Does Everton Pain Mean FA Cup Gain

If there is some solace to be taken from the weekend’s defeat, it’s that it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Oh, I know, you’re expecting me to launch into some diatribe extolling the virtues of Roberto Martinez’s tactical flexibility along with his ability to inspire his players to find a level of consistency that we can only admire at this stage of the season. That you are thinking that means I am entirely predictable or you agree that his first season has been successful. On that subject, his reign contrasts with that of David Moyes, proof if you like, that managerial change doesn’t necessarily have to be a backward step. That’s before you add in that Manchester City and Chelsea’s achieving higher league placings than Arsenal. Stability can be so over-rated.

No, I was actually referring to a point I made in Sunday’s post, that defeat to Everton should almost have been expected. I know what you’re thinking, you didn’t say that at all, you hoped for a draw and that is true, I did but I also pointed to history being against that happening. Right at the bottom of the post, if you want to check that out. Everton have a 100% record against Arsenal in the matches played between the two sides immediately before the semi-final or final in a cup competition. It is entirely out of keeping with the record between the two sides over the course of the rest of a season. We can’t of course be sure that Arsenal will go on and win the FA Cup, they didn’t in 1927 when Everton were the opponents before Southampton in the semi-final. But, if it is was written in the stars that Everton were going to win on Sunday, it must be so that Arsenal will win the semi-final this weekend.

You can see by this that the bolshy arrogance is a little shaken at the moment. Of course I expect Arsenal to win at the weekend but there’s an uneasiness which wasn’t there when the draw for the semi-final was made. I look back and the relief that it isn’t Manchester City we face that, is magnified. And I think this gets to nub of the problem, I am not confident of the reaction from the players. Were it City, the fear of a capitulation would be very real, there’s a bit of recent history to substantiate that. I would normally expect the squad to be fired up, furnished with a strong desire to prove the doubters wrong, to take revenge for the gubbing at Eastlands. But I wouldn’t be confident of that happening. It’s plucky little Wigan we face on Saturday, the pluckiest team in pluck town and frankly if we don’t win that game, well, I don’t know what will happen immediately. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

If that reads like I think Arsenal have just got to turn up on Saturday, it shouldn’t be taken as such but…but, well, Arsenal sit fourth in the Premier League, a whole division above their opponents and there is good reason that is the case. I know a lot of our current league position was established on the back of our pre-December form and the last eleven games have been generally horrible but this is the FA Cup and our horrible form has been the only consistent thing running alongside our progress thus far. We beat Liverpool in a match that could have gone either way for long spells but I thought Arsenal deserved to win overall which is in no way influenced by my bias. We were worthy victors against Everton, Tottenham and Coventry, I haven’t seen a cohesive argument made to contradict that view. Why can’t these be drawn upon as a source of inspiration behind the perspiration we will shed.

Frankly, it’s just that well that it’s Wigan because unlike Arsène, I am not entirely convinced that the change of competition will make a blind bit of difference. It is a high pressure match, where we have established a track record (of sorts) in recent months; one of failure but why not look to turn that around on Saturday when something is genuinely at stake. Oh, I know there is something at stake in all our matches but perhaps the players aren’t ready mentally to claim the Premier League title so with the League Cup beneath them, the FA Cup is the best of very limited options.

But that is the FA Cup’s role, it is supposed to be the stepping stone so you look at the history of recent winners for solace in the now, for hope. I mean, aside from Wigan being relegated and Portsmouth languishing in the lower reaches of the Football League, what could possibly go wrong? Manchester City won the cup and then the league. Chelsea won the Europa League the season after the FA Cup and the title. Finished second too. We’ll skip the defeat in the Champions League final; been there, done that, looking for hope here and it’s in desperately short supply although more than yesterday, to be fair.

Speaking after the defeat at Goodison Park, Arsène observed,

Once you are in the semi-final you want to go through to the final. To play in a different competition will help us find confidence back and focus on our next game.

Only if you win, Arsène, only if you win.

’til Tomorrow.

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198 thoughts on “Does Everton Pain Mean FA Cup Gain

  1. JonJon says:
    April 8, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    They are coached out of it.

    Remember Cazorla’s fabled shooting before he arrived at Arsenal?

  2. GA
    Your comment regarding approaching some games in a naive manner is being kind, I am more inclined to say all games in the same manner. No homework, no innovation, no game changers, just giroud and the inane grin.
    Just a thought……could bergkamp not be a suitable contender apres le prof?

  3. Hazard is injured and is about to be subbed off after only 17′. That would be a massive blow to Chavs not only in this match but if he is out for any length of time.

