The “Cup Final Saturday & We’re In It” Post

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The sound of footsteps run into the distance. The hinge on the door betrays the need for oil to smooth it’s journey between open and closed. The footsteps get louder as they approach.

Dad
Yes, son?
Dad, I opened the door and it’s really here!
What’s that son?
Dad?

Footsteps pad into the distance before returning rapidly to the foreground

Yes son?
Dad?
Yes?
Dad?
Yes?
DAD? IT’S THE CUP FINAL SATURDAY AND WE’RE IN IT POST!!!!!
I know, it’s bloody brilliant, isn’t it?

Well, it is, isn’t it? If everything you dream of, if every trophy you desire, ends in the word “League”, sorry this one is not for you. Twelve months ago it was “The “Cup Final Saturday & We’re Not In It” Post“. Not today, it isn’t. Today we have the final for a proper cup, where 256 become 128 clubs who diminish into 64 into 32 into 16, 8, 4, 2, until the evening turns to night when there can be only one. Until then, we’ll hang tight and listen to the The Cup Final Hoedown by either clicking on the link or in the right hand sidebar widget.

Jesus, it’s been a long week and yet strangely quiet. When I was younger, the cup final seemed so much more, well, important in the past. Every word in the newspaper was hung on, every snippet on the early evening news watched without the benefit of continuous looping of the same story. Until on the Thursday or Friday when the teams were announced.  Times have changed, Pathé gave way as the monochrome world moved into our living rooms from the cinema and the colour spectrum of the television screens moved into High Definition, shouting louder than High Fidelity. The luxuriant tones of Messrs Jones and Butler are long gone, it’s a different world, another era. It’s still the FA Cup final though. You remember the one where there was a joyous proclamation of how many viewers around the globe would be watching the game. When those numbers were recalled without the unsaid echoes of “but the Premier League attracts more…

Even the likes of Sheffield Wednesday were the opponents and we need considerable quantities of alcohol to make the 120 minutes bearable. Granted I think that the 2014 final might be the first when one of the great and good left a courtroom in cuffs as part of the build-up. To be honest, that killed a paragraph or two about the cup final TV coverage years ago. No wonder the Beeb want to get this one over and done with. Who knows what Stuart Hall was laughing at maniacally now. You can’t be sure but Luxembourg have never been that funny to me, to be honest.

And I think that’s why some of the nostalgia has surfaced. That and distance. The regularity of the visits to Cardiff, that the final was held in the Welsh capital rather than on its native soil, bears part of the brunt. Rebuilding Wembley was necessary, anyone who stood on the terraces there will testify to that, but in doing so, the arch, well, let’s be honest, it lacks a bit of history.

So let’s create some then, eh, Arsenal. An eleventh win would equal that of Manchester United but that total is entirely unimportant. What is need on so many levels, for so many reasons, is that Arsenal win. Unless you view the Humber as your home.

Turning Wembley the same colour of the north London sky, that’s the aim for the day. For McLintock, read Mertesacker. George, Sunderland, the winning goalscorers await company in the pantheon. The heroic goalkeeping of Wilson, Jennings, Seaman wait to welcome; who do they wait to welcome, that’s the question, the decision Arsène Wenger has wrestled with this week, one that has left him less irritated than those over his contract. Lukasz Fabianski has served him well in the cup run, providing the platform for victory with two key saves in the semi-final shootout. That counts for something, doesn’t it. Much is made of Wenger’s loyalty, about his lineage not needing a pen to commit to a contract. Little has been said of his pragmatism, his ruthless winning streak. He will pick the side he believes will win and he has form in dropping a cup goalkeeper for the final as Richard Wright can attest. Not that it is certain Wojciech Szczesny will play either, it is a genuine 50/50 to the outsider. Those ‘in the know’ probably do so already, it seems incredulous to think that the players haven’t been informed who is in the starting line-up, who is on the bench.

That seems to be the most likely place for Jack Wilshere, Carl Jenkinson, Mathieu Flamini, Yaya Sanogo. Played they might have in other games this season but now is the time for those strongest, the fittest; the best XI he can field. Closer to the line-up which started the last home game of the Premier League campaign than the one that made the trip to Carrow Road. Take out Flamini and Monreal, replace them with Ramsey and Gibbs; those for me are the only changes even though reports this morning suggest that Bacary Sagna will be taking whatever medal he ends the day to the negotiating table in Manchester.

