HOW TO GET YOUR MOJO BACK

Photo courtesy of Stuart MacFarlane

 

Written by Alasdair Read

I had a welcome break from the Arsenal this week. That isn’t something I would normally say, especially with the rest of the Premier League competing in their respective fixtures. I have come to rue the dreaded international break or, indeed, any other weekend we don’t have the inevitable heart attack of an Arsenal match to look forward to. After recent weeks, however, time to sit back and reflect on the season up to now was much-needed.

I am the type of fan who clings on to any last fibre of hope; not through choice, but through a blind optimism that evades other aspects of my life. I don’t know why, but for some reason when it comes to Arsenal I believe in the impossible. In a month that saw the two major trophies for which we were competing fade into an all-too-familiar distance, I found myself in a particularly unfamiliar position of disillusion with football.

I’ve spent the aforementioned break debating a myriad of Arsenal-related questions in my head. However, one thing I am sure of is that I am ready to continue with the lively and unpredictable Arsenal season that we all know so well, and here is why you should be too.

Starting with a trip to Anfield on Saturday evening, we have some undeniably huge fixtures coming our way which are always something for every fan to look forward to but if that’s not enough to keep you excited, here are a few reasons to stay motivated for the final months of the season ahead….

 

The Race for Champions League Football

As I watched Arsenal get picked apart by a rampant Bayern Munich two weeks ago, I couldn’t help but notice something in the top left corner of my screen. Through the self-preserving squint that I had adopted when the direction our game was heading became clear, I found a reminder that it could always be worse. BT Sports were advertising a less-than-dazzling tie between Manchester United and St. Etienne which served as a stark reminder that, although we all want progress in the Champions League, some teams just as desperately want to return to the premier competition in Europe. They are the huge games that everybody gets excited about. It is desperately disappointing to lose them, yet that’s due to the excitement and importance surrounding them. I, for one, cannot imagine replacing that with the Europa League and the knowledge that we were no longer part of the fixtures that everybody was talking about. Although significant, the added value of the Champions League is not just monetary, it makes Arsenal a far more attractive prospect for any potential recruit – player or manager.

We have a difficult- yet, exciting- race on our hands to enter the competition again next year. Five points separate five teams all vying for three places and with games against Liverpool, City, Spurs and United still to come, there is all to play for and all to look forward to.

The FA Cup

“The magic of the FA cup is back” state pundits and fans alike. I certainly never subscribed to the opinion that it had gone anywhere but there have been some incredible giant killings so far and, with the considerable likelihood of some tantalising semi-finals, I can definitely understand why some believe the FA cup has been revitalised. A favourable draw will see Arsenal playing non-league Lincoln City in a quarter-final at the Emirates stadium which is the only game standing between us and our inclusion in a semi-final pot that will likely contain Manchester City, Chelsea or Manchester United and, of course, Tottenham Hotspur. Any combination that such a draw produces will create a fantastic spectacle: imagine knocking Mourinho and the £80m Pogba out of the cup. Still not excited? Picture an FA cup final at Wembley against non-other than Spurs- a prospect for any football fan to salivate over. What an incredible final game of the season that would be.

St. Totteringham’s Day

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to every Arsenal fan’s favourite day of the year- a tradition spanning twenty-one fabulous years- St. Totteringham’s Day. Last season saw a particularly spectacular and satisfying fall from grace for our North London rivals and whether you are an Arsenal fan chasing change or not, we can all agree this is a ritual to uphold. A Spurs team in fine form and currently sitting three points ahead provides a great challenge, a challenge that Arsenal seem to relish every year- one way or another. Our joy represents an equal and opposite measure of despair for the Tottenham fan base as every year passes and they fail to become the premier football club in North London. Whether it is a dodgy lasagne or a relegated yet resurgent Newcastle, the football gods tend to shine on us after all that we have been through in a season- giving us priceless bragging rights for any unfortunate acquaintance associating with Spurs. Our two decade dominance is a great way to remind the media and the rest of the football community that even a Tottenham side having the season of its life will still always remain in the shadow of the Arsenal.

 

Whether you are an advocate of change this summer or not, the rest of the season still holds the stirring twists and turns ever-present in an Arsenal season. We have the chance for FA cup glory and, with five teams desperate for three places in the Premier League, we have the prospect of some heavyweight clashes to look forward to. Let us rejuvenate ourselves – starting with a famous win at Anfield on Saturday.

 

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