Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ Don’t say ‘I told you so.’ I feel like Bart Simpson at the chalkboard.
Look at the league table (below). Pretty, innit? Who’d have thought it’d go this way? Oh.
The Hawthorns, November 21. A game that I, and Arsenal, got totally wrong. I should have known better than to expect Arsenal to do what was only logical, to defeat a lesser opponent in a campaign that’s all up for grabs—but I’m an Arsenal fan. I shouldn’t be so naïve—but I’m an Arsenal fan. This game is memorable for the unholiest of hat tricks: a banjaxed Coquelin, an Arteta own goal, and a Cazorla fluffed penalty.
As an aside, I did manage to salvage some credibility on the fortune-telling front during the West Brom match, despite getting the end-result terribly wrong. When, in the second half, Alexis was hauled down in the box and a penalty was awarded, I knew what would happen. “Why are you guys getting excited? He’s not going to score. There is no way we score here. It’s pointless.” I scowled at my Tri-Cities Arsenal pals. Then this happened. My pals would attest to that. The Guinness hit the spot after Santi missed from a different one.
Next, I predicted an easy win against Norwich. The less said about that the better. Arsenal, man. Oh—for two.
I will not go through every result, because truthfully, I didn’t get a lot right at all and my capacity for self-deprecation only goes so far. Barriecuda, @CanadianGunners, thinks I look like a short Per Mertesacker—an SFG if you will. Here, then, in this comedic Mertesacker miss, is an accurate parallel to how my predictions went. Inconsistency has been a pebble in our boots since the opening day defeat to West Ham and that has made the task of prediction an uncomfortable one. In total, I correctly predicted only 3 of 9 results: the Zagreb win, a match that was always only going to go one way, setting us up for the big one in Greece; the Sunderland win, a match I seem not to have formed a single long-term memory of; and the Bournemouth win, foreseeable due to our impressive record against newly promoted sides.
Make that 22.
3 of 9. That’s Chelsea form. It must be said, however, that there were plenty of surprises. Some pleasant, like the decisive win versus Olympiacos to secure our inevitable (?) doom at the boots of Barcelona in the Champions League, or the confident and fruitful display against Manchester City, or the emergence of the tireless if Genvinho-esque Joel Campbell. Some unsavory, like our players being outed as having legs constructed out of Popsicle sticks, chewing gum, twine, and wet garbage, or Leicester hanging around like an annoying little brother, or Shane Long looking little-bit Suarez while Koscielny looked little-bit Squillaci in the recent St. Mary’s Massacre (trademark pending).
We’re first. We are top of the league. Despite it not going, game by game, kick by kick, how you or I would have expected (don’t you lie to me), we’re sitting pretty. Like Giroud pretty. We’re 3 points up on our main competitor, Manchester City. We’re 4 points up on our bothersome, white-wearing neighbours. If the season is seen as a single match, we’re leading at halftime. We must do what we’ve done. And maybe more. If I may continue in this vein, we have subs coming. The injured will return, one by one. The newly signed, those one or two players who will arrive in January, will hopefully carry us on through stoppage time. As 2016 arrives, we must not grow too fond of orange slices. We must not rest. We must not shell up. We must attack. It’s all there for the taking.
Pundits have long discredited Arsenal, asserting that we can’t do it, that we take too many selfies, that we’re mentally weak.
Let’s not let them say ‘I told you so.’