For me, supporting Arsenal is like riding a rollercoaster but the difference is that I refuse to get off regardless of how scary it gets. The thrill of winning is so exhilarating that I forget a dismal loss straightaway, even if it is a few days earlier. For example, I was fearful after the Stoke defeat that our season was about to implode but the 4-1 mauling of Galatasaray in the Champions League put the disappointing result at the Britannia to the back of my mind and I could move on. The wonder strike from Aaron Ramsey was on loop in my mind and the horrific thought of being 3-0 down at half time was becoming a distant memory.
I am pleased to report that the team put in another classy performance against Newcastle on Saturday evening and secured the second 4-1 victory in 4 days. Yet Arsenal fans were coming away from the stadium still pessimistic about the future. I kept hearing mumbles of “this won’t last” and they’re probably right but that’s football and there’s absolutely nothing supporters can do apart from cheer on the team. There’s no point worrying about how your defence is going to cope at Anfield the following weekend after witnessing them cruise to a comfortable win. Just enjoy the acute finish from Santi Cazorla and get excited that he is potentially hitting top form again.
Another reason why I’m full of beans is the Champions League draw for the Round of 16. Luck has not been on our side in recent years; drawing Barcelona back-to-back followed by successive ties against Bayern Munich. I was convinced that this year would be no different as we’d finished second in the group again so the likelihood was that we’d face one of Europe’s big 4. I therefore couldn’t believe when we were paired with AS Monaco. Yes, they qualified as group winners so must be decent but it was the tie Arsenal supporters craved as it gives us the best possible chance to progress.
My positive bubble may well burst on Sunday but I just think what’s the harm of being so optimistic. Most of us are strapped in for the long haul so we may as well enjoy the ride.
By Glen Shorey