Still Enjoying That Wembley Feeling

There’s a mathematical equation for this: Britain + Bank Holiday = Rain. So forgive me if I pass some of the time by watching a rerun of Saturday’s FA Cup final.

Unusually, it was a good game from start to finish. While the euphoria of victory allows some magnanimity on my part, I’d like to think I’d be able to acknowledge that had we lost. I’m not sure I could have, knowing Chelsea had completed the double.

Fortunately, that was never an issue although as we know, luck played no part in it. And in such moments, it’s understandable that emotions over-run common sense and belief oozes through some veins. I’m not ruminating on what next season holds today; we’ve got all summer for that. Celebration mode is still engaged.

With good reason; some of the humour was spot on:

As many pointed out, our worst season in twenty years yielded more reward than Tottenham’s best in half-a-century.ย North London for a while longer, remains red.

There were many performances to be praised. The combination at the heart of the defence with Mertesacker and Holding double-teaming Diego Costa. Some of the match photos of the younger of the pair unashamedly giving the latter verbals are marvellous to see.

The FA Cup is the team’s reward but there is surely no doubt that Holding has put himself into the frame for a regular starting line-up place next season. He has plenty of experience around him to learn from and to lean on in matches.

SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE

One player I’m sure I didn’t mention yesterday was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Returning from injury, on the ‘wrong’ side of the pitch, he had an outstanding game, underlining why it is important to retain his services this summer.

His versatility shows what he brings to the squad. We know he wants a central midfield role and I think that’s where he will find the prime years of his career in that area of the pitch.

At Wembley, with Nacho Monreal for support, he had a quietly authoritative performance, ensuring that Chelsea’s wing backs and wide midfielders were pushed back. It also relieved Alexis of the need to track back so frequently.

It was the same on the right with Bellerin marauding andย ร–zil stretching the Chelsea defence. And he did his defensive work as well; Eden Hazard has never been scythed down so cruelly if his rolls and pirouette were any yardstick.

That reaction from Chelsea typified their performance. Arsenal pushed them onto the back foot, a position which they were not familiar with and one that they did not react well to.

The opening goal vexes them; Courtois, Gary Cahill contended, might have come out and grabbed the ball were Aaron Ramsey not there. It’s a false logic; the Belgian remained rooted to the spot when the Welshman was on his own momentarily so he wasn’t come off his line in any circumstances.

Nor were they happy handball wasn’t given. Courtois argued Alexis performed the perfect volleyball block, despite the fact that ball ricocheted off his knee onto his hands; natural position be damned.

Diving from Costa through to Moses became the norm for the champions. The weight of expectation didn’t sit well on their shoulders. They were rightly favourites but the tag meant nothing when compared to Arsenal’s desire.

TASTE OF HONEY

Rattling them in a one-off game but harnessing the positives from Wembley is vital if it is to be built on. And in every single position, there were plenty of positives. Even with Dave the Goalkeeper.

Ospina got brickbats for the goal while meriting the bouquets. The squad goalkeepers pushed aside their personal ambitions to congratulate the Colombian in what was most likely, his final Arsenal appearance. While he may not have known too much about his late save from Costa, the positioning was right to be there to block in the first place.

From front to back, the squad pulled together outstanding performances. It ended a dreadful season on a high. And in terms of the finals in my lifetime, I think it’s possibly the best, with only 1971 to rival it. Maybe 2005 where injuries and a red card saw us play for penalties.

1979 remains seared into our psyche as the ‘five-minute final’ but rarely do we recall the two-goal lead dropped. 1993 was dour, attritional, enlivened in the replay by Andy Linighan’s late winner; 1998, 2002, 2003 – all straightforward. 2014 against Hull was a mess of our own making while 2015 was the most one-sided final Arsenal has ever taken part in.

Comparisons are for idle days with not a lot better else to do. Before the week begins in earnest with tomorrow’s board meeting, ย I think I’ll sit back and savour the victory once again.

’til Tomorrow.

