All the hoo-ha which followed Man United’s defeat at the hands of a bleary eyed hungover Midtjylland who had apparently only just finished a seriously long Christmas party has caused me a little discomfort. Firstly if United’s results get any worse and the press and their own fans turn on the players and manager any more virulently there is a genuinely present danger of me feeling a pang of sympathy for them. Only a pang mind you, nothing more.
The thing is (and I know you didn’t rock up here to read about trouble on the streets of Salford, just bear with me ) it only takes a cursory glance at the injury problems, the media witch hunt and the awful fair weather supporters turning on their own for all sorts of bells to ring in the head of any Arsenal supporter. None of the responses I saw to their Thursday night defeat cut them any slack at all and before you start spitting on your monitor and yelling “But look at what they spent look at the money they’ve wasted” just remember what we have said to one another, year on year.
As our title hopes have been crushed by one insane injury blight after another, with multiple injuries in the same position, with players rushed back from injury replacing the newly injured thereby ensuring no continuity – what did we say? We said no club, no matter how rich nor how much they spend could succeed with those kind of problems and Man United are simply proving us right.
However, here is the real glowing flame of truth which flared up amidst the bonfire of United’s, and of course Chelseas’s, seasons. When we said no one could hope to sustain any sort of pressure for a top four finish, Champion’s League progression and a few decent cup runs, what we really meant was no one not managed by Arsène Wenger. If ever there was proof of the man’s abiding genius it is laid bare for all to see – super rich clubs with sought after world famous managers and top players simply cannot sustain their seat at the top table when faced with a huge drop in form or a run of bad injuries. Not in the way Arsène has done, season after season.
Honestly, we should all fall on our knees and be thankful for the great man and his enduring presence every single match day morning.
I raised my Arsenal mug to him this morning, this FA Cup Saturday morning I should say. A competition in which Arsène has, since, 16th February 2013, shown a marked reluctance to be beaten. The Beeb put this cute little video together covering all the things that have happened since last Arsenal lost an FA Cup tie – which is nice. Now all they need to do is arrange the live impaling and beheading of Danny Murphy on MOTD and they will have taken at least the first small steps towards rehabilitating themselves.
It’s an odd feeling when your team begins to enjoy a long run of success. Over the years of course we have enjoyed many such periods, some of them truly historic. On the one hand you approach matches with a certain swagger, a confident belief in the unlikelihood of defeat. On the other hand there is a feeling that the clock is ticking and just as all good things are, by popular consent, doomed to come to an end, so one can’t help wondering how far off is that inevitable day.
I start each FA Cup morning thinking, with crossed fingers clutching my lucky heather, ‘just one more day, just one more, I’ve not had enough of this yet’. I’m not dreaming of a third final (honestly, I’m not), that’s too far off in the distance, just one win at a time will suit me fine.
Hull have featured in each of our cup winning seasons and now they’re back again hoping this third time will be the charm. We shan’t be seeing Akpom or Hayden lining up against the side they hope one day to play for which is a shame for them but good for us as they’re both fine players.
The whole loan thing is interesting. Since Coquelin’s return and sensational impact on the first team the loanees no longer assume that their moves are the first step on the road out of the door. It may well prove to be just that for many players, but doesn’t have to be. What a great incentive young Francis’ fairytale must be to others languishing in one temporary placement after another.
I wonder if he’ll feature today? Something suggests maybe not as he is still coming back from injury, but honestly, the FA Cup line up is harder to predict than the standard first team so I’m not going to waste your time with that. Fringe players get a game, the odd youngster will too, and a few seeking to improve their fitness. However this is an important competition and there needs to be a core of first choice players or the lack of cohesion will cost us dearly.
I wonder if the tightness of the title race and the looming spectre of Barca might have put this lunchtime fixture into the shadows for some people. If so I heartily suggest they have a close friend squirt something noxious and cold into an orifice of their choosing. This is our FA cup people, this is as much worth fighting for this year as it was the last and the one before that. No team will roll over and make it easy for us, everyone wants to beat the holders (oh and please don’t use the word ‘champions’ in my presence. The champions are the champions the cup holders are the holders, end of story) and we have something to defend and something magical to aim for.
I can clearly recall the last time we made it to three consecutive finals and it is a wonderful achievement and one we will not repeat without everyone gets behind the team. The crowd in the Leicester City game were so important not only in hounding a referee so awful that even Andy couldn’t bear to mention him in his match review, but mainly in hauling the team over the line. I trust if you are there in person today that you can do the same again. If not, well, scream at the telly, shout at your monitor and annoy the neighbours. It might frighten the dog, the team won’t know but hey – it can’t do any harm can it?
eddy = looked far more like he (Welbeck) lost his balance to me
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savage showing his lack of football knowledge, as usual.
Arsenal mainly in control, a few decent chances, if the tempo can be raised a little I feel Hull would not be able to cope. Elneny and Iwobi have impressed. Welbeck a bit rusty, and Campbell’s effect is limited due to his total reliance to his left foot. Flamini playing a very attack minded role today. Chambers continues his recent good form.
Lets hope for a bit more fire in the second.
I won’t be around to watch the second half, will have to satisfy myself with the commentary only.
Some lovely work to open up Hull, very sharp. Nice to see Theo so involved.
It’s the consistency Arsene always calls for – that I admire in these previews.
Fantastic. Thank you.
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Not sure about the Bruce handball in spite of Savage’s enthusiasm – I did not see it at the time and nor did the commentators – as usual a sharp eyed video editor spotted it.
I’ve seen em given though
Right lads – 5 minutes – lets get it done
bugger! Now we have to squeeze in the replay. I would have preferred a 3.00pm kick off.Still in it though.
