Category Archives: fa cup

All good things must come to an end…

Alexis Sanchez Arsenal

Arsenal were playing the same squad for the longest consecutive period of games in a row since 1994 and slumped to their first defeat in 11 league games. All good things must indeed come to an end.

What has been most refreshing about Arsenal’s recent upturn in form is the way that Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have finally established a starting 11 that can push us on to title success next season.
Chelsea, are of course the Champions, and it is now possible that we don’t finish second. But it has been a great second half of the season for us regardless.

The Gunners have allowed the trio of David Ospina, Francis Coquelin and Hector Bellerin to rescue our season and it has paid off handsomely. We’re heading to the FA Cup Final and although yesterday’s defeat to Swansea City leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, we’ve a lot to look forward to for 2015/16.

In terms of the game itself, Arsenal were of course dominant throughout but Swansea City and their manager Garry Monk outsmarted us. That six man midfield proved a problem for us for the entire evening. I indeed hope that Tim Sherwood doesn’t learn anything from that performance by the Swans.

Arsenal need to now regroup and finish on the best possible note for the last two league games of the season. Wenger will need to rotate to keep his freshest legs fresh for the FA Cup Final.

FA Cup Final

Theo Walcott

Aston Villa at Wembley in the FA Cup Final. It really couldn’t have gone much better for us this year in the FA Cup. Since we’ve beaten Manchester United, our league form has picked up and we then got a bit of luck against Reading (even though we hit the post three times!) and now Villa awaits at Wembley.

For us to win the FA Cup two years in a row would be a major achievement for Arsene Wenger. It would also mean that Arsenal have won more FA Cup’s than any other team in English football history, with 12, 1 better than Man Utd on 11.

Chelsea have had the luck of the Irish in recent weeks, with them picking up 6 points in two games having only had two shots on goal in their previous two games. I think it is fair to say they have probably won the league, but we can certainly scare them a bit with our next Premier League game if we can get a win at the Emirates. It’s time for Arsene Wenger to show he has crafted a team that is capable of beating Chelsea and put us in a good position for next season.

Arsenal into the FA Cup semi with win over MUFC

Welbeck FA Cup

What a win that was. Arsenal have struggled to show their very best on visits to Old Trafford in recent years, but that all changed after a stunning 2-1 victory at Old Trafford on Monday night.
We put out a strong looking team, as did United, but on the day we were considerably better. Arsene Wenger elected to play Danny Welbeck ahead of Olivier Giroud, with the England international taking on his former club, what a masterstroke that was. Welbeck ended up scoring the winning goal as well, I love the way that he celebrated after that went in; he’s fast becoming a favourite player for me. Nacho Monreal scored the opening goal for us before Wayne Rooney pulled a goal back. I have to say that the refereeing performance was one of the best I have seen in recent seasons. Under pressure he made the right decision time and time again, bravo to that man.
So now we head into the FA Cup semi final draw and it’s going to be against either Bradford City or Reading. A very favourable draw indeed, considering Blackburn and Liverpool are still to play off, so Brendan Rodgers’ team could still make it through into the next round.
For us, it’s West Ham in the league next. That’ll be another big three points if we can win – especially as it is at home and we’re really starting to show our good form now. We’re on our way to Wembley. Let’s keep it up!

Arsenal victory over Man City the start of a revolution?

Coquelin

I had a funny feeling we would get something out of the Man City game, but I didn’t expect us to ever play quite that well. For me, Santi Cazorla was out of this world, but the real difference was made by Francis Coquelin. What a reversal of fortunes for him. One minute you’re out on loan at Charlton Athletic, the next you’re putting in a match winning performance against the champions of England. I really hope he keeps this form up. I can’t see him being dislodged from the first team until the end of the campaign now. I heard that Flamini and Diaby are free to leave the Emirates and I think the emergence of Coquelin ensures that.

Next up we have a trip to Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup. I think this is a tricky game for us. It’s imperative that we keep up our good form in the cup competitions but I expect to see Walcott, Flamini, Ozil and Campbell all get some playing time. We should beat them even with a rotated squad.

