Good Morning Positivistas,
Our FA Cup trip is over, and what a magnificent ride it has been, extending back to the despatch of the Totties on 4th January 2014. 26 months undefeated in a knock out competition ? Two more FA Cups to adorn the stadium bunting. Remarkable and a record to be celebrated, not mourned.
I suppose, if you pressed me, I would have to say I hoped that when we did finally stumble that it would be to lose 5-4 in the FA Cup final at Wembley in extra time, following a game of overwhelming football quality etcetera. As the matters turned out we lost to the odd goal in three against a good Watford side. The goal that actually took them through and us out was in fact a beautiful strike from Guerdioura, among the best of the season that I have seen. I salute the Algerian. Losing at the Ems is never pleasant and in a game against opponents who we defeated quite easily a few months back – that is FA Cup football however, the potential for upset is woven through the competition. It is the season, in both the Premier League and in the FA Cup, where the peasants have stormed the throne.
Of the match itself I see yesterday’s comments following Mr Black’s excellent preview set out most of the factual material and opinion. There seems little purpose of rehashing the thrust and counter thrust again. Clearly we could have done some things better. Until the final seconds it still appeared, to me at least, that we could retrieve the tie. Ighalo had earlier swivelled, shot and scored; as the final grains of sands tricked through the glass Danny swivelled, shot and the ball looped over the bar. I shall remember those few seconds for a long while. That is why I watch football.
Reading the hysterical reaction on social media during the game, and in the aftermath of our narrow defeat I sensed that a few of the normally more sensible fans were using the occasion to vent a little frustration, a cathartic expulsion of words and thoughts that had built up and which required an outlet. The examples of “I never want to see X* in an Arsenal shirt again” (* insert name Chambers, Gabriel, Per, Gibbs, Le Coq, Giroo, Theo, AN Other). Even Alexis and Ozil we not spared the accusatory finger. Perhaps those players who did not feel the angry digital mob at their heels can regard themselves as blessed. A good afternoon to be rested or to carry an injury.
For the best of Arsenal supporters the option must be there to howl at the moon, pointless though the gesture is.
Assuming then that over the past 16 hours or so we have individually and collectively managed to pull ourselves together, where does this leave us ?
Next up Barcelona. The pressure is largely off. We are expected to lose. FCB assume the tie is over, Pique went far as to avoid the game and erase his card count. I suspect that on Wednesday that we shall send out our strongest side and try to take from the Catalans what we can. That Nacho and Hector were rested suggests that they will be in action and busy on Wednesday. Danny will be keen to ensure the fine margins he missed by yesterday can be corrected at the first opportunity. As with yesterday the game will be decide by the team that take their chances.
Right that is my two penneth on matters Arsenal this sunny Spring morning. Enjoy the opening of your week.