We Got Our Arsenal Back!

Arsenal 2 – 1 Chelsea

There can be no complaints about the result. The best team on the day won, with a performance born of adversity embracing the best in technique.

All of the players produced the goods when needed; no criticism of any at all.

Quite simply, Arsenal had more of everything: heart, desire, technique, and crucially, goals.

And for me, one player encapsulated the reasons why we are still celebrating Arsenal winning the FA Cup: Per Mertesacker. Alexis won the award, Ramsey the winner but having played just 38 minutes or whatever it was all season, the BFG came up with a captain’s performance.

The makeshift back three – the callow youth, the match rusty and the outstanding left back – marshalled Chelsea into dead-ends on all bar just one occasion. Held together by the glue of Mertesacker’s experience, the trio were outstanding.

Rob Holding laid an early marker by coming off best with Diego Costa in a moment of rough and tumble. The Spanzilian lashed out and in that moment, showed his opponents that he was riled. Not at the races for most of the afternoon, he was rendered impotent until the latter stages when he grabbed an ill-deserved equaliser.

Special mention as well for Anthony Taylor. Much-maligned beforehand – with good reason, it must be said – he produced the best performance of his career on the biggest stage. Every big decision, he was right and even the little ones. I don’t think any bookings can be argued with nor did he miss anything of note.

Which is more than can be said for the lino who tried to over-rule Alexis’ opened. Taylor dismissed the appeals for handball and after deliberation, rightly awarded the goal so calmly claimed by the Chilean. It was the perfect start.

Boy Who Cried Wolf

Psychologically, it put Chelsea on the backfoot. Despondent at the goal, relief at the offside flag, back to despondency; not a good cycle for anyone, irrespective of their profession.

It could have been worse. No-one can explain the bending of the laws of physics which saw Cahill flick the ball off the line from Özil’s effort, with the back of his heel. Nor will Aaron Ramsey ever understand how the ball rebounded off the post from Welbeck’s header onto his chest, only to hit the post once again.

The Chelsea goal had the spirit of Peter Bonetti guarding it, living the charmed nine lives of the Cat.

Özil struck the woodwork later on, while Courtois was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers but when Ospina was needed, he was there. Could he have done more with Chelsea’s goal? I don’t care; it’s about the saves he made when it mattered and there were a couple of vital ones.

But Arsenal’s dominance of the match crystalised in Victor Moses’ dismissal. He wriggled into the penalty area and with opportunity beckoning, he fell to the earth. The ignominy of a second yellow card and forever labelled a diver. Dismissed in the FA Cup for the shameful act; a reputation tarred.

Bravo to the referee for not being conned.

And to the Arsenal XI for the spirited and quick response to Chelsea’s undeserved equaliser. Three minutes from the restart, and with the Blues psyche already geared toward penalties, Sanchez found Giroud on the left, and from his excellent cross, Ramsey arrived with a well-timed run and calmly taken header.

There was no coming back from that.

Post-match, Arsène praised the team:

“You cannot get two tougher opponents, but we produced two outstanding performances.

“That is what makes me particularly proud, because no one gave us a chance at Wembley and we responded with attitude and class. We had an outstanding performance from the first minute onwards.

“This team has suffered, but they’ve united and responded. They showed strength and unity and played spectacular football.”

And not one argument with any of that will be brokered by me.

The Big Boss Groove

Nor is there any reason why Arsène should escape praise. My view on him and his situation hasn’t changed but against a backdrop of key players missing through injury and suspension, he fashioned a belief in the XI that they could win. He planted the seeds and they ran with it.

His reward? A place in the record books, possibly in perpetuity, as the single most successful FA Cup winning manager. The magic hat was found and dusted off yesterday afternoon. Bien joué, monsieur.

No more need be said by me today. It was the best performance of the season and I for one, am still enjoying it.

Had I been able to post yesterday, an FA Cup final soundtrack was to be part of it. I’ll add it today instead.

’til Tomorrow.

42 thoughts on “We Got Our Arsenal Back!

  1. A great day with all players getting a 10 from me…. 3 fa cups in 4 years….how many would settle for such failure I wonder..should of been 5/6….. back to my hangover….!!

  2. Loved it – got to the bar just in time for kick off and drank the local Alpha beer (what else) – A for Arsenal. I really did not see that performance coming but – wow. Arguably Cahill motm just shows how dominant we were….there is definitely a strong team in that squad. Chilling by the pool and enjoying the Greek sun perfect day. COYG !!

  3. Good morning you happy folks and welcome back Yogi.

    No complaints from me, that was probably the best all round performance from an Arsenal team for a decade.

    This morning it’s good to be a gooner!

  4. “We got our Arsenal back”

    And how. Lovely write-up, Yogi.