 

65 thoughts on “Still Enjoying That Wembley Feeling

  1. Good morning folks.

    Now that the euphoria over the amazing Cup Final win is dying down, all attention must now turn to the Wenger contract situation. A board meeting to be held tomorrow will decide whether or not to offer the manager a new contract and, from what has been said, Wenger will have a day to decide to sign it or not.

    Gazidis is known to favour a reconstruction of the current management structure, the appointment of a Director of Football being a prerequisite. Wenger has previously said that he sees no need for such an appointment and would be unwilling to work under or alongside anyone who would usurp his total control over footballing matters.

    Asked whether he would be making a presentation to the board, Wenger dismissed the notion saying all he had to do was advise the board to look at the video of the Cup Final, where they would see that he is obviously the right man to carry on.

    Efforts are being made in the media to portray Wenger as a tactical genius following his change from a back four to a back three for the last five games of the season.

    It is worth noting that following Chelseaโ€™s September defeat at The Emirates, Antonio Conte made that same switch saying, โ€œit was obvious that the defensive formation was not working.โ€ That was after just three games in charge.

    Despite the fact that our defence had not been fit for purpose for a decade it took Wenger around fifty more games, League, EFL Cup, Champions League and FA Cup to make the same switch by which time we were out of contention for all but the FA Cup.

    When he first arrived at Highbury Wenger was an innovative, forward thinking coach but has, particularly over the past five years, been overtaken by coaches with a fresh approach and fresh tactics. His failure to recognise the problematic nature of his defensive system for such a long time is a damning indictment of his failure to keep up to date.

    Iโ€™m afraid that beating Chelsea in the FA Cup Final is in itself nowhere near enough justification for Wenger to be allowed to remain as manger at Arsenal.

  2. Orson Kaert,

    That did not take long. I watched the game in Sydney at a supporters club and one guy shouted out he would leave it one day before returning to the AW out campaign. Wow. How media has turned so many into childish, impatient, entitled know-it-alls.

    I should say I always like your comments and humour Orson but give it a rest.

    We can return to Klopp and Pep who won nothing this season another day perhaps.

  3. Arsetralian,

    As far as I’m concerned the Cup Final result made no difference to my feelings about the manager, he did an excellent job of either coaxing, cajoling or bullying a great performance from his selected team but the question has to be asked, why couldn’t he do the same for games against West Bromwich, Crystal Palace and so many others?

  4. Yes, he shd go out on a high. Met lots of Arse fans who, like me, hv utmost respect n sincere admiration for what he has done for the club. But we felt that the club needs someone younger n with newer ideas. Give him a bronze statue anytime.

  5. So for one successful game we should forget a bucket load of crap for season after season?

    Sorry, its the people who think this result just papers over everything and that anyone who disagrees with them is “impatient”.

    Impatient?

    Year after fucking year after fucking year of crap, and this is impatient?

    For fucksake thats one of the $^&&$^ things I’ve heard on this board.

    I’m sorry, but I’ve got totally got sick of the drivel spewed out like “impatient”, “fickle”, careful what you wish for”, and similar drivel that has no intelligent basis or thought.

  6. Namaste

    I agree Wenger’ spirit deserves at least another day of rest, though I thought the team pretty much picked itself, perhaps even literally.

    I also agree the Chamberlain device deserves a shout out. Hardly noticed him making his usual darting runs and gettin involved in play in their half. He put on his mature defensive boots and put in a great shift resulting in Moses mugging himself off through frustration.

    Before the final I was certain it was time for Per to call it a day. Being in the middle of a three seems perfect for him when you have speed on both sides. I’d say defence is done once chambers is back and midfield too once Jack and Santi comes back.

    Which leaves us in an all to familiar place. We need to be getting the best scorers (2) we possibly can given our demoted status. Retain Alexis and that’s half the problem solved with consistent focus being the 20.000 tonne fluorescent elephant in the room.

  7. Completely agree, still basking in the euphoria of the Cup Final and for me, this is the best of the bunch in my lifetime purely because of just how shambolic things had gotten and how most didn’t even give us a shot at keeping it close.

