“But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward” ~Rocky Balboa, 2006
In football, you will lose games. It is part of the game. Even during Arsenal’s unbeaten season of 2004, we lost games. We lost both legs of the League Cup semi final to Middlesbrough. And in April, we were knocked out of the FA Cup and Champions League in the space of just 3 days.
It is not about losing games, it is how you bounce back from losing games and keep moving forward.
In 2004, we did not let that double cup disappointment damage us. We got up and continued fighting, and ended the season with a gold Premier League trophy.
This season we have had some horrendous results.
- An opening day loss to West Ham
- Double Champions League disappointment to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos
- Cheated at Chelsea
- Smashed at Sheffield Wednesday
But after each defeat, Arsenal have bounced back.
The West Ham loss saw us go to Crystal Palace and win – how long ago does signing “we are staying up” feel?
After the Chelsea fiasco, it was a mid week destruction of Spurs. Our greatest night so far this season. And after Olympiakos, We went on a run which saw us beat Manchester United and Bayern Munich.
It is only the Zagreb game where we failed to win again straight after – the defeat against Chelsea.
Iain Dowie first coined the word bouncebackability in around 2004. It was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in the same year as greats such as ASBO and Chav.Over 10 years on from Dowie creating this word, it could become out buzzword for the season. For after every great defeat, Arsenal have a great victory.
And we showed it once more this weekend.
After our lowest point of not just the season, but a few years (probably since Bradford), we bounced back with a tremendous victory against Swansea.
OK, we rode our luck, Gomis bottling a one on one, and under other circumstances the 2nd goal would have been disallowed for a foul on a goal keeper, but 3-0 certainly did not flatter us.
It seems to be our new away tactic. It worked against Watford, and it worked again Saturday against Swansea. Defend. Let the opponents exhaust themselves, then hit them.
Whilst the pre-mentioned luck did play a part, it was world class goal keeping by Cech, and Bellerin running from London to Swansea quicker than it took my train to get home yesterday to get in to tackle Gomis as he rounded the goal keeper was not luck. Brilliant by both players.
Hector Bellerin could become Arsenal’s greatest ever right back.
And up next is away to Bayern Munich.
Arsenal can go to Munich without fear. Despite having been knocked out of the Champions League in both 2013 & 2014 against the German giants, they failed to beat us at the Allianz Arena on both occasions. An Arsenal victory and a draw the respective results.
The fans heading out there can expect a great week. Many of whom would have done an over nighter at Swansea, which in itself followed up a 3am return from Sheffield. These are the hard miles. And hopefully they are rewarded with a good performance on Wednesday.
And hopefully the fog does not delay their flights today too much!
Even if we go down the negative route, and end up getting spanked at Munich, we know this side has the mental strength to bounce back.
At Spurs in the League Cup, the discussion was “I would take the defeat against Chelsea to win tonight.” And it could be the same again. Would I take a defeat against Bayern Munich to guarantee a victory against Spurs? Of course I would. But let’s be positive.
Level on points with Manchester City
4 points ahead of Manchester United
8 points ahead of Spurs & Liverpool
14 Points ahead of Chelsea
We will lose more games this season. As will Manchester City. But remember, it is not how you lose, it is how you lose and move forward.