Arsenal: Share Your Courage With Others


Good evening Positive people.

What an afternoon!! It is games like this that remind me why I find it so easy to love football. An excellent contest between two attacking teams, decided by the narrowest of margins. We matched and bettered City in every department, including being “professional” in our conduct, and misconduct, on the pitch. I am delighted that we have earned a place in the FA Cup Final. Fair to say that in the first 45, our sky blue opponents held the initiative. After half time however the force was with us. They were rattled, they cracked. Nevertheless I genuinely extend my sympathy to City and their entourage who missed out after 120 minutes of impressive struggle.

I hardly need to mention to anyone reading this piece that the victory was not easy. Good grief no, and the tension was notching up since our win at the Riverside.

I asked (pleaded is more accurate) earlier today that Arsenal did no more than play to their “ full potential” in the semi-final.  That our players would strain every sinew and shed their last drop of sweat at Wembley between 3 and 5-ish would have been enough for me.  The result could take care of itself, win or lose, for today the draw was never the option. I enter these transactional arrangements with the cosmos when I am in footballing doubt, in the same way I often become religious at 3 a.m.

And in the past six days there has been ‘doubt’ in my Arsenal soul, there is no use my denying it.

I admit I have made this contract with FOOTBALLING FATE before, and in recent seasons I have felt that the goddess has treated me cruelly, dealing me neither satisfaction in the team’s unstinting effort, nor the advantage of an occasional lucky result. It is a large pitch, and the biggest stage. And Wembley is no place to be humiliated, for Arsenal Football Club, its players or managers or fans. If I was feeling hesitant in the run-up to the match I found no solace in the dismissal of Arsenal’s chances to beat City by pundit after pundit after pundit.  I know the vast majority of the Mersons, the Ferdinands and the Jenases are idiots, but could it be that every single one of them was wrong?

Well the pundits were, to a man, wrong.  My doubt was wholly misplaced.

On this day I saw our players put in a performance over 120 minutes that is among the finest I have seen over 50 years.  I saw a highly organised defensive performance in which Holding and Kosc never put a foot wrong.  As for Gabriel we saw not just what a ruthless practitioner of ball winning he is, but he is a reader of the game. Never out of position, never needed to dive in. Rarely has such subtlety been wrapped around cold-blooded intervention. Poor Silva.

As for our Man of the Match, the Ox, the 23 year old performed as the most assured man on the pitch. He was tasked with helping Gabby subdue City’s most pointed weapon Sane and he did a solid job. Sane is no mug so to keep him off the score sheet and deny him any clear shooting opportunities all afternoon is as good as it gets.  Going forward however Alex really did his best work in my opinion. He runs fast, straight and with the ball at his feet. Very few players do that any more. His transformation since that dreadful night in Munich in mid-February is remarkable.

And who told Nacho he could score goals like that with his right foot – or his left foot even? Our Chilean grabbed the decider.  Nothing spectacular about the finish by Sanchez’s standards.  The right man, on the right spot, at exactly the right moment.

Of our other lads, Aaron, Granit, Larry, Mesut, Danny, and Cech, I am sure you will have better words to cover their contributions.  As I say they all played to their full potential today.

I am about to slope off for some refreshment.

I deserve it.

Enjoy the evening.

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69 comments on “Arsenal: Share Your Courage With Others

  1. What a marvellous write up Andrew, well done – written so soon after the game’s conclusion it absolutely captures the spirit of the afternoon, the drama and the relief.

    I too wanted to see a ‘performance’ from Arsenal – not necessarily a win – but a game in which they could be said to have acquitted themselves in exemplary fashion. Well they did that and more, much much more and like all of the ‘great’ games, it really could have gone either way at one (or two) point(s).

    However, our response immediately after conceding suggested to most of us that they were not about to concede an inch more in that semi. City almost retreated into a shell and you never felt Arsenal wouldn’t come back into it – certainly not following Monreal’s unreal strikers volley. Who knew?!

    Hard to know which highlights to highlight, there were so many but I was especially thrilled by the dominant instincts of both Monreal and Gabriel, each typically more at home in the ‘unsung hero’ role. Monreal Moaners have been steadily getting more confident up until yesterday and it’s good to know they have been forced back under their rock.