    There might have been top performances all over the pitch, brilliant saves from Ospina, Welbeck running the Chelsea defenders ragged and our 35m man in midfield dominating the other midfielder everybody wanted. Then you have the back 3: the young upstart who cost pennies but has shown with continued development he could be quality, you have the “old man” who stands literally as a giant but came up with a herculean effort and finally the LB who is consistently brilliant but never really gets the credit he rightly deserves.

    O the joy

  8. Well, it’s a war, really. Between Arsene and elements of the Board.

    He is using every weapon at his disposal, including the rather nasty one of bashing the Board with ‘disloyal’ supporters.

    I have to say that my disdain for him is increasing. Great Cup win Arsene but it is ingenuous and just plain dishonest to blame your failures, over many years, on supporters calling you out. Nasty.

  9. Arsetralian

    Winning the FA cup does not change the fact that its been 9 years of stagnation on the pitch. How many years do we have to watch the same thing over and over before you will no longer say we are being impatient to ask for change.

  10. @Mike SA,
    Calm down.
    You are merely invited to enjoy a performance of high excellence when Arsenal FC came good. A simple and reasonable request to all but the most fickle doom and gloom merchants who automatically try to turn any success into something of a disaster.
    Not too many similar instances to savour in the past season I must admit. But If you can’t stand the inevitable joys and sorrows of our great Club’s performances, feel free to follow another club. We have no need of fair weather so-called supporters like you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Nicky
    Thank you for that I was literally beside myself with despair when we won!!!!
    I do think time for a change BUT for heavens sake let’s enjoy the unexpected victory over the chavs, a truly exceptional performance and another real trophy in the cabinet – well, just for a bit…..

  12. So the WUM appears and starts telling people who they can support again.

    I agree with Orson, Bob and Bill.

  13. Arsene had the opportunity to go out on a high, 2 years ago. I hope this time he does, because he deserves it.

  14. Watching Huddersfield v Reading. Neither team looks like they will be booking an extended stay in the PL.

  15. nicky,

    You don’t speak for me Nicky when you say ‘we’.
    Sick of your bullshit remarks.
    You are patronising and use your age as a lever,likening it to wisdom,when in fact it’s given you patience and not much more when it comes to things Arsenal .

  16. @Jonnygunner,
    Sorry to have rattled your cage. I’ll try and be impatient about Arsenal in future. And rest assured, the “we” I used certainly wouldn’t have included you.
    Because I suspect you are one of the sad minority who simply cannot enjoy the heights we reached on Saturday. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. @Dalm,
    It’s amazing how the bitterness on this site, which got worse as the season emerged, has prevented some folk from simply enjoying the excellent display by all the team on Saturday.
    I dread to think of the ACLF atmosphere if, as expected, the present manager remains in situ for another two years. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. “Still Enjoying That Wembley Feeling”

    Sure, most definitely, of course, what else to watch in this 3 day weekend other than Arsenal playing Chelsea of the Park two times in one season and win a trophy.

    We know we are a big club, we know we can do more and we want the Owner and Board to realize and understand who we are. THE Arsenal.

    I watched the game 3 times and every time I enjoy better than the one before, it’s just that good.

    Some pundits say Chelsea didn’t turn up in the first half, I say they were stunned at the way we played from minute one and even after scoring we didn’t set back we were the ones with more real chances to score.

    The score line flattered Chelsea more than Arsenal, this game could have been 4/1 at least.

    ****

    The BFG….He may have been not match fit on paper, he was ready mentally and the back 3 suited him perfectly. To faster defender on each side with his great positional sense made it hard for Chelsea to find the space.

    Great job from him, he came up big when we needed him. Thanks BFG.

    ****

    That 3-Man shot block was amazing to watch or what?

    Ramsey, still has it. I know had a few nightmares but he still has some class.

    Bellerin, you need to score more young man….Work on that and you may be the best ever right back.

    Sorry for the Ox not playing on his more productive side, I still think he made sure no danger is coming from this side.

    ****

    Could not be happier we finished the season with some pride. We have work to do and things to sort out but enjoy for a few days.

  19. Good Evening YW qui ta raison. It is rightly so that Arsenal supporters to take time to ‘Savour le moment”.

    Sun is shining here and the weather is sweet and the temp is a good 27. I have Just opened a bottle of local Sauvignon and got a got some vege matter all rolled and ready to spark. Bon soiree.

