There have been few occasions that I have felt so much pride and passion following a game of football such as Saturday. Despite a disastrous season, Arsenal come out of the campaign with a F.A Cup to their name, a record thirteenth Cup, the record for any club. In without doubt, Arsenal’s best performance this season, and perhaps our greatest performance since Barcelona. The 2-1 score line, presents the final as a close encounter, in reality Arsenal dominated, and unlike in the semi final against City, thoroughly deserved the win and ultimately the Cup.
Title winners Chelsea were obviously the favourites, and honestly the Arsenal line up scared me a little, a back three of Monreal, Mertesacker and Holding seemed fragile, up against Hazard and Costa. An unfamiliar role as the second favourites, seems to suit this Arsenal side, as it did against City, the lads seemed fired up and eager to prove their worth.
In the first half Arsenal were outstanding, absolutely faultless. Each individual player was brilliant. Sanchez got another Wembley goal, in what could be his last game for Arsenal, that rattled Chelsea and seemed to only bring Arsenal even more confidence. Welbeck, Ozil and Ramsey all came close, by half time Chelsea were lucky to not be 2 or 3 goals behind. Defensively Arsenal were sound too, Mertesacker and Holding put their bodies on the line, and we held our shape comfortably to block out any Chelsea attacks. At half time, I felt that Arsenal should continue to press and look for that second goal until the 70th minute at which point sitting back would be wise.
Chelsea did grow back into the game, as you’d expect, but we still managed to relatively limit them, whilst also still posing a threat. The referee made a bold and fantastic decision to send off Moses, a man and goal advantage – Arsenal surely wouldn’t lose it from here. Even when Costa did bring it level (after some questionable goalkeeping) I was confident that we’d still win, and seconds later Aaron f**king Ramsey repaid my faith. Fair play to Giroud, I regularly dish out criticism for his positional play that got him into a position to cross, a great cross too which Ramsey met beautifully. Again, his Cup Final winner proves that this new system suits him, as he gave a performance typical of his Wales 2016 Euro’s campaign.
I was confident we wouldn’t throw it away, in fact we looked more likely to score. This disjointed, often fragile, but on this occasion courageous side pulled through. Mertesacker deserves a lot of credit, in what I may be his last game for the club, he gave an outstanding performance alongside Rob Holding who was exceptional is fast becoming a cult hero. Every player was phenomenal. Ozil was brilliant, although his decision making was at times off later in the game, he continued to be a valuable outlet to run the game down, Oxlade-Chamberlain continued his pre-injury form whilst Welbeck provided energy and drive while he was on.
We crushed Chelsea, utter domination. We outdid Chelsea with their own system, Wenger deserves credit for that, and also for winning another F.A Cup, this one was harder fought than the previous one. Beating two top sides in the semi and then final make this trophy seem well deserved, also Southampton away on the road to the cup would’ve been considered a challenging tie.
In truth, the rest of the day was sublime, and waking up on Sunday with a smug grin (albeit accompanied with a stinging headache) was a beautiful feeling. What a moment, what a day, what a performance – what a club.
Admittedly, since the win, a thought that has continuously cropped up in my head is how have Arsenal not won the league in the last 3 seasons? This final clearly proves we are as good as Chelsea on our day, why have we been unable to provide similar performances in league games? Nevertheless that and Wenger’s apparent new contract are discussions for another time.
What did she wear?