    One error aside, Holding was not so much a revelation, more a confirmation of everything we’d hoped he might one day become. One day became yesterday and he made the over-blown fuss made of Stones look like so much hyperbole. Can’t wait for his first goal; he’ll literally turn into Tony Adams overnight. Literally, mind.

    Granit was great, solid as a rock and flamboyant as they come – almost too flamboyant on occasion but such was his sky-high confidence and determination he gave everyone a real insight into the bright career that awaits him at Arsenal.

    Ozil was Berkamp-like in his occasional nastiness, as Andrew comments, which combined with a relentless bullying presence that gave the Citeh defence not a moment’s peace.

    Ox excellent.

    And the rest is a roll-call of classiness – Aaron’s engine, Sanchez’s persistence, Ollie and Danny both wearing down the opposition so that the result, by the end, was never in doubt!!

    Wonderful stuff, very, very well played Arsenal.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. AA did you see Xhaka urge the Arsenal fans on just before the start of the second half of extra time.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Orbinho‏ @Orbinho 3h3 hours ago

    Michael Oliver will officiate Spurs v Arsenal. The Gunners’ record with him in charge is W3 D7 L7. Last game was the 0-3 defeat to Palace.


  4. WWB
    This was always a rebuilding season for the player, I was surprised to see him selected in recent weeks as he can’t be his sharpest (air kicks etc.) but perhaps he just needs to play?

    He’s given the most complete* CF performance I’ve witnessed from an AFC player in n5 in a long time, I don’t go to every game so that might not count for much!

    With one and a half seasons lost or interrupted, coming back to top level football after sitting on his sofa for so long, he might not ever make it. But he’s definitely worth his place in the squad. No need to be so ruthless that the club start to hack away at useful limbs, or players in the squad.

    *For big fans of big Larry that’s no insult Europe’s leading ‘Targetman’


  5. < please note: I know very little about kicking a football. I spent most of my time when playing attempting to steal the football back.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. reports in france suggest marseilles are offering £25M for Giroud


  7. WWB
    With the calm perspective enjoyed by the honorouble and retired General Hindsight, was there too much ruthlessness with the sales of Rocastle, Davies and Limpar?
    I don’t know the details but I speculate that it was not entirely the bungs that did for GG, he must’ve burnt other bridges too?


  8. Reports that PSG have put in a £50 million bid for Kante

    Liked by 2 people

  9. AST survey reveals 98% of fans in favour of return of football rattles

    Click click click


  10. what are football rattles A5?


  11. its when you shake a wob, you can hear the one brain cell rattle about in their empty heaad

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I didn’t see it live, Eduardo but have seen many times since.

    And of course it’s ANOTHER match day miracle for Arsenal because it has been exhaustively documented that the club has no leaders.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. eddy… they certainly have a tendency to sound like even dat cell is stressed out,
    football rattles. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  14. There has been a lot of talk about the surprising amount of mental strength shown by the team on Sunday, but I think the real difference was the way the referree applied the rules evenly. Robust challenges by both teams were equally allowed, illegal challenges by and large equally punished. From the moment Gabriel left his mark on whoever it was he went slightly through the back off and only received a talking too I sensed that it was going to be a very different contest to the ones served up in the Premier League. Of course our players showed spine and desire, because they knew that they were allowed to show those things. and you could see the belief and pride coursing through their veins when they realised they were allowed to play on equal terms.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. New post up


  16. foreverheady

    Totally with you on that. Have always thought the thing liable to crush players spirits and frazzle minds is not so much getting kicked and poorly protected but not having the option to fight back in like manner.

    Should be noted,though, that 3 centre backs makes a difference in ability to meet fire with fire and, perhaps more importantly, City are unusual opponents for us, with their tendency to try play football all over the pitch, including lots of passes into feet, players receiving ball with back to goal, in congested areas,etc.

    It was 20 fouls apiece on weekend, which was about right for game. No idea what latest figures for prem are but i know a few years ago pgmol trumpeted the big drop they oversaw as a success and something which improved the game.

    I was reeling during 2nd half of the West Brom game so don’t really know what happened but i know the foul count, in game Alexis was mercilessly targeted for fouls first half, is beyond weird for any professional game, let alone one in which a footballing side plays an extremely aggressive side who sat deep and then countered : 5 : 6.

    11 fouls vs 40 on Sunday. Not right.

    Maybe one clue behind it is that it’s an FA panel, not pgmol, who assign refs for the cup. Perhaps Pawson had a week away from Riley or something.


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