  20. I certainly think we can and should enjoy this for a while longer. Plenty to talk about and share with one another on the cup final still. It was a fantastic match after all.

    I’d like to appreciate Monreal who not only played well in the fourth position he’s played for us (CB in 2, CB in 3, LB, and LWB) but was a fiery competitor and leader in team spirit. These sorts of qualities were precisely get made the performance so enjoyable and distinguish it from so many previous collapses in big games. Leadership, competitive spirit, fully committed determination and fighting will. Monreal screaming a top Coquelin to sort out positions like confusion when he came on; flying into blocks and tackles and clearing the ball 50 yards and exhorting fellow defenders to stop dwelling on the ball in our box but get it out of danger. SMashing away the rebound after Ospina saved a vicious shot from Costa to preserve our lead and then hugging Ospina… Nacho showed such passion and was ecstatic at the whistle. He had some shaky moments in the first half of the season when he wasn’t getting much protection from Iwobi but he has been tremendous and versatile.

  21. G4E,

    I really have to agree with you that Chelsea were just shocked and overwhelmed by the energy and pressing g me fight we showed taking it to them from the first whistle. They didn’t get a chance to settle.

    I watched it over again as well. It was a superb match. It had everything–skill and freest plays, physical commitment without spilling over into excessive fouling, dramatic decisions, tension and emotion.

    Years from now we will remember this as a great Arsenal FA cup win–one of our biggest. And Mertesacker will be lauded for a legendary performance and for his leadership and example.

  22. I believe Ramsey broke the distance covered record for Wembley finals, running 14.4 km’s, 95% passing, and of course a second cup winning goal. But believe your eyes–he was all over the pitch and was back to playing at that inhuman level of energy.

  23. One of the funnier moments was watching Coquelin display his dribbling skills on the left wing and in the corner. I enjoyed that, though I wasn’t laughing when he got booked within 30 seconds of coming on! He was a defensive sub for Ox and immediately had to restrict and constrain himself defensively for doing something so silly. Though the ref did rather pounce on the chance to show a card there.

  24. Limestone:

    Ramsey raised expectations way to high for his own good with his 13/14 season but he certainly does not deserve the negativity which has developed around him. Long term we can’t count on him to avoid muscle pulls and we should have sold him for big money and bought a better player after his performance in Euro2016. However he is easily the best box to box midfielder on our roster not named Cazorla and the 3 at the back set up is the best for taking advantage of his skill set.

  25. Nice knowing you Arsene, you have
    Graced the premier league for so long, but times change and I’m afraid you cannot, don’t go out as bitter and twisted.

  26. Bill,

    We probably should have cashed in on him, JW, Theo, and a few more a couple years ago. Right now I think we should keep Ramsey but add at least one more in midfield. I agree with you that we need Cazorla in the Rosicky role–veteran squad member who has quality and is consistent.

  27. nicky,

    Nicky,
    Me and my wife were watching the match at home and couldn’t believe the performance that the Gunners put in-and we were delighted with the result.
    It doesn’t take away the fact that I think Arsene should move on.
    Some people don’t know when their time is up eh Nicky ?๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. Limestonegunner,

    Completely agree about Nacho, outside of his first shaky half of the season when he first signed and the shaky part of about the first month of this season he has been nothing short of excellently reliable for us and at 31 years old he still has plenty of pace and quickness. There were a couple of times where Hazard picked up the ball and turned to run thinking he would simply run by Nacho and NOPE, there was our fabulous Spaniard running with him then winning the ball off of him.

    I know we signed Saed who was just named best LB in Germany (yup even ahead of the excellent Rodriguez and Alaba) but it would be a shame to see him go

  29. Orson Kaert,

    I appreciate you feel that way about change OK

    But why do you feel the need to piss on our parade, piss into our warm tent, spoil the moment

    Be a miserablist on your own time or when we really have something to worry about

    Winning everything and every game is not going to happen

    Enjoy the moments
    Otherwise what is the point
    Invest in a sure thing as Roman did when he started the ridiculous spending…oh yes suddenly we now all want to be owned by Russian crooks too to really make sure we win

  30. consolsbob,

    Nothing like a good bourbon my friend!