  4. girouds boots are sponsered by golden syrup
    wireless internet explorer is faster than giroud..

    lack of pace up front is a major has been all year but even without theo we made it to the top of the table and even without theo since january it doesnt explain why we have no dont need speed to play a high tempo you just need to be direct..
    and another thing i was thinking last night is although many ppl see theo as our best striker, including myself. hes no henry..hes no wrighty, hes no rvp, and when theos our best striker it really says alot about the state of our strikeforce..

  5. Moe

    It would be naive to blame everything on Arsene and say he turned a great player in Cazorla into a mediocre one. Look at Cazorla’s career numbers. No doubt he has had a poor season compared with last year, however statistically this season is probably closer to what he has done throughout his career. The mistake Arsene made was to expect a lot more scoring then he should have based on his Santi’s career body of work.

  6. If we needed another CM I wouldn’t mind this Verratti lad for PSG. Not afraid to do the dirty work defensively but is very good passer with both feet from what I have seen of PSG.

  7. @JJ

    I’m watching the PSG match because watching Dortmund makes me sad, they are what we use and always wanted to be but never could be. Plus I really want Reus and Klopp and I doubt we get either.

  8. I agree about too many players regressing. arshavin went from world beater to panel beater, gervinho went from title winner to Michael winner, chamakh went from smoking hot to smoking pot, Giroud has gone from top dog to the dog house, arteta has gone from Mr dependable to Mr expendable.

  9. reus has got 2 C
    hes ripping them a new one..
    madrid surely will turn on some style now..

    one more goal and dortmund have done it…

  10. Eto just stomped on Thiago Silva’s leg and I don’t think the ref is even going to gives him nothing.

  11. @JJ

    Yea I heard. If there was a way that we could get Reus and Klopp then I am all for it.

    Dortmund is everything that we were suppose to be: Not massive spenders, high pressing, slick passing, beautiful futbol, with brilliant midfielders and not only could we create chances we scored goals and win silverware doing it that way. Sadly enough, we just never made it there because we were always seemingly missing 2 or more of those elements at the same time.

  12. just when you think youve lost the passion..
    you watch a first half performance that makes you beleive in football again..

    come on dortmund..

    according to reports bill, rues has a clause in his contract that says hes available for 30mil in summer 2015

  13. @JJ

    Yea 2015 though isn’t this summer and by then I’m sure Dortmund will have given him a new contract with no release clause or if there is one then it will be north of 45-50M, that’s if they were smart and they seem like a really smart well run club.

  14. C. JJ

    Regarding Reus. Perhaps it’s a pipe dream but money talks and we have lots of it. I don’t think the rebuilding can really occur in one season and I would be willing to limp along with Flamini and a loan for someone like Gareth Barry at DM for a season if we had to spend most of our war chest on Reus and a top quality CF. The biggest mistake of the past has been the fear of spending all of our money in one place. We lack match winners because Arsene always bought 3 different $12M players instead of one $35M player.

  15. I wonder, if we had got Suarez, would we have still took the opportunity to sign Ozil? I think we would have won the lge if so.

  16. @Bill

    Say we do spend 40-50M on Reus. Gonalons and Schneiderlin can be had for between 12-18M, a top CF say somebody like Jackson Martinez can be had for 25-30M, that’s 100M before we start selling players even if its for a couple million here or there. We can then sign somebody like Aurier for 8-10M and be set. If we are going to spend I would imagine that players will be sold. We can not go into next season IMHO with Flamini or Arteta as anything more than a squad player.

  17. @GA

    I doubt we would have gotten Ozil if we had gotten Suarez. To be honest I think if we would have gotten Suarez we could have went with a front 3 of Suarez, Podolski and Theo and that is simply mouthwatering!

  18. Night all !! the gin is taking hold! And really can’t stomach the Chutney chavs scoring again 🙁

  19. Andy.

    If Suarez played for us and would have had a season similar to what he is doing right now, then we might well be on top of the league. Having someone like that up front would have changed the dynamic of our attack. IMO.

  20. wenger wont spend that much in one go..
    even if he had 100 million to spend he’ll put most of it in the bank because thats what he does..

    i dont know exactley what the ppl who want him to stay and spend the reddies are expecting..chances are he wont..

    we saw it last summer..

    thing is how much of his kitty will be be planning to spend after spending millions already on all the new contracts hes dished out in the last few months… the wage budget comes out of the same budget as the transfer one so its likely hes already invested a huge chunk of it and he will be looking at a number of players but only one will be big money and i dont think it will be a striker..and he’ll spend a few million on 17 to 20 year olds, like we need more of them..

