Oh, dear god. A draw? From Man United and Man City? Unbelieveable! Arsenal can pull ahead, the Premiership is ours! This past Sunday saw the Gunners take on third place Newcastle United at home and I was up early, coffee, scarf and video tape all ready to go. A foolish grin was on my face, knowing that we could pull ahead and regain a comfortable lead, but unfortunately, it was not to be.
The first goal came from the Arsenal attack of Wiltord and Henry, who have been so brilliant that they made the goal seem like they were playing the youth side of Vauxhall Motors. So smooth, so perfect and against one of the best defensive sides in the Premiership. You couldnCt ask for a more commanding presence than Arsenal had in the first half. Newcastle wasn’t even there for most of it, back tracking quickly and rarely seeing a clear glimpse of goal.
But Arsenal in the second half? A different story. Not there at all, even when they were playing a United side with only ten men. They ended up in a draw; a frustrating draw and I ended up cursing myself for my headstrong belief they couldn’t be beaten.
Just as I did on Sunday, I think many Liverpool fans are now getting over their over confidence. Here is a side that have looked so powerful and dangerous at times, that early in the season, I wondered if they could be beat at all when in top form. The problem is that they haven’t been close to top form in quite some time. England striker Michael Owen has looked terrible and the back line is so full of holes when attacked, it’s a wonder they don’t erect a few walls on the pitch instead of players. It’s last Saturday, it’s the FA Cup and it’s Liverpool losing to Crystal Palace, 2-1. No more FA Cup dreams, the fan’s belief waning, scarves seeming a bit creased from angry, clutching hands.
But the Premiership isn’t only about upset fans. West Bromwich Albion has shown that their late season form may, with some luck, keep them in the Premiership. Just as Birmingham City have, the Baggies can stay up, increase their revenue and hopefully take advantage of the 2003 Great Leeds Player Purge and sign some loss-weary talent.
And from the Everton front, things many not seem to be going to well, but for Charlton Athletic, their 2-1 win over the Blues certainly helps instill some confidence in a struggling side. The Premiership is past the halfway point, but the top sides are tired and FA Cup duties, as well as Champions League match will bring an interesting end to the Premiership.
For many fans, the recent performances of the top sides is at the very least pretty lackluster, but it’s all part of the game we call our own. Sometimes hard to take, often driving one to down too many pints while watching a game at a bar, the footie church we visit in our minds is often a bit more interesting and exciting than the reality on the pitch. Let’s just not fool ourselves. The season’s far from over and anything, even West Bromwich Albion surviving the last games of the season to stay up, can happen