    Though, there are some good bourbons you need a corkstrew for so maybe your on team bourbon…

  31. C,

    We have to keep him C. He’s an excellent player. Very versatile as well when injuries strike (not if!).

  32. Limestonegunner,

    Ramsey getting into the box for the winner was truly amazing. Nothing to do with technique, etc etc, just pure will-power. Can’t blame the defenders for letting that one in. Nobody had the energy to track his run.

  33. Nicky

    I have refrained from entering into any dialogue with you in the past as I really don’t think you’re worth the effort.

    However, seeing as you chose to address me directly: yes, I was angry.

    Its funny how you and your ilk are unable to enjoy the moment without trying to piss on someone else’s parade.

    I got angry because some self-righteous little arsewipe took the opportunity to have a go.

    The sort of behavior I got angry about is truly cowardly. Its the little kid on the playground who tries to get a snide kick in from behind then complains to the teacher when they get fucked up as a result.

    You never fail to try and tell everybody else how they should behave or support. Apparently blind faith is the only option.

    I live in a country with a president who is a lying, thieving, thuggish sack of shit.

    If I don’t support him then I’m unpatriotic?

    Sorry, that’s not even insane, that’s just stupid.

    Teling me to support another club?

    Just who the fuck do you think you are?

    Go and fucking do one.

  34. Arsetralian,

    Talks between Kroenke and Wenger took place on Monday, the board will meet today (Tuesday), an announcement will be made tomorrow. Occasionally events happen very quickly, your warm tent was going to get pissed on anyway, I was giving you a bit of advanced warning.

  35. @ Mike SA,
    I feel sorry for you, you’re so mixed up. You appear to need treatment for some sort of mental disorder.
    To introduce your President and your crude views on him, on to a site for discussion about Arsenal FC must be the height of peculiar thinking.
    And one of your unfortunate symptoms causes you to burst into print without having read the subject about which you want to reply.
    When I invited you to enjoy the excellence of Arsenal’s display last Saturday, I didn’t expect a childish reply accusing me in turn “of not enjoying the moment”.
    The rest of your 6.39 of yesterday is so rambling and disjointed it’s impossible to comment on what you are trying to say.
    Should you feel mentally able, I suggest you try and re-phrase another comment on matters for which ACLF is famed. Try to be grammatically correct and without the obscenities. I will then attempt to reply.
    The only alternative is for you to continue wallowing in self pity, totally unable to enjoy a moment of glory produced by our great Club. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  36. Orson Kaert,

    If Wenger spoke directly to Kroenke first before the board meeting then there is only one way that this is going to go. Wenger In or Out it’s looking very much like a done deal.

  37. andy1886,

    There must have been some element of doubt. I can only believe that Kroenke was waiting on the result of the Cup Final to award Wenger a new contract. We know how much he has supported the manager since he bought into the club, but needed some hint of success in order to sell the contract to us the customers.

    As far as I’m concerned it will take more than an “Old Tin Pot” full of Poly Filler to plaster over the cracks in Wenger’s empire.

    It’s also worth noting that suddenly there are stories in the press about ยฃ300,000 per week deals for Sanchez and Ozil on the table.

    One question the board should ask Wenger is what would constitute a “good” 2017/18 season.

    History is already being written, according to The Telegraph, under Wenger Arsenal have never finished outside the top FIVE!

  38. Orson Kaert,

    This is not the way to run a professional football club, Law announced earlier in the season that he was leaving, now he seems to have changed his mind and will stay for the time being, that’s big of him, doing us all a favour.

  39. Orson Kaert,

    Orson…..I received a care home leaflet today(at 52 that’s not promising).
    Do you want me to forward it to you?๐Ÿ˜‰<that's Nicky's really,but I borrowed it.

