Thrashings are good for you?
So Manchester United get a true hammering against Liverpool but what will it all mean? Maybe very little other than a song for the Scousers to sing every time they get to play the Red Sevens as maybe they should now be called. I would still put a good wager on them finishing above Liverpool in the league. I am also confident that they will get that Champions League spot that may elude the Merseysiders. Why so? Because they have had quite a few humiliating defeats even this season and bounced back. This time Brighton 2-1, Brentford 4-0, Manchester City 6-3 and lowly Aston Villa 3-1 gave them defeats they weren’t expecting. They still put together a run that gives them a chance at the title.
Mikel Arteta’s team were destroyed by Everton 5-1 at the end of last season plus 5-0 to City and 4-0 to Liverpool. Not to mention being beaten by Brentford. Where are we now? You can sing it if you like. I decided to take a look at high or bad defeats for the Arsenal to see how they affected us. I went back in time to George Graham but could only find 6-2 to Man Utd in the league Cup 28/11/1990 as a true thrashing. George got a heart attack if we conceded goals but he still threw that defeat off to win the league that season.
Arsene Wenger the boomerang
Arsene Wenger was with us a record length of time and accumulated quite a few whippings. All very painful and generally against big rivals. But we bounced back, didn’t we? Wenger was beaten 4-0 away by Liverpool on the 6/5 1998 but it didn’t stop us winning the league and cup that season.
George Graham - with his hand on the ball you know what matters
He was tonked by Chelsea next season in the League cup 5-0 but we came second in the Premiership, nicely above them. The fans were hurting badly after these defeats but our team came back from it all the same.
On the 25/2/2001 Man Utd gave us that horrible pounding of 6-1 but we were unbeaten in our next six. We finished 2nd and did well till the end of the season.
The end of the season is all that matters
Next season Blackburn beat us 4-0 in the League cup but we won the league. Wenger and Arsenal had the resilience to shrug off bad defeats. We didn’t have another real trouncing until 2008 when the Spuds beat us 5-1 in the League cup. But what did we do? Came a close 3rd in the league with 83 points, nicely in the Champions league and the hapless Spuds? 11th! Yes, you read that right. They would take being beaten by us any season if they qualified for the Champions league and we didn’t because that is what really matters. Man Utd fans will feel the same about Liverpool if that happens this year. They also beat us 4-0 in the FA cup that season. Our 2 biggest rivals beat us in one season but we are the Arsenal. We always survive.
Of course on the 28/11/2011 came the worst defeat I can remember. 8-2 to Man Utd. We were devastated but probably Wenger said to his team, when he calmed down, you went to Old Trafford and scored 2 goals, we haven’t done that too often. We shrugged off that defeat to come 3rd, Utd only came second despite destroying us and we finished above the Spuds in 4th. Man Utd would love to come second this year and they might yet. They will probably come 3rd, though.
Beaten by three giants in the Champions League
AC Milan beat us 4-0 at the San Siro in the Champions League that season but we nearly came back at home winning 3-0. The ability to throw off a bad defeat is necessary for a good team.
In 2014 Liverpool hammered us 5-1 and Chelsea 6-0 but we won the FA cup and qualified for the Champions League. 2 heavy defeats to big rivals and we still had something to cheer about at the end of the season.
We are always winners
Bayern Munich gave us three 5-1 defeats in the Champions League including a really bad one at home. The first one in 2015 didn’t stop us making it through to the knock out stages where we were beaten by the superb Barcelona. And we did beat Bayern at home 2-0 plus we came came second in the league, our top finish in some time. We knocked Aston Villa over 4-0 in the FA cup final to round off a pretty good season in the end.
A hard time for sure
The next 2 in 2017 were really hard to take. Last 16 in the Champions League and we were right with them in both first halves. They obliterated us in the second both times. 10-2 over the tie. Bayern, what are you doing to us? But we beat Chelsea in the FA cup final, and finished with five wins in a row to lose out closely to Liverpool for the final Champions League spot with 75 points to their 76.
I would take defeat for ultimate victory
So, the Arsenal way of losing badly is to come back, to not let it define their season. Mikel Arteta has shown us he knows how to lose the Arsenal way as those defeats last year have shown. Yes, the fans heads were on the floor but he knew he had a special squad of players. It is his job to lift them and us. He has done that. Being knocked out of both cups and being quite average against weaker teams in the Europa League on top of defeats away to Everton and Man Utd plus City at home, and away in the League Cup emphasizes that it has been a hard slog this season. We could still win 2 trophies and, amazingly, I would take being beaten at Man City 7-0 in our next game against them if we go on to win the league. What good would a 7-0 do them then? Let them sing what they bloody like, we would be the Champions.
Will Man Utd let it destroy them?
So it seems that thrashings are not necessarily bad for you. We can accept our corporal punishment as long as we are top of the class come May. And Man Utd? We will see what they are made of now.