It leaves the line-up:

Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Ramsey, Arteta; Cazorla, Özil, Podolski; Giroud

They are good enough to win the match, technically gifted. It’s down to their professionalism. Turn up with an attitude that turning up is enough and they will get turned over. Hull will fight, they will want to fill themselves and their supporters with pride at their efforts. A pulsating final will be what the neutral wants, if they are not watching La Liga‘s climax. Personally, I would rather Arsenal be two-up in the first twenty minutes and kill the game off. Something they should have done against Birmingham. That’s one of the reasons for picking Szczesny. The manager believes him to be the best goalkeeper at the club but like Koscielny, today is the chance to exorcise ghosts.

As much as it is about ending the eight year wait for a trophy, it’s about the trophy, about winning. Everything else is a by-product of that, the column inches, the air expounded. Win today and the narrative changes, the focus turns to the title. Win today, that’s all.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

346 thoughts on “The “Cup Final Saturday & We’re In It” Post

  1. Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey on ITV: “Over the last couple of seasons we’ve been under pressure and stick for not being ruthless and not taking opportunities but the manager has always believed in us. This for Arsene – and we now know he’ll put pen to paper.”

  2. Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna: “We have been waiting for this moment for too long. It is great for Arsenal, it was a very hard game, we started badly but showed desire to come back and it is a victory for everyone. The fans really deserve it and we want to share it with them.

    “Every single game was a final this season, we had really hard moments together and today again we showed that mentally we are strong. It is a moment to share with the fans.”

    Asked whether today was his last match for Arsenal: “I don’t know to be honest, as everyone says I have been talking with the club for a long time and we will try to find a solution, but I don’t know what that will be.”

  3. Well said Jonny 😀

    Yeah Arsenaaaaaalllllllllllll

    Specialist in failure 1 annoying prick 0

  4. That’s Bruce all over, MA. I like him until we play his teams and he starts talking rubbish. Think he’s mates with AW too.

  5. @Big Al

    He was right on the corner for the second, but he misses the point Arsenal could and should have had 4 penalties. I don’t think I have ever seen a game quite like it, the penalties were nailed on but for the referee or linesman actually making the right decision. Added to that, kicking the ball away when was it was already out (automatic yellow) and Sagna getting brought down by Rosenior. Lee Probert just didn’t look like wanting to make a decision at all today and it reflected extremely poorly on his performance.

  6. MA, I don’t think Probert clamped down early enough. Knew their defensive game would be about little fouls and a couple of statement tackles. Had he booked Rosenior for that challenge it would have set the right tone. Of the penalties, the clothesline on Giroud and the bodycheck on Cazorla were clear as day. The other two were harder to spot. So glad it doesn’t matter.

    Credit to Wilshere for a pinpoint pass to Giroud for the goal. He’s been criticised a lot, but that was perfectly weighted at a crucial time.

  7. rvp must feel stupid. He could have lifted this trophy as a captain. At Unted he was just a mercenary.. here he would have been a legend…

  8. The 442 employed with the introduction of Sanogo has worked in the last two FA cup matches. Can’t express the joy of winning amidst 4 uncalled penalties

  9. Everyone has said it all, just so delighted for the youngsters, the stalwarts, the fans, the manager. Will now retire as am out of adrenaline!
    Enjoy the celebrations! 🙂

  10. A marvellous comeback in a memorable final.

    One in the eye for those of little faith (me after 8 minutes) & a fitting reward for Arsene & the players who have worked hard all season.

    The fall out can wait for another day – just like my hangover

  11. Even with things to moan about like the Probert, I just can’t, not today, its all about celebrating and enjoying today!

    Did anybody else enjoy Kos refusing to lift it by himself, instead tapping Mert and them lifting it together, hand on each side?!?!?!?! I know I did because of how fitting it was that those 2 of all the players lifted it together.

    @MA

    I wonder I really wonder if us lifting the FA CUP is what keeps Sagna, a player who has been here and fought for the club when everybody else bailed and jumped ship.

  12. Another massive point that can’t be understated is just how much of an impact Ozil has been to our club this season. He has injected life along with Ramsey into our midfield and club.

    Its a truly great day to be a Gooner!

  13. WOOOOOO!!!! Happy days!!!!!!!!!!

    Bit unsettled by at least THREE (four if you count Livermore’s handball) legitimate Arsenal penalty appeals being swept under the rug, both during and after the match, but I’m sure all will be expained when the FA conduct a full investigation into Probert’s performance…

  14. NEVER IN DOUBT.

    Fuck the media cunts who continue to spew rubbish about this not being convincing. There’s some joker on the espn website babbling on about how the win won’t usher in any further success for us.