    It’s been a season from hell, but you couldn’t have asked for anything more yesterday. Massive performance when it mattered.

    Let’s hope the right decisions are made for the future. Most of us just want to see Arsene leave on a high note.

  5. It’s just a shame that AW took over ten years to change a system that wasn’t working. Whoever put the idea on his head, many thanks because I doubt it was an original idea, old dog new tricks etc etc etc

  6. Morning,

    ” We got our Arsenal Back”

    And the booze is still flowing! Outstanding performances across the park.

    What an epic way to finish the season. I love the FA Cup!

  7. A great day for the club first & foremost.

    The performance was as surprising as Vic Akers wearing long trousers but credit to all the players & Arsene for pulling a herd of rabbits out of the bag when it mattered.

    I thought we needed a certain collection of events (including a strong ref) to win the game & sure enough the stars aligned for us.

    Whilst every player did the business for me Alexis was the stand out performer. When he’s on his game like that he literally drives the team. If it turns out to be a farewell performance he’s going to be awfully difficult to replace.

    As for the bigger picture, hopefully Stan will have enjoyed his day out so much he’ll get the taste for it & back our new manager in the transfer market – as this has to be the perfect way to go for Arsene.

  8. You have to have enjoyed that as a fan. So Chelsea didn’t turn up, but you still have to beat what’s in front of you. I think in any case that the didn’t turn up argument is bogus. If you can’t motivate yourself for a domestic double as a player then that speaks volumes.
    However, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. Why couldn’t the players play with that dedication all season? If Arsene is to stay the he needs someone in the club above him hierarchically to keep him on his toes. Personally I would like him to bow out on a high and hand over the coaching and technical side to someone else. For all of his curious statements this season he is not a vile man. We need a massive overhaul at the club. For example: bring back Sczeczny to let him and Cech fight it out. Get another no nonsense CB like Holding and switch mustafi to right CB in a 3 CB formation. Change defensive and GK coaches, sell the players who need to go(we all know who they are) etc etc. Let’s enjoy the win today but work to take the right decisions to enable us to challenge next season. For all the mocking of Spurs they were not too far off with their challenge and like us they were in Europe . They and the rest of the top 6 will be spending to improve we will need to more than match that.

  9. What a fantastic day in the sun at Wembley. No bad performances from the Arsenal players, makes me wonder where those performances have been for 6 months.

    Welbeck stood out for me. His running behind the fullbacks showed how to beat the back 3, dragging them all over the place.

    Pure joy

  10. Congratulations to the players, the squad and the manager. I have not been so surprised in a long time. We knew something had changed since the new formation, but that was a stunning performance that showed real heart and purpose.

    Longer term I am not sure where it takes us, we have been tactially so inept for so long it is hard to forgive le boss; we are still wedded to a style of football that we don’t have the money to back up and is easy for well disciplined teams to break down and I am not sure that has gone.

    The proof of the pudding will be in whether we embrace this new found will to defend and score goals, relying on strikers and defenders to do their jobs rather than endless midfielders being rather inaffective at both. This would mean us reinforcing the front and the back lines at the expense of the midfield over the holidays.

  11. Pete the Thirst,

    Yes Welbeck ran them ragged, getting in behind tirelessly all day and his desire and commitment were faultless. I’d like to see him improve/ develop his footwork on and off the ball. He’s let quite a few go begging this season and if he’s going to lead the line he’ll need to improve infront of goal. I’ll give him the summer to work on it!

  12. As Yogi rightly points out, we should spare a mite of congratulation for referee Taylor. Not our favourite official in the past but his interpretation of the Laws gave us our first goal and in general he was fair and brave. 😉

  13. I tend to agree, Nicky, altho I have never subscribed to the ‘Refs have it in for us’ viewpoint.

    Some of them are incompetent, some are just not good enough, but corrupt or biased? I have never seen any evidence of that – I wonder who has?

    On the other hand, I did think on first viewing that Alexis had handled the ball, but it came as a deflection off his knee, so not deliberate.

  14. Great review Yogi

    Awesome game and I will admit to being very very surprised for the 2nd time this season. I thought Arsene would find a way to finish in the top 4 and I thought for sure that we would lose yesterday and to see us play as well as we did against the best team in the league is a shocker. Full credit to Arsene and all of the players but the biggest shout out goes to the BFG.

    I would have been very unhappy if Chelsea had scored our first goal and it had been allowed. Once the Chelsea players saw the flag go up it changes everything. The rules are so incredibly nebulous and on any other day that goal might have been disallowed. I can’t blame refs because there is a controversy in almost every game of the season and it sets up a situation where its impossible for the refs to be consistent

  15. Yogi, thank you for a full seasons worth of writing and I know it must have felt absolutely fantastic to write that this morning!