  40. Orson Kaert,

    According to that usmanov letter, 2012 i think, the board are the puppet masters. Allowing Wenger to massage his ego while assuring Stan has no complaints financially.
    Even with the fantastic cup win, given the investment, this season is a bad one. As it appears our model is based off being in the CL. A good 17/18 would be promotion back to the top table. I think the delays may be down to collectively coming up with a solution. I’d be very wary of assuming Wenger could get back into the top four or win the Europa sticking to what we have seen from him over the last three years.

  41. Orson Kaert,

    It won’t bother me if he stays as I have no unrealistic expectations of how well we should be doing

    We won something this year which is more than Pep did with a club who spent top dollar on 7/10 most expensive signings in epl history

  42. Arsetralian,

    And have started already as mufc will again
    It is an arms race we can never win which is why you have all shifted attention from wanting the Russian sugar daddy to buy you success

  43. Colts,

    The one thing Kroenke will take notice of is the drop in income from the Champions League to the Europa League. The only way to mitigate the loss is to go deeper into the tournament, but even winning will not make make up the short fall.

  44. @Australian,
    What worries me is that ever since Arsenal FC and Kroenke came together, the Club devolved into a one-person ownership. Whether we like it or not we have a “sugar daddy” owner (although whether he will ever put money into the Club is debatable).
    The problem is what happens in the future. If Usmanov takes over, the “sugar daddy” principle continues, which is not really a good thing. Too much power in the hands of one person.
    What I would like to see is perhaps a consortium formed ( from the City?) to invest in the Club when the Kroenkes leave, with a Board with real democratic powers. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  45. Arsetralian,

    I think the consensus on here, over the last few weeks, has been against Usmanov taking over the club.

    In today’s climate the rich clubs who are prepared to splash the cash are the ones likely to win the prizes.

    What was we spent last season? ยฃ100 million? That got us the FA Cup and the Europa League. How much would we need to spend in order to make up the eighteen point deficit to the League Champions?

  46. No Nicky

    I just don’t have a lot of time for outright stupidity.

    You’re patently not the brightest light in the harbor, so I really couldn’t be bothered to exert any more effort on you.

  47. Reports have surfaced that Giroud wants more assurance that he will feature this summer or will consider offers from Lyon and Marseille. Honestly, I would use him as a make weight for Lacazette who is still waiting for Athletico to find out if their transfer ban will be rescinded or not.

  48. Limestonegunner,

    I agree, I think we do need to keep him but he has also spoken about ending his career back home in Spain so I wouldn’t at all hold ill feelings if he did leave or request to leave as a 31 year old LB.

  49. Good Morning, cross patches. ๐Ÿ™‚

    All this talk about the sugar daddies etc and the possibilities, or otherwise, of them pouring money into the club is demonstrating a selective memory loss, methinks.

    The UEFA FFP rules dictates what monies are legally available to spend on transfers, [Turnover/Profit/Loss/ Debt ratios] – so the days of copying the Chavs and City owners by pouring money into any club, hand over fist, have gone.

    Manu can spend big bucks on players because as they are financially the ‘biggest’ football club in the world, with the biggest turnover, they can pretty much outbid/outbuy almost any other club in the world — just up Maureen’s duff, as the expert purchaser of titles.

    Don’t worry I am not going to retype the rules – not because it would bore any of you – but I just could not be assed.

    How you doing, Nicky, you little scoundrel, upsetting the blogging fraternity? ๐Ÿ˜€

  50. Spy,

    Even Arsenal tbh. How many times since the 1930’s have we won the league as the richest club in our division? Precisely zero, but that didn’t stop Whittaker, Mee, Graham or even Arsene himself. During the Graham era for example we were often out bid by the likes of Liverpool, ManU, Everton, Villa, and even on occasion by Spurs, West Ham and Chelsea (then a distinctly average club).

    Money helps, but good coaching, tactics and building a coherent team with the right attitude helps far more.

  51. My mate is on twitter and he said Gooners think that Jack is gone since he has removed everything Arsenal from his social media and according to what he has seen from people, he has yet to congratulate Arsenal on the FA Cup. Twitter is hilarious

  52. @Henry B,
    I’m fine Henry and I hope I’m not upsetting anyone of sound mind. I’m still purring over the delight of last Saturday and can’t wait for the results of the Window. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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