'm not sure whether I've done them an injustice by my comments below. Nevertheless, it's what I was thinking at the time and if I'm guilty of a faux pas, I apologise
With the Toffees still clinging to their FA Cup dreams and with our game at Goodison postponed until Wednesday, we Gooners were left kicking our heels over the course of the weekend.
Unless Ryo Miyaichi walks around with his dinner dripping down the front of his shirt, our young Oriental starlet might still be a long way from living up to his moniker as “the Japanese Messi”. Yet our loaned out wing wizard - who’s supposedly capable of leaving Theo Walcott trailing in his wake, with Ryo having clocked an impressive 10.6 seconds for the 100m - at least offered a soupçon of partisan interest in events at the wrong end of the Seven Sisters Road on Saturday.
I tuned into the TV coverage of Spurs v Bolton, in the feint hope that by thwarting Harry’s cup run, Myaichi might bring comfort to Gooners everywhere, by ensuring that any remaining Lilywhite fantasies of being “on their way to Wembley” were merely due to the media conjecture on its potential as a temporary home during the redevelopment at White Hart Lane.
As someone who finds it hard to get enthused by burly egg-chasers’ somewhat tedious exploits and on the basis that Bendtner, our only other damp squib of a loanee with continued Cup interest, was hardly likely to be lighting any fires for Sunderland at Goodison, this was the closest I came to embracing the weekend’s sporting encounters
As it turned out, tragically, it was another former Arsenal starlet who became the focus of everyone’s attention, with the entire footballing world left feeling benumbed by the horrifically nauseating TV images that briefly portrayed poor Fabrice Muamba lying prone on the turf in such grave distress. With Fabrice having spent five years learning his trade under Arsène’s tutelage and based on the old enemy’s egregious track record (bearing in mind these are the same Spurs supporters who take relentless pleasure in tormenting Wenger with their “packet of sweets....paedophile” vitriol), I must admit that I was half-expecting the home fans to disgrace themselves anew, by breaking into a characteristically callous chorus of “let him die”.
Mercifully “the football family” was able to pat itself on the back, as to their credit, the home crowd reacted to such disturbing scenes with all due decorum. Having spoken since to Spurs mates who were at the match, it sounds as if the seriousness of the situation was so immediately apparent from the grief-stricken response of the rest of the players and the appearance of the defibrillator etc on the pitch that they were largely shocked into stunned silence. Although they weren’t so traumatized as to prevent them from contemplating the potential significant consequences soon after the game was abandoned, both in terms of the psychological impact and a potential fixture pile-up.
Meanwhile Muamba might not be the most naturally gifted player to have rolled off the Arsenal Academy’s production line of talent, but it’s his 100%, committed attitude which is his most endearing quality and which made him stand out amidst a crowd of more spoilt and less motivated young prodigies. We can but hope that it will be this immense fighting spirit which will ensure that Fabrice triumphs, in a battle which puts all footballing matters into positively trivial perspective. There can be little more sobering evidence of the need to make the very most of our brief time on this mortal coil, than to witness live, as the grim-reaper arbitrarily wields his axe, in his effort to prematurely fell such a supremely fit individual in his prime.
Yet while sufficient respect has been shown by all concerned, with the postponement of Villa v Bolton, elsewhere, the show must go on. My fatalistic Spurs pals are convinced that they’ve blown it and that the battle for 3rd place is all but over. There can be no overstating the significance of a return to some defensive stability. The Gunners now look an entirely different proposition to the team that endured a farcical couple of months trying to compete without any recognised full-backs. Nevertheless, the fact that we’ve only enjoyed the victors spoils in our two most recent matches thanks to a long-overdue, large slice of good fortune, is evidence enough that the transition is far from complete, in respect of acquiring the necessary winning momentum for a consistent sprint-finish.
There may now only be one point between us and Spurs, but last I looked, the league table shows the Gunners as being in arrears and with 30 points still to play for, about the only thing I’m certain of is that we’re still a long way from being able to draw any such Premiership conclusions.
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