They left the best till last. That was some performance by our boys yesterday. They wanted it badly and bossed Chelsea for large parts of the game. And it was a message to the fans too; Wenger was able to get this team to play as a strong, determined unit and rise above themselves. Everybody gave their all for their manager and the fans. Many said before the game we were the underdogs but they underestimated how much the team had turned a page in recent weeks. You don’t win at the Saints and the hell-hole of the Orcs without having some steel, character and quality.
There was pride and passion and joy on the pitch, and we played football the Arsenal way. The world watched and rejoiced, and even the staunchest critics of Wenger will have to admit that this was some performance by him and the team. Winning the Forever Arsene’s Cup by beating the Oligarch giants of MC and Chelsea in the semi-final and final, out-thinking two of the best managers in the game fair and square, is something to behold for Wenger. Record FA Cup winners that is what we are: the kings of the finest club competition in the world.
Key was of course the battle in midfield and Xhaka-Rambo were the masters on the pitch. One with the brain of a total controller and the other with the legs of a first soldier. But they would not have flourished so much without the graft and intelligence around them.
Behind them were three clever and hard working CBs: the reader, BFG, supported by his left and right footed bouncers, Nacho and Holding. They provided an almost impenetrable wall that turned the likes of Hazard, Pedro and Costa into obedient puppies.
On the sides they were supported by fast and ferocious wingbacks: Bellerin and the Ox. Both have plenty to improve on but boy did they put in a performance, and my almost 75 year old dad texted me to say Bellerin was MOTM… and he knows a thing or two about football.
In front of the Swiss-Welsh axis of dominance were three hard running, sharp passing and utterly uncontrollable attackers: the fabulous force of WAM: Welbeck, Alexis and Mesut. The movement of those attackers and flank players, combined with Rambo’s never stopping link-up play and running into the pockets, in which he was equal to Ozil and Alexis’ throughout the game, was just too much for the sorry Chavskies. With a bit more composure up-front we could have properly embarrassed our opponents, but I guess we still had a bit too much respect for them. Welbeck’s movement was excellent but his box anticipation and running, as well as his finishing, were below the required level. But he also put in a shift and that was of equal importance yesterday.
Our first goal was a bit fortuitous as it did look like Alexis handled the ball and many referees would have blown the whistle for it. He finished his chance calmly though, and that is of course the hardest thing to do in a final. Alexis is a man for the big occasion and he delivered once again. After the goal we did not sit back and kept pushing up, never allowing the Chavs to get into the game. That was pure class.
The formation of 3-4-3 suits us really well in these sort of games. We can push up and dominate an opponent of the Chavskies’ quality by having enough players back to deal with counter-attacks. The BFG, Xhaka and Ozil provide the calmness in the eye of the storm, whether we are attacking or defending, and around them we have eight battling soldiers to dominate proceedings.
The first half was ours because we pressed them high and never let them settle. The second half started less strong but after ten minutes we pressed high again and we were dominating once more. Then Moses tried to steel a penalty and was rightly punished for his ungodly act with a second yellow card. Surely the game was ours now? Well there was one moment of collective defensive weakness and they managed to get level with us, would you believe it. The taller Cech would have saved that one no doubt, but Ospina had had a fabulous game until then, so I am not going to blame him.
Luckily Wenger brought on a pair of fresh legs and somebody who knows instinctively were to go in the box. Super Ollie put a fine ball into the box and my MOTM was there to finish off the Chavskies in style. 2-1 to the good guys. After that we had plenty of chances to add goals but it was not to be.
What was to be was a fine final – also for the neutral football lovers – with fabulous football and shiny silverware above the heads of very happy Gunners and a very proud manager.
Ooh to be..