  21. C.

    Clearly we need to upgrade DM and Flamini is a squad player at best but if we can get a couple of match winners on our front line I would be willing to wait if needed. Myself I think we should just spend whatever it takes to get the players we need even if it goes over budget a little.

  22. @JJ

    That is why I think Arsene won’t be the one spending the money. Hopefully its somebody else. The thing is, I hope we do spend big on a striker and I’m sure players will be sold so there will be money, sell Bendtner, Verm, and some of teh young lads that will not only get teh transfer fee however small it might be but their wages will come off the books.

  23. Andy
    If we had got Suarez I think we would have won the league regardless of signing Ozil or not. We didn’t need a attacking mid we needed a striker.

  24. JJ,

    Your right Wenger just will not spend his budget for some reason….his fans will say the players are not out there but that’s a cop out, he could have bought plenty of players in the summer and January to help our cause….why Wenger likes strapping himself to his bed in his leathers I’ll never know.

  25. @Bill

    I hear what your saying but we have Theo coming back, I would be ok with giving Campbell a run with Ozil coming back, spend big on a world class GOAL SCORING striker, add a top flight CDM and a winger. I could very well set out a plan if Arsenal need me to. I mean El Sharraway could probably be had for 20-25M and he is exactly the type of striker that we need, not to mention he led Serie A in scoring until Milan bought Balotelli and moved El Sharrway from CF to a midfield position, has proven himself not only on the international level but in the CL and pair him with Theo and Ozil and that is something any Gooner would love to see.

  26. i think we could have afforded both suarez and ozil but over 100mil would have been needed and although we had it wenger wont ever spend that much in one go one two players

    dortmund are bombarding casias goal

    great game…

  27. I thought Bendtner was out of contract in the summer, no transfer fee there just saving on his wages. Djourou wants to stay in Germany, is he out of contract as well or will we get £50 for him?
    Anybody know where Park actually is at the moment?
    I agree with JJ, I don’t want Wenger to be the one to spend the money because we won’t get the players we expect and the rebuild we need. I’d imagine the thought of managing Arsenal with a pot of money to spend will appeal to a number of potential managerial targets. I’m saying we’ll be able to pick who we want to come in, but I’d have thought there will be a few good names putting themselves on the list.

  28. Watching PSG, I just imagine what it would be like to have 1 CDM who is an absolute beast in the middle of the park that just cleans things up for fun, but to have both Motta and Matuidi, its fucking unfair!

  29. dukey because it gives everyone an excuse when he fails and he gets a hard on by handicapping himself..

    small squad, few injuries..but its the injuries fault
    dont spend millions,..blame everyone who does….

    he lives in a bubble his desicions leaves us with a disadvantage but it provides him with a safety net at the end when it goes wrong..

    only ppl have been/are starting to see through it..

  30. @wavey

    O yea that is right about Bendtner. No Djourou will get us some money as I think he is staying in Germany as from what I have read, there is some clause in his loan that if he reached a certain number of appearances and starts that they could trigger said clause. I know he has reached the number of appearances and from other reports that I have read, the German club wants to keep him and he wants to stay.

  31. Wasn’t Aubameyang one of the players being touted as a target for two or three Prem clubs (including us)? He hasnt got long on the pitch, but interesting to see how he does.

  32. dortmund deserve this..

    but ive got a feeling if they dont get a 3rd soon they’ll start really going for it and madrid will knick one as it opens up..

    anyone having doubts about klopp needs to watch this game because the millions of madrid have been battered from pillar to post by a team with zero net spend and a wage bill half of ours..

  33. @Wavey

    Yea we were in for him or atleast chasing him, that lad has all type of pace and is a very good finisher.

  34. JJ

    I think we need to seriously tap up klopp , tell him he can have the run of the place from the bottom up like wenger , shit even let the man change our kit to yellow and black if that’s what it will take to get him..!!

  35. tell klopp hes getting paid 8mil a year
    hes got a 150mil wage bill to keep his best and 100mil kitty to bring players like reus and hummels with him..

    he’ll come

    he’ll transform us..

  36. Wow! chelsea aint even that good, but they seem to have individuals that drive the rest of them forward.

  37. Just back from our wedding anniversary meal in the’Peter Tavy Inn’. Lovely pub on the edge of Dartmoor. venison burger with Brie and red onion relish for me, plus a couple of pints and a couple more of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Bloody good.

    What have you all been doing?

  38. @jj why the hell would he come? What do we have here that he does not have at Dortmund.

    Arsenal fans are so arrogant. thinking that “the world is all about Arsenal”. There are plenty of decent clubs out there. Dortmund being one of them.

    PL is not the pinnacle of football even though PL fans think so.

