I can't actually believe we won today. When the final whistle blew everything went in to slow motion because the final minutes were a frantic as always and I was convinced Arsenal would pop in a goal unfairly. But I guess that's the point. In this instance, we actually 100% deserved this win and it would have been unfair if we lost.
Before the match I bumped in to some fellow fans, among them @sandyhoops. We talked about the charms that we wear to bring us luck, and the things that we don't bring to avoid a bad game. One could say that we feel so powerless as fans that we can only hope that the superstitious things we do might somehow have some kind if impact on what happens on the pitch. I'm convinced that if I wash my QPR shirt before the end of the season we won't stay up and quite frankly I don't care how bad it smells by the time we get to the 13th of May.
Is it wrong to believe we have a part to play with these actions? Perhaps it's a little silly, but it's only one part of what we do, together with the money we spend, the songs we sing, and the countless hours on trains, buses and cars we spend to support the Rs away. There are even those fans like @richardtreml who said in jest that he knew we'd win by not going today.
Our much lambasted captain Joey Barton said in the programme today 'It's vitally important that the people you work for - appreciate you and believe in you'. And he was talking directly about the fans. It's so easy for us to criticise, and certainly I was one of them last week after the Sunderland game. I was fed up with what appeared to be a lack of commitment and team spirit in key players including Barton. Sometimes, the way he expresses himself just doesn't endear him to us and I can't quite understand what he says. But perhaps it is because he is so confident in who he is as a person that it often comes across as a personal as opposed to a collaborative crusade, which isn't actually the case. And evidence on the pitch today suggests he is a team player. Long may this more passionate spirit from him continue.
But he also went straight to the point saying that we turned the game around against Liverpool because 'the crowd got behind the lads' and 'all of a sudden we thought we could could get something'. He has mentioned this a few times in the programme, which suggests he truly believes this. And that excites me because we honestly did not play well for most of that Liverpool game, but simply by being totally behind the team, we probably made a difference. It was an unlikely and rare turnaround though, so why we expected to have such a great result at Sunderland looking back is beyond me. We cannot rely on such good fortune all the time (a team like Liverpool breaking down in the last 15 minutes).
And today? Well, today was different. Today, almost every player on the pitch worked really hard. We weren't lucky to win, we deserved to win through hard graft, passion and determination. Of course we aren't supposed to be anywhere near as good as Arsenal on paper, and there were several hairy moments when I am sure my blood pressure went up. Derry, Diakite, Barton, Taarabt stand out as key players - a solid mid field which was critical against such a team. And what a great goal from Taarabt which I am sure I will watch a few times this evening (bring on MOTD for a change!).
Speaking of Taarabt, I often forget just how young he is - born in 1989 he will be just 23 in May - and if he can play that well at this level now we haven't even seen his best yet. In spite of our difficulties as a club, I feel he has matured in his approach to how he plays the game both as a personality and a footballer. He is a joy to watch and when he is on form he works like a charm and is absolutely magic. It was a shame that he got booked for an extended celebration and I am looking forward to seeing how/why he got hold of that fez. But there it is. A player like Taarabt can make things look easy, and while we may say he is magical, we can now say that he is actually solid and hard working.
On the subject of lucky charms and Taarabt, on my way home I thought about those snake charmers that you see in Marrakesh's Jemaa El Fna square. They say that they literally hypnotise the snakes through music, and I've seen pictures of these guys literally charming a few snakes at a time. I have no idea how hard a snake has to work to perform (there is also probably some animal cruelty playing a part here too), but it does take at least one snake charmer and one snake to keep the show going. So whether you believe in luck or not, let's continue to play our part and get behind the boys.
Snake Charmers in Morocco (Source: traveljournals.net)