When you watched how we played at Goodison Park was it that much of a shock to suggest there would be a hangover this weekend?
Having seen the majority of this squad mentally not able to handle the pressure of a top 4 race last season, is it outrageous to think that it’s asking too much for the same group to be able to cope with the pressure of a title race?
I been hurt too many times and burnt before. Take the emotion out of your point of view and Arsenal have a reputation for choking when it really matters.
It’s too easy to accuse the likes of myself of being negative or Gary Neville of having an agenda.
Yet, taking away any bias, is it unreasonable in the run-in to think Man City having a dressing room of experience, of knowing how to get over the line, will give them the edge in the run in?
Some Gooners are too precious. It’s not an insult to the Gunners to come to that conclusion. It doesn’t take away the brilliant progress they have made this season.
Many (including myself) predicted we be in this position but asked now how I think we will handle the run in, I can’t ignore our reputation of mentally crumbling when it really counts.
If anything it’s a reflection on the standards Man City have set in the last 5 years.
To be Champions, they have recorded point tallies in the high nineties, put together sequence of victories up to 14, handled playing every few days in the knowledge that even a draw would be viewed as a defeat.
This notion that pundits are simply picking on us is childish.
Man City have a recent history of winning, we have a reputation for going missing when it really matters.
If your life depended on naming correctly this seasons champions, there is no point lying that you would ignore those two facts.
That’s how Gary Neville comes to the conclusion that City could still retain their title by a comfortable margin.
He watches football every week for years and has seen the Gunners get themselves on a mental slippery slope, unable to arrest the slide.
He felt it was in our DNA to drop ‘silly points’ and for two Saturdays in a row we have.
Thankfully Man City didn’t take advantage.
Because he’s played the sport, he knows what April and May does to the mind, how it separates the winners to the nearly men.
He worked for a manager who said he ignored the table this time of year.
Sir Alex only cared that his teams were in contention because he knew come ‘squeaky bum time’ the experience his men would have over others would be vital.
So for the second Sunday running we hope for a favour elsewhere. If we get that favour it will be a mental blow to Man City going into Wednesday.
Our comfort comes from the fact that something isn’t quite right with Man City this season, which is why if we finish 1st it will be because they don’t put enough pressure on us.
If we get to April and the gap is three points, they have the advantage and Pep knows it.
I don’t see City winning at the Emirates in midweek.
That’s not where I worry.
I worry at your Villa Parks, Anfields, Saint James Parks, City Grounds, when Arsenal have to go to tricky grounds and cope with must win situations.
Last two weekends have reminded me of 12 months ago.
I just think mentally we are not quite there yet.
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