    Arsene has a huge kitty, that does not mean the board will trust that kitty to a new manager. For all we know they will appoint a director of football and change the structure after AW leaves.

    It will take more than ONE man to replace AW. he is a 10 man consecutive team packed in one man. He does everything in the club. controls everything.

    The day AW leaves the football part of the club will need a proper reshape…

    Not everyone can be bought, and do we want a manager that can be bought? Integrity and loyalty are values that one should honour in a manager imo. I think Klopp possesses those traits, meaning he won’t leave Dortmund until his contract is out.

  39. back from the gym and caught the last 15mins of the chels match and i had the simular feeling i use to have when i knocked about in my O2 Arsenal Away shirt. you just knew the goal was coming.

    these greedy arrogant fuckers running our club could of had what chels have and much more but they just happy with wenger coming in 4th and counting the pounds. they don’t give a shit how we feel and nowadays neither does wenger.

    jose ran down the pitch not to celebrate but to pass on tactics 2+ mins from fucking time.

  40. Poodle for one thing the league in Germany is stagnant with Bayern stripping Dortmund of their best players. The gap to Bayern is now an eye-watering 20 points, and that’s whilst they still have Lewandowski.

    For another money – AW is on a far bigger salary than Klopp.

    Finally this IS the most exciting league in the world – no doubt about it. A fresh challenge, a new prestigious club and money to spend.

    Plenty of reason to seriously consider the job.

  41. Cbob

    In Newcastle today. Seven hours round trip and not a beer in sight. Not much of the wine bottle I opened when I got home either…and it wasn’t €2,30 either!

  42. @Jonny plenty of reasons to turn it down too really…. we are lucrative but we are not the one and only club out there. Its not so that Arsenal can clap their hands and all the best managers in the world will just flock towards us…
    I think Klopp will stay at Dortmund.. But as i said we need a new team to replace AW.Atm he IS Arsenal. Not even Klopp can come in and BECOME Arsenal like AW is today. He would need a support team. A good support team. Lets hope the board has a lot of good people lined up for when AW quits. One man alone will never replace him, that for sure..

    Even if it was to be Klopp he would need a season or two to get into the rhythm of PL. I would not expect any trophies next year, top 4 though.. very doable even with a new manager…

  43. @jonny, Klopp is suppose to be like AW though. A man of integrity and loyalty. That is why so many want him. And that is probably why he will see out his contract at Dortmund. He is a great manager with integrity and loyalty.

    They are very few and far between.. If we had to keep AW for two more years to get Klopp at the end.. id do it 🙂

  44. So Chelsea semies in CL., no 2 i PL and no trophy, Arsenal no 4 in PL and FA cup trophy. What club has had the best season if this is how it pans out wonder?

  45. Of course there is but we are an attractive proposition – a VERY stable base to build upon.

    It is not unusual that he would want to choose a support team and make changes – that would be par of negotiations.

    Yes there are other places he could go, but he is the obvious candidate and, by my reckoning, the best fit to carry on AW’s work.

    I agree AW has too many jobs but I think you are completely overstating how many would be required to replace him. 10? He’s not superman!

  46. I agree – I expect him to see out his contract too but I’d like us to seriously test his resolve.

    It’s not like he has even a remote chance of winning the Bundesliga next season!

  47. jonny

    I would love us to get him, he is heavy metal to Arsene’s orchestra and i much prefer heavy metal in this crazy league! 🙂

    I think we should tempt him, we should pull out every persuasive argument in the book.

    But i have a feeling that Arsene will stay and the board will not do shit. It’s more of a feeling, more of an intuition. I know what they are like and to them, the day they lose Arsene then they wouldn’t know what to do with themselves. They would shit themselves.

    So Arsene will stay and next season will be the same as long as he doesn’t change, if he insists on the same tactics and ideas but with different players. The same outcome will happen.

    I just cannot see the board being decisive enough to sack him.

    The question is, will he resign himself?

  48. Bob

    When you mentioned about not blaming Arsene for player’s regressing. I meant more that the tactics and style of play makes player’s more ineffective. I think a different system and a more positive attacking tactic would see our players absolutely destroy teams.

    And i don’t know, i just think in training we do passing drills and mini matches. We do no freekick practice, no shooting practise etc. That’s just what i think anyway.

  49. If we lose the FA cup, I think he might just feel compelled to resign.

    I am not convinced even then though!

    The board won’t sack him but fan reaction might ultimately be a decisive factor – I, for one, hope this is not the case.

  50. Consols

    The only time I use Newcastle brown is in a beef in beer stew. However, difficult to get here in France so use Pelforth Brun.