    From top to bottom it was a 10 performance with Mert standing out for me with a performance that no matter your age you will remember especially when you take everything into consideration: defensive crisis, he hadn’t played in nearly a full season, Club Captain, never played in a back 3 against the PL Champs and their strike force.

    Best tackle of the match goes to Ozil: chases Hazard down half the pitch, takes the ball cleanly and leaves a little for Hazard too! And you lot say he’s lazy 😉

  16. The other players who deserve special mention are Nacho and Ramsey. Nacho was superb on the left side of the defense. Ramsey is not my favorite player but he certainly does not deserve the degree of distaste that he gets on our blog. I think he set the bar way to high for himself in the 13/14 season and there is no way he can ever replicate that sort of season. However, he is still a reasonably talented player and he is easily the best option we have in the role that he has been used since we changed the formation

  17. Haha just recieved a noise complaint from yesterday from the property manager it said: “…..loud shouting, jumping and it sounded like running. This is your first warning, the next one will lead to a fine.”.

    Guess my neighbors aren’t Arsenal supporters hahaha

  18. Well what a fantastic game and for once we got exactly what we deserved. To be completely consistent I’d like to add that ‘top 4’ in itself is not and will never be a trophy. The FA Cup most certainly is, so fuck you Spurs, when you look at respective role of honours (or role of shame in your case) it will always state the in 2017 AFC won the FA Cup and Tottenham won fuck all 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  19. I am 100% certain that there are a segment of the Chelsea blogosphere that are claiming ref incompetence and anti-Chelsea bias. The FA and PGMOL did not want Chelsea to win the double. Never mind that they did not deserve to win and had the whole game to get back into the game but that is irrelevant to the conspiracy theorists.

    Our first goal would never have happened without the intervention of Alexis’ hand. However, in real time it was impossible to know for sure what happened. There was only one angle from all of the replays that showed what actually happened. However the refs are judged on what we see in retrospect after watching 5-6 ultra slow motion replays. The idea that the refs are incompetent or biased is totally unfair and unrealistic.

  20. Great day to be a gooner. Since we went to a back 3 we’ve only lost one game I think? Title winning form

  21. Afternoon Peeps,

    Still enjoying yesterday’s result and the record number of wins. A brilliant performance from all of the players. Some our best performances in recent times have come when we have set out to contain our opponents and deny them space. That must surely send a message. Loved the tackle on Hazard by Ozil and Costa getting wound up.
    I’ve watched endless replays of nearly everything today. Without doubt the ball hit Alexis’ arm, although it deflected up on to it. It could be argued that his arms were up with the express intention of blocking the ball anyway he could, including his arms. Does that make it deliberate? Who cares!

  22. Watching the Indy 500. Saw an incredible crash a short while ago with the car flying through the air and bouncing off the top of the barrier. Amazingly the driver got out of the car uninjured. The driver cells in these cars are so good at protecting the drivers.

  23. @C,
    Re your 3.26, if Arsenal’s display yesterday is the shape of things to come, you should start looking for a new home. Or save up for the inevitable fines! 😉

  24. @Adam Singh,
    If the introduction of a “back three” is our answer, I would like someone to explain why this should be. I am seeking information not querying the tactic, having been brought up on two fullbacks and three halfback! 😉

  25. First time reply, long time reader. At HenryB, who said:

    “Some of them are incompetent, some are just not good enough, but corrupt or biased? I have never seen any evidence of that – I wonder who has?”

    Me, I think — Riley, in that game against MU all those years ago? I’ve never seen him quizzed on either.

    More importantly though, yesterday, wow. Just wow.

    PF

  26. nicky,

    Back 3, back 5. Whatever you want to call it I think we’ve looked much better since the switch. Especially in midfield.

  27. Gutted for Fernando Alonzo. Honda engine gave out with 25 laps to go. Great performance. Was in with a chance at a podium spot and possibly could have nicked it.

  28. Still on such a high from the Final!

    Just wanted to go off topic and just say thank you to Totti, Xabi and Lahm who all retired and have been nothing but class since day one.

  29. And I’d like to add that it’s heart warming to see so many on here just enjoying our success (okay, the team’s success – we didn’t actually contribute anything more than willing our boys on as hard as we could) without feeling the need to frame this as part of the Wenger in/out debate. True Gooners.

  30. Great performance from all. Great result. 4th place bah! Give me this every day. V pleased for manager and players. Can’t wait to give a it back to my Chelsea supporting colleagues after the extended weekend.

  31. Michael Cox in the Guardian points out that playing Welbeck made the Chelsea defence drop deeper to cope with his pace and opened up the midfield for Arsenal. Wouldn’t have happened with Giroud.

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