It’s happened to nearly everyone. A careless brush of the arm knocks over a drink at the dinner table. A misstep ends with a spill onto the pavement. Changing the station on a car radio ends with your vehicle sitting at the bottom of a creek.
That’s what Arsene Wenger is calling Arsenal’s 5-1 road loss to Liverpool, and he’s intent on flipping the script into a more purposeful story when the Gunners square off with Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
“You cannot consider one game as the trend of our season,” said Wenger. “It was an accident, not welcome of course and a disappointing one, but a successful season is decided by how you respond to that.
“We tend always to forget how good we are when we are not successful.”
He’s right, of course, especially in the endless hype cycle that comes with being a massive Premier League club (or any PL side, for that matter). And it gets amplified when your club gets absolutely hammered by a Top Four rival in a performance your keeper labels as “half as good” as the opponent and “(expletive) embarrassing.”
And to be honest, is there a better stretch to reestablish the Gunners’ chances as title favorites? Yes, Arsenal has been absolutely poor against Manchester United over the past few years, but in walks a Red Devils side who has been quite beatable this year, road and home.
So even if the Gooners haven’t tasted a win versus United in years, and have a 2W-3D-12L in their past 17 matches across all competitions, this is a decent place to turn around recent fixture history and the Liverpool demons.
After the match with the Red Devils, the opponents are a series of relegation scrappers with Sunderland, Stoke and Swansea creating a home-road-home sandwich. That’s three-in-four at home. They’ll need a minimum of 10 points from the four-match venture, as the following four is a murderers row of opponents: Spurs on road, Chelsea on road, Manchester City at home and Everton on the road.
Yikes. Makes David Moyes early season fixture complaints look like a beach vacation.
Wenger can’t let his charges turn one defeat, as lopsided as it may have been, into a crushing season-turner, because if the Gunners choke away points in the coming weeks, they can forget about the title… and maybe more.