    Yogi…… how much was the near empty bottle of wine?

  51. Sounds about right, Northbank.

    What’s Pelforth Brun? Didn’t know the French brewed brown beer.

  52. Consols

    It’s brewed in the north of France. 6.5%, not bad to drink either, but very good for cooking.

  53. Did people see Maureen passionately giving Shirley instructions before he went on to the pitch. As much as I dislike Maureen…… he gives his players tactics and play instructions before they enter the game. Wenger rarely does that!

  54. Maureen knows better than to leave it to trust with footballers. Most are just unaware of what is needed at any particular time and/or too egotistical.

  55. As much as I didn’t want to see Chelsea win, it was nice to see PSG humbled. I think however, if Zlatan had been put into the same position as Cavani, it would have been a goal.

  56. It looks as if Yogi is having a well deserved day off from blogging. So what should we talk about…..?

    I would suggest we examine how Neo-Classicism has developed, from how the allegience with the values of Wenger Antiquity has now moved into how the new decade will embrace ‘Kloppism’ and the demand for a naturalism that breaks with the idealism of the ancients to give a greater scope for in dividual expression.

    The Greeks showed a great achievement by giving balance between reason and passion through the art of tragedy. The sweetness of light of classical football gives way in the birth of tragedy to a much more complex vision clearly evoked to reinvest with a contemporary significance. The whole notion of ‘classicism’ has blurred and imploded the antithesis between Romantic and the Classical.

  57. Henry B

    There will be no last posting yesterday!


    Love to discuss if the Wenger period can be classified as a homogeneous whole, and the end marks a movement to a new period – and if so can they be classified under cultural movement or stylistic headings: “classical” “romantic” “modern” post-modern”? However isn’t the problem that there is no homogeneity and the underlying motor is the development of capital and its forms of accumulation?

  58. I am not sure you have got that quite right mon ami, Northbank.

    Neoclassicism in football is generally portrayed as Italian history; It elevated Roman heroes in particular.

    During the Age of Reason when Italy won many a World Cup its style, or mode, of play conveyed the advanced enlightenment ideals, which were reactions to the revolutionary ideals of their time.

    However, unlike neoclassical football, the romanticised game, as eschewed by the Brazilians, during the Age of Passion had no time for contemplation, so players generally showed emotional extremes, and celebrated the elemental forces of nature, depicting their natural ebullience.

    Now you are talking! 🙂

  59. HTL

    I think we have to start dismissing previous evocations of ‘classicism’ from the previous decade as a romantic sentiment in disguise. While clearly owing much to Wenger, Klopp could introduce a recategorisation of Wenger art in general. Bringing about a process of our traditional aesthetics but introducing an impact which radically alters the notion that Wengers culture holds within itself substantial extremes of ego and tragedy.

    Wenger culture has been an affair of a very narrow reason and what is essential is that Wenger culture be revitalised through new exemplars. So during the period of modernism the term ‘classicism’ can undergo several simultanious metamorphoses to evoke an historical style (generally considered totalitarian) to enable a psychological disposition and to echo a transcendent truth which denotes an historical style and a failure of nerve. A revitalisation of ‘Wenger classicism’ is largely the result of the collapse of the ‘Wenger mythology’ for within this the aesthetic trust has disappeared.

    The emphasis now must be on the new and this needs to be articulated in terms of formal transformations. In the space created by the collapse of the most recent mythology, contempary football will seek to install a tangible order.

  60. NB69

    I’m not sure how much to agree about this – I tend to the view that there is no self-conscious classical “moment” in football – only a retrospective nostalgia defining it. In as much as these categories apply to football – I tend to see the defining moment as a “modernist” re-interpretation at the time of “total football”. Now this is identified with the Michels Dutch team and Ajax but I read somewhere Arsenal played a system they called “The Wheel” somewhat a decade before.

    Now we are seeing a crisis of disconnection due to the media-age (postmodern?) repackaging of how football is consumed, a crisis which FFP is a feeble attempt to answer.

    In stylistic terms one could say that Wenger introduced to UK a (belated) reinvigoration of “classical” values into an ailing culture (typified by degeneration – boozing, betting, sex scandals…) with a re-emphasis on professionalism: technique,preparation, diet, clean-living (HA!). Now this is old hat and a new stylistic reinvigoration will be needed.

    Klopp “dynamism” seems to similarly re-emphasis a different aspect of what retroactively seems classic – passion (one hesitates to say “will” in a German context). But athleticism, technique and passion is a heady combination…

    However the disconnection problem of football in general will get worse – just as the crisis of late capital won’t be patched up. The crises will just re-occur with increasing frequency until a structural change is effected….

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