    Frankly, what have Chelsea, Liverpool, United won this season? Nothing.

    To come back from our generous gift of a two goal head start (we never do things easy, where would the fun be) and win despite 4 stone cold penalties waved off by the clueless probert, well, that’s better than say newcastle coming back 4 goals against ten men and no Cback innit?

    The media would have you believe they won the title or something. but with us, they’d say the keeper was poor, or Hull were blighted with injuries or something.

    Honestly, we did the hard work at Liverpool, Everton, Spurs and Wigan and we did it again so they can shut it. Specialist in Failure.

    8 bloody long years and now we have a nice shiny pot to go with the fourth place trophy. It’s been almost a day since Arsenal last won a trophy…and we have the charity shield to look forward to along with the emirates cup. Looks like we are in the market for new cabinets:D

    Oh to be a gooner! COYG!

  15. Side note.

    Sagna and vermaelen are likely gone.

    BUT Fabianski starting may mean we have a 50-50 chance of retaining him. Watch this space!

    Oh Yahya Sanogo! Oh Yahya Sanogo!

  16. Morning all, Morning Yogi,
    strangely had a dream about a post title for today:
    This Monkey’s gone to Heaven….

  17. Ohh….the relief and the joy!! When the first 2 goals went in, I thought “all over.” But kudos to the boys for fighting back and especially Santi whose fantastic goal put us back on track. It was fantastic to see the pure unadulterated joy and ecstasy on the faces our fans and players at the final whistle; something which no 4th/3rd/2nd place tophy can give. Also, now that the monkey is off our back and these guys have tasted victory, I am hoping that this shiny new trophy will instill a new belief in our players, a belief that we can be winners, which we have really lacked all these years.

  18. Morning Bob
    You bet !!
    🙂 Obviously had trouble falling asleep and had all kind of weird dreams….
    Bono was playing the music of “The magnificent seven” on an acoustic guitar….then Pixies and This Monkey’s gone to Heaven….

  19. Morning all

    Splendid day yesterday, the head start and the Probert’s gold and black stripes made it even sweeter

    BECAUSE WE BLOODY WON

    Although Mrs B had to hold me back on either the third or forth penalty sham. I had become like a rabid dog foaming at the mouth whilst hollering profanities and muttering murderous ramblings towards Our Referee!

    Anyone else see Arsene hand his tie into the crowd? Meaning?

    Will be bouncing all week with this though

  20. wenger should personally call up jose and ask him if we can borrow his bus for today….

    morning gooners and goonerettes..

  21. Pretty much!! Although due to raging sand storms the signal kept disappearing which added to the nerves and frantic checking the score box!!!
    Thank heavens the pink and blue slippers or the early engraving of the cup didn’t hex the result!!

  22. we could ask george if we could borrow his bus but they spent years telling everyone how much they hated this trophy and it wasnt important becuase arsene kept telling them it was bottom of the pile of things to do and they beleived him..
    they’ll probably be still driving it over rainbows cos we finished 4th and we are rich so it wont be available today anyway 🙂

  23. JJ
    Might be his bus we purloin but as chief conductor I’m not allowing him to board! My bus,my party!! 🙂

  24. Nine years of my life, hoping, wishing, praying, screaming, despair, desperation, anger, alcoholism, hate and love! It all finished last night.

    Well, apart from the alcohol

  25. JJ

    The posidivas were just as desperate and hungry for a piece of shiny silver as the rest of us only the snobbishness in them would not allow them to express it.

  26. North if the ‘ luckys’ worked you can stick your calling card back up in the bar, and await the stream of models to arrive!!

  27. Feels good to win a trophy and to know NB’s lucky panties are made of ribbons and glory! 🙂

  28. I have to say that the several match reports I read were all abysmal. This achievement has been entirely underplayed. That’s ok as it is ours to enjoy!

    I am in Toronto and yesterday wesring my Arernal shirt gooners were everywhere saluting me on the street, in the subway and at the Toronto FC- New York Red Bulls match. It was amazing! There are actually so many here that I was astonished!

    At the match, 3 gooners in the row in front of me–one with a 2006 Rosicky shirt– and two in the row right behind me. Thierry Henry looked relaxed and celebratory before the match ( and still pure class during it).

    Wish I could be there for the parade but we’ll have our own online once YW posts his match report. What a thrilling cup game!! It was awful conceding two right away but it only made it more exciting to win 3-2. They scored too early and had to defend that lead for so long. Historic comeback. Has any team come back from a two goal deficit to win without penalties in the FA cup final?

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