Elsewhere, we’ve signed our first player of the January transfer window, that Bielik chap from Poland – I don’t know anything about him but I think it’s a typical Wenger addition. Young with bags of potential. Hopefully he can push for a first team place in the next couple of years.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Enjoy revelling in the victory!

FA Cup winners 2014 – come on you Gooners

FA Cup Winners 2014

So, that’s the end to another long and hard season. What a wonderful finish it was indeed – and our 9 year long spell without a trophy ends.

The game itself was a cracker and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one shitting themselves after Hull went 2-0 up after just 10 minutes. It was the same kind of goal that has haunted us for many years, but not so much this season. A ball in from a corner or free kick and one of the centre backs getting a head on it. We seemed to have got that out of our game over the past few seasons but in the FA Cup final of all games, it came back to haunt us.

What came next was a rapid fire response from Santi Cazorla. He’s been a crucial player for us over the past two seasons and he proved it yet again with a stunning free kick from range to put us back in the game in the 21st minute. From there onwards, Hull were never able to really get back into the tie.

The 71st minute then saw us find our equaliser, as Laurent Koscielny got himself in the right place at the right time to spank the ball home past McGregor in the Hull goal. Game on.

Kieran Gibbs missed an absolute pearl of a chance as he hoofed the ball over the bar in the 87th with the goal at his mercy… finally the game ended and went into extra time.

From there, we finally found the winner as our hero of the season, Aaron Ramsey, scored the winner with the outside of his boot. Our barren run would be over!

What a season it’s been.. now we must grow on this success. We need to improve the playing squad and find talent that is capable of building on this victory. As Lukas Podolski said, the monkey is off the back now.

Final day victory for Gunners

MesutOzilNorwich

Well, what a season it’s been. Up and down that’s for sure… but I can’t help but feel most Arsenal fans will be thinking what could have been.

Arsene Wenger went out and spent big at the beginning of the season, at the last minute of course. Mesut Ozil was the player who came in for a big money fee. Initially, and for the first four months of the season, the German was first class. After January though, he looked to be tired and short of fitness. This, as has been in the past, was the story of Arsenal’s decade. A short squad, lacking the players needed to make a title challenge.

The first few months, in and around the Emirates, it felt like we supported a different team. The fans were more friendly, the atmosphere was buzzing; people felt like Arsenal could go on and win some trophies this season. We looked like we could do it and Wenger had finally got it right.

Then the injuries started coming, as they usually do. What we need to look at desperately is firstly our team of physios and also the training that Wenger is adopting. It seems to tire out our players and makes it easier for them to pick up injuries during the big games. Think about this, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was missing this year, Mesut Ozil for a lengthy spell, we lost Lukas Podolski for a while; Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky picked up an injury for a short time, Kieron Gibbs picked up his annual niggle too. There were many. Why does this happen to us at all important times of the season?

Into January, the injury to Theo Walcott against Tottenham was the final nail in the coffin. Even though we were top of the league then and flying high, we were short of pace on the flanks, all important in the modern game. Look at any other title chasing team, Liverpool have Raheem Sterling; Chelsea have Schurrle, Salah; Man City have David Silva and Jesus Navas. Arsenal did have Serge Gnabry on the bench, but he didn’t have a go, not really sure why Wenger didn’t put much faith in him. I expect to see Gnabry play a more important role at Arsenal next year. If he’s not guaranteed a chance, then please send him out on loan somewhere Arsene.

Then, everything went downhill into the last 10 games of the season. Psychologically, Arsenal took a battering with the 6-0 defeat against Chelsea. That’s when it was all over. We still continue to show that we can’t compete against the best top teams, that really does hurt. We need to change that if we’re going to compete next year, that means we need a class defensive midfielder, someone like Fernandinho; also a good replacement for Bacary Sagna. We also need to keep Lukas Podolski and think about bringing in yet another striker. We don’t have enough forwards to challenge for the title. I wonder if some of our promising wonderkid’s will have a go next season?

