After the weekend it’s been a time for knee jerk reactions. No more was it personified on the Monday Night Football Show (I forget it’s name) on Radio Five Live.
According to the panel Arsenal lost to Hull so are no longer going to win the title. Arsene Wenger’s reign was subjected to a critical scrutiny that his success, in terms of trophies and setting the club up, didn’t deserve. Moreover their North London neighbours, on the back of their 2-0 defeat at Portsmouth, are basically a deadmen walking. If the likes of Steve Claridge are to be believed they may as well turf Ramos out now and think about how they are going to spend their parachute payment next season! And Newcastle? Well it appears they are beyond help unless Keegan and Shearer return hand in hand to lead their Geordie Children to their new Jerusalem or more likely mid table!
Of course this is all premature and in fairness to those on the programme they did eventually get round to saying that Arsenal were a good club, and a benchmark for many, and that Spurs and Newcastle probably wouldn’t be relegated. However, it does illustrate how, in these days of increased competition amongst the media for football fans’ attention, that even the BBC (stand up when I mention it’s name!) feels the need to trump up the controversy aspect and try to make drama out of non-crisis. Hell, everyone has only played six games!
We are not immune from such treatment. From duds last week against Stoke we are now, after the derby win, sending out a message to the footballing world that we are true contenders. At this stage of the season this is nothing short of nonsense and to his credit Steven Gerrard has been quick to dispel such talk.
“It’s important to be humble and not get carried away by the performance… we set a standard (at Everton) we need to match week in week out…. We were winning games but stumbling early on in the season, but I think the derby performance has set the standard now. We’ve got a big game on Wednesday and then another important game against Manchester City, (and) if we can continue that level then we will certainly be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.”
A long quote but the most important word amongst all that is “if”. Bob Paisley once said that no one should really pay attention to the table until after ten games and then look again at Christmas. “IF” we are in a better position than we were last season then we might have grounds for optimism however, just like those harbingers of doom for Newcastle and Spurs, it’s far too early to start make conclusions and nothing should be taken for granted. Personally I’m perfectly happy to us to continue dampening people’s expectations and maintaining our position as the club from the top four least likely to win anything. It takes the pressure of the team, hopefully pulls them together and makes them stronger.
This has already been demonstrated by some of our never say die performances this season where despite form issues we’ve, through sheer force of will, got the result. It was also seen on Saturday in Gerrard and Torres’ reaction to the performance of Robbie Keane on Saturday.
I don’t know if Keane is going through worrying times through not having lost his “Liverpool scoring cherry”, however, if he is he could do with listening to his team-mates who are doing their best to beef up his confidence. Gerrard actively sought out Keane after the game to praise him and into today’s Guardian Torres did the same.
“It is very simple, without Robbie and Dirk (Kuyt), the goals I scored would not have been created. They were involved in both goals and it is because they give everything for the team that I was able to score them. If you look at my first goal, the ball that Robbie crossed in was perfect…”
If he’s getting this sort of praise when he doesn’t score what, in this world of knee jerk reactions, will he get when he finally does hit the back of the net? Whatever it is it I bet it wouldn’t compare to relief felt by the man himself!