Boredom and Dealing with Delap

For the life of me, I can’t remember such a boring February, news-wise. With so many weeks in between the legs of the Champions League knockout round and us being out of the FA Cup, there just doesn’t seem to be much going on, besides the matches. So much so, that I haven’t even bothered to write on anything but matches in the last two weeks.

In the news, there are the Dutch doctors proclaiming van Persie will be fit by the beginning of April, which seems utterly ridiculous considering these are the same doctors who thought he would be out for a maximum of six weeks following the injury. They seem to be far worse at calculating recovery time than our doctors.

We also have Bakary Sagna claiming it is our “destiny” to win the league this year. I wonder if Sagna owns a dictionary because, considering everything that’s happened up until now, I can’t recall a season in which it seemed less our destiny to win the league. I remember thinking we were destined to win the league back in February 2008. Of course, then one thing led to another and…

Waiting all week for a match with Stoke City has become a somewhat torturous experience. Waking up in the middle of the night in a puddle of sweat from nightmares in which, instead of arms, Rory Delap has a cannon coming out of his chest and launches his throw-ins with it. A few years ago I used to get unbelievably anxious when we would concede a corner because we had such trouble defending them. We still do but not nearly as much as back in the “Toure-Gallas era.”

However, anticipating the Delap throw-in is even worse. Perhaps a part of it is not only the threat of conceding a goal but the added threat of, once again, appearing utterly foolish when defending it. If you’re like me, you’re sick of hearing criticisms of Arsenal’s defending, especially in the air. I mean, it’s all fair criticism… I’m just sick of hearing it. And should we concede again from one of the Freak’s launches, it will mean another week of pundits and journalists spewing the tired “Arsenal can’t defend” drivel.

I fail to understand what it is about the throw-in that makes it even harder to defend than a corner. I mean, the ball isn’t in-swinging. I concede that the placement is better but surely those high throws give enough time for any keeper (except ours) to get out and up on it. For me, the keeper coming out is the best defense against that type of throw-in. But when your keepers are Almunia and Flubianski, that probably doesn’t apply.

Anyway, this is all conjecture, of course. We could very well never put the ball out of play in a position for Delap to light the fuse on his cannon, though that is unlikely. Should we concede a throw-in within 70 yards of our goal, the players will have to suck it up and the supporters, well… we’ll just have to pray.