As for the final day for Arsenal, it was a victory and a comfortable one as well. Aaron Ramsey scored a wonderful goal, Marco van Basten-esque in fact. Then Carl Jenkinson also got on the scoresheet as well with an impressive goal. Finding some room in front of goal and spanking home in decent fashion. I wonder if he’ll be brought in to replace Bacary Sagna next year as a straight swap? So very ironic that his first goal for the club comes in Sagna’s last game…

So it’s on to the FA Cup Final against Hull City next week and then it’s job done and on to the World Cup for the majority of our players. We have had a brilliant little spell of form recently, it’s just a shame we couldn’t hold up against the top teams this season and it might’ve been different indeed.

We’ve also got the all important and expected contract signing of Mr. Wenger coming up soon. When will that be announced? How long will he sign for? Is he doing a Sir Alex and will he retire at the end of the season unannounced? Very unlikely, but it is peculiar that Arsene is keeping his cards close to his chest. I expect he’ll sign a two year contract and that he’ll not be spending much money at all this summer. He really doesn’t think he needs to. What he should be doing though is bringing in some experienced heads to join his coaching team. Dennis Bergkamp is doing a wonderful job at Ajax as Frank De Boer’s assistant, how about bringing him onto the coaching team? What about the medical team? Can we bring in some experience from a rival club there? How about the backroom team? In the age of big data, do we have quality people who are analysing our opponents? Can we add some knowledge here… I’m sure most of our rivals do.

Anyway, it’s a final day win and congratulations to Man City. To be honest, of all the teams at the top I was personally happier that City won the league… can you imagine if Liverpool won with that average squad? What about Jose Mourinho with his negatron tactics?

Let’s learn from this season, lift the FA Cup and spend big in the summer. It’s been a mixed season indeed… onward and upward.

Penalty win over Wigan takes us to FA Cup final

Lukas Fabianski

Arsenal fans will breathe a sigh of relief after Wigan very nearly dumped us out of the FA Cup last night in the semi-final… my word how close it was.

The normally steady Per Mertesacker tripped down Callum McManaman in the Arsenal box after 57 minutes and then Spaniard Jordi Gomez stepped up to fire home. Surely not… Wigan on course to celebrate a second final two years running… it looked like it was going to happen.

Arsenal were fired up for it and knew that this would be the best chance of major silverware in 10 years and finally, Mertesacker redeemed himself in the 82nd minute as he headed up an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain strike.

With extra time beckoning, Arsene Wenger looked very concerned on the touchline. After 30 rough and tiring minutes, the Gunners then knew a penalty shoot out would be on the way. We normally and surprisingly have a decent run in shoot outs and that would continue as the massive Lukas Fabianski saved two spot kicks and Santi Cazorla fired home the winning penalty.

Now we must get our focus back onto the league to ensure that we can indeed retain the all important Champions League football that has governed Arsene Wenger’s tenure over the past ten odd years. We also now take a massive step closer to silverware for the first time in ten years. Onward and upward, here we go Gooners, we’re on our way to Wembley!

SW

Sagna, Wenger and Mertesacker to sign a new contract?

JackWilshere2014

Morning all

So the gossip is that Arsene Wenger, Bacary Sagna and Per Mertesacker are all in advanced contract discussions and that the club is set to announce an agreement with all three in the coming two weeks. This would be a wonderful statement of intent by the Gunners. Let’s hope it’s true and that this doesn’t drag out for too long. Sagna is the best right back in the country and Mertesacker adds a lot on the field and off it.

On the pitch, we picked up an important 2-1 win away at Aston Villa. The kind of performances that will win titles. I was very impressed with the fighting spirit of all of the players during that game, especially Jack Wilshere. It’s great to see him doing so well. He’s going to need to keep the form up ahead of the World Cup, there’s massive competition for places. For England, I think he should partner Ross Barkley in the middle – a great little duo.

Our next game is the home game against Coventry City in the FA Cup. What a great draw we got there, let’s hope we see it through. We need to play a strong team, so let’s hope we see some of our best players.

-SW