Onto to Barca…
disappointing result, performance lacked a little bit of tempo and sharpness, lots of half chances, and near misses, same team in the replay and we’d still be favorites to win.
Wenger says replay isn’t a nightmare, a nightmare would be to go out
we survived a game with mike dean without injuries? hmmn
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Disappointing result but we had many chances to win it. No reason to be too hard on ourselves. There is a replay to come. Just get on with it.
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35 minutes, Las Palmas 1-1 Barcelona
Arsenal will be quaking in their boots, isn’t that how this whinging works
afcstuff @afcstuff 59m59 minutes ago
From Tuesday, Arsenal will play 8 games in the space of 26 days:
Man Utd A
FA Cup or WBA
if we win the FAC replay and get an away draw in the QF it would mean 5 away games in a row
Hull GK Eldin Jakupovic made 11 saves against Arsenal, the most by a keeper against them in any game this season.
Due to a UEFA rule on fixture clashes, Arsenal may have to play Hull on Monday 7 March, 60 hours after the Spurs game. [Guardian]
Arsenal’s last 3 home games has produced 2 goals from 60 shots
Messi Minutes @MessiMinutes 34m34 minutes ago
Reporter: “Is Mourinho returning to Inter?”
Inter director Bedy Moratti: “No, he’s happy now he’s going to United”
Arsenal made 15 tackles (86.7% won) and made 10 clearances and conceded 11 fouls to Hull’s 7.
WENGER ON THE DRAW, IWOBI AND A REPLAY
Arsène Wenger spoke to the media after his side were held to a goalless draw by Hull City on Saturday afternoon.
Here’s a transcript of what he said:
on why Arsenal didn’t win…
Because Hull defended well, because their ‘keeper played well, because our final ball was maybe not good enough and because when we could give the ball in the final third, we decided [to go for] an individual solution.
on Eldin Jakupovic…
The goalkeeper did well of course, but we had maybe 70 per cent possession and more than 20 shots on goal, and we didn’t score. We have to look at ourselves as well, even if you can give credit to their ‘keeper.
on if the replay is a nightmare to schedule…
The nightmare would have been to go out. The frustration is that we didn’t score and it’s not what we wanted, to have a replay, but between that and going out, we choose the replay. I am happy for the replay [as opposed to going out]. We need to be more efficient in the final third, because today we had more than 70 per cent possession and we will not have that on Tuesday night. That means we’ll have to be more efficient with much less of the ball.
on if the Barcelona game affected his selection…
I played a team that, in my opinion, had the quality to win the game today. The Barcelona game was not in my mind today. I rested Ramsey and Ozil completely, because they’ve played many games since the start of the season. When I can do it, I do it. Mesut Ozil was a bit sick over the week, so I decided to leave him out completely. Ramsey has played many games, so that’s why I kept him out.
on if it’s a shame that both teams made many changes…
A shame? No, because that would mean that the players in the squad are not good enough, which I don’t think [is true]. If you look at the players that played in our team, Ospina, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, they are all internationals, [as are] Elneny, Flamini, then yes, Iwobi. People want you to give a chance to young players. When you play them, they say ‘it’s a shame’. Up front we had Walcott, Welbeck and Campbell, all internationals. People always want you to buy more and more players. When you play them, they say ‘why did you play them?’ I think the team was of quality and that’s not an excuse.
on if replay presents problems regarding player selection…
If we don’t have injuries, I think we can cope with it. If we get two or three injuries, then it will be much more difficult for us.
on if Ozil will be ok for Tuesday…
on if he has any other injury concerns…
No, from today I believe the positive of the day is that Welbeck came through quite well. He started for the first time in 10 months and he was one of the positives of the day.
on what he meant by saying Ozil was sick…
A cold. It’s nothing major.
on coming across as relaxed about the result…
I am not as relaxed as I look! Honestly, [if I were] nervous or angry, it wouldn’t change the result. I would be if it would change the result. It’s not what we planned but in football it doesn’t always go like that. It’s how you respond and how you find the solution to what we face now. It means we have to go to Hull and we have to qualify.
on saying before the game he liked replays…
No, I said I like the English formula because it’s a little bit special. I like the idea that in England you don’t do things like anywhere else. That’s why you negotiate in Brussels at the moment as well!
on when the replay could be…
I don’t know. We’re not sure.
on excitement ahead of Barcelona…
I was excited about the game today but of course, it’s an exciting game. We were the favourites today but we won’t be on Tuesday night. On Tuesday night, we’ll need great solidarity because we’ll need to defend well, and make the maximum of our possession, which we didn’t do today.
on if Arsenal can win the first leg…
Of course we’ll try to win this game. I want to go home now because they play at 5.30 and I want to watch it.
Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source
Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20160220/wenger-on-missed-chances-and-barcelona#xjlcUt1MdsbxxPfS.99
it is being suggested that the FA Cup replay v Hull will be on the Monday after we play spurs
New Post up
Positively Arsenal @Blackburngeorge 42m42 minutes ago North West, England
I think AFC penalties for, have been removed from the equation.
it really is amazing how it seems to be an unwritten rule with English refs that Arsenal will not be awarded a penalty. Its got to the point that now no matter how clear it is, I am no longer surprised that the refs don’t give it, nor the pundits make any fuss that it is not given.
I found it odd that some Gooners thought that Dean would favor Arsenal today, “to try and make up for his woeful performance in the CFC game”, any of us that have seen Dean and his ilk for some time now, knew he does not even think he has anything to make up for, and if anything he is the sort that would blame Arsenal for his good name being besmirched in the first place. 2 clear penalties today, and of course neither given.