To be honest yesterdays game can wait until the end of the season to be examined, we don’t have time to dwell on this result. The bigger issue ahead is our ability to be the masters of feeling sorry for ourselves after crucial defeats and putting up little resistance in the face of adversity, which has ultimately ended our season.
We were hit by injuries last season but after the 4-1 demolition in Barcelona, we went on to take 4 points from 16.
We were crushed at home to Manchester United in the Champions League Semi Final. Then we faced Chelsea, who were on the end of a much crueller (exit than us. Did that affect them? Not at all, we were stuffed 4-1 at home before travelling back to Old Trafford with United getting the point they needed to lift the title.
After a very harsh (by harsh I mean cheated) exit in the champions league at Anfield, we went to Old Trafford in a game that would decide our season, we took the lead but then finally succumb to United’s strength and lost 2-1.
After Champions League elimination to PSV, we followed that up by beating Villa but then losing to Everton, Liverpool, West Ham and drawing at Newcastle.
I could elaborate further but you get the point. Our team does not respond to adversity well. In fact in some of the above seasons we have put some wins together and finished the season strong but that coincides with the lack of pressure the team has had to perform under. Now nothing has changed in our set up this season to suggest this won’t be the case this season. At some point though, the penny will eventually drop and we might just learn from our mistakes. Wenger said that some of the players were ‘destroyed’ yesterday. That is extremely worrying and it is his job to motivate them again and that doesn’t come any tougher than against lowly Leyton Orient. Some players even apologised via twitter. Now it is good to see that they care but in a cup final, you give your all and if your best isn’t good enough after 90 minutes and you’ve lost, well there isn’t much else you can do. I don’t think we did that yesterday and I think there are a few who have regrets and some who felt the need to apologise. However, those players have an opportunity to show us what they are made of now. If they lead us to being crowned Premier League Champions then all will be forgiven and this experience will be a distant memory.
It is also important that the fans will back the side, a classic example being our support at Old Trafford 2009. We need to back this side again, even after the bitter pill we had to swallow yesterday. We are in a serious title race, we have a lead in a tie against the best side in the world and we are on the verge of the 6th round of the FA Cup. It’s not disastrous, even though it may feel like that at present. I have a feeling though that there will be a mass of empty seats on Wednesday even though we’ve sold out v Orient (due to the 7th credit). Now is not the time for criticism, which can wait until May (if indeed it has to come at all) but let’s see how the rest pans out before we judge the players and the manager. Not sure if you are aware that in 1999 a team that won the treble that season and they happened to lose the League Cup Final. Now where are those straws...