I am converted and a believer – The FA Cup MATTERS, winning MATTERS

Clive P’s 5 Points after Wembley!
Cards on the table – I was one of those fans that used to say “the FA Cup and Carling Cup don’t matter – Its about the Champions League to attract top players and to keep the revenue stream”
Well I think I must of had a blockage in my brain to underestimate the value of winning!
I’ve seen Arsenal win many times live:
  • I was there in Copenhagen when we did the 1-nil to the Arsenal
  • I was there when Donkey won the Derby at Wembley vs Spurs
  • I was there when we did the Cup double of ’93 and we sung Ian Wright Wright Wright
  • I was there vs Everton when Adams scored
  • I was there when we went unbeaten vs Leicester
  • I was there for all the Cardiff FA Cup Finals – USA USA USA!
So what I am trying to say is, Saturday was not new for me but somehow,  the emotion, it hit me a lot harder that I expected.
I totally underestimated how much I wanted to see us win. I underestimated by how much I had forgotten how simply great it is to  get over the line. Its truly special and looking around the Arsenal end at Wembley Saturday I know I’m not alone with these thoughts.
So what now – Is this a footnote or is this the new narrative of this has to be a launchpad to bigger and greater accomplishments.
Five Points:
1. Steve Bruce Had a Plan – And it nearly worked!
Steve Bruce went up a lot in my estimations. Tactically he was excellent. I had heard rumours of Hull going to a back 3 pre game and honestly after seeing what Arsenal did to Liverpool when Rodgers bowled into the Emirates with that formation and how Arsenal tore that Liverpool to pieces, I could not wait.
So what happened.
Well Bruce may not be slim of waist to be deemed a bright young manager due to basically how he looks compared to the fashionable Rodgers, Martinez and dare I say Sherwood who are given the credit way beyond what Bruce receives.
But Bruce is their equal – he played 3 at the back but not just 3 Ch’s he made sure he marked our 3 outlets. Arsenal use Arteta Gibbs and Sagna as their out balls. Bruce did not get his wing backs high he made Rosenior and Elmohadany mark Gibbs and Sagna and it immediately interrupted our flow. Many teams have got tight on Arteta and we can get out of that press by going wide but Bruce killed us wide as well and got on the front foot early.
We literally had no answer. We were in shock. Bruce Forced to go central into the tigerish press. We became over reliant on Giroud.
I wanted to start my blog by praising the opposition – Hull as a club, its fans and it’s manager turned up and made Arsenal earn their win. They forced us to to the edge of our emotion and maybe if it was not for Gibbs clearance off the line the day could of been very different.
2. Arsenal were forced to Get Serious.
What I really enjoyed was how Arsenal adjusted during the game. I have complained loudly about just turning up to big games with this easy-ozy attitude and we seemed to do exactly that again. But Wenger was forced to respond and boy he did.
So what did Wenger do?
  • Firstly he moved Santi off the line and got him tight to Aaron Ramsey and Ozil. I lost count of how many times in the later stage of the game the 3 combined. Simple passing from one side of the pitch in a zig zag formation. This pulled Hull to distraction, tired them out as AFC kept the ball. The quality we imposed on the game when we were supposed to be tiring was the differentiator.
  • Elmohadany caused us many problems he marked Gibbs tightly and won every restart from the keeper in the air which gave them offensive territory. He was Hull’s outlet that got them the rest they needed. Wenger moved Arteta out to almost LB on restarts and Arteta sacrificed his game to help our back line and stop Hull at source. Genius move. Arteta is not my favourite but what a selfless professional.
  • The introduction of Yaya Sonogo and the time he introduced him was key. I did call it – See some in game tweets below. What Yaya brings is a I don’t care who you are attitude. Once Arsenal had control of the middle and started to take the front foot we were screaming for someone to run the channels. Giroud was in ‘I’m going to fight you’ mode. When he gets in that mindset he stands still and goes body on body. Alex Bruce Chester and Curtis Davis loved it. A good old fashioned centre forward who does not want to move me about – GREAT! Yaya just ran and moved them. By the end of the game Giroud stopped trying to get Hull centre backs booked and started to move themas well. Then our quality showed and the game was won culminating in Giroud’s world class setup for Ramsey’s winner.
Cup final in game Tweets
Sounds boring but we have no pace or drive hull on the front foot massively and just waiting
17/05/2014 18:08
I’ve seen this Giroud before and he does not normally improve he gets involved personally with his CH and loses his game – crowd on his back
17/05/2014 18:24
Its a day for Tom am I’m telling ya Sonogo suits this game as he don’t give a fuck
17/05/2014 18:10
3. Ozil – The enigma!
I so wanted Ozil to have his MOM moment to shut the critics up. He was rested, his form was steady, the stage was set and I felt this was going to be his moment. But like the team, he started very slowly. He did grow into the the game then faded away. Many around me were screaming for him to be taken off and for Jack to come on way before it happened.
Ozil is not easy to read. At times I looked at Giroud in the box head down attracting the Centre Half’s and shooting when he has no chance to score – then I look up and you see Ozil free showing for the ball. Does OPzil despair sometimes that we are not at HIS level of football intelligence?
I so wanted Ozil to have his MOM moment but starting to realise his football personality is one of deference – he is the oil not a piston.
18/05/2014 16:51
On the Gibbs late chance I was fuming, not with Gibbs but with Ozil, who was on the edge of the area. He must put himself into those positions to score as Gibbs did. He must not defer to others so readily. I would like him to be more assertive and totally understand why Wenger was quoted on saying he would like Ozil to improve his body language.
David Beckham made a career of showing he cared on the pitch. Sometimes his talent was not even close to how he managed a crowd – but when it comes to talent Ozil has it in spades. He is like a professor. He picks out weak links and combines with Ramsey so well. He looks for like minded players who are like surgeons – just one cut at a time. In England we like bludgeons, we are pretty basic and we want grafters. We understand grafters – like Jack. Every step seems tough, Jack seems to be on his limit running driving tackling. We understand that. Ozil has to find that balance. He makes it look easy which is ok when it works but can be labelled lazy when it doesn’t.
As Jose says – Ozil is the player that completes the puzzle. Many criticise him but we win when Ozil plays. I expect the Ozil debate to roll on!
4. Wenger – Is it possible to be too Close to his players?
I arrived early in the stadium. No team news. I watched the players warm up especially the keepers. I looked at Schez when he arrived in his suit. Tall dominant a real presence. I watched Schez and Fabianski go through their drills. I did not know the team but by just looking at them with your eyes live it was obvious Schez is better. He just looked the better athlete. I was shocked Fabianski played. I was angry that we did not choose our best keeper. Our keeper who signed his contract.
I want Arsenal to get serious and WIN. After seeing Schez come for every set piece in the Hull away League game and have a great performance I could not believe that we would be so unprepared and not use Schez to kill the set pieces by taking the ball in the area. We looked so vulnerable early.
Fabianski is a line keeper, a shot stopper and a total liability when he leaves his line and it nearly cost us.
Seeing Wenger celebrate with his players I’ve never seem him so close to a  group before. They love him but he seems incredibly loyal to them even if they reject him, reject his contracts and want to leave the group.
It filled me with joy to see the man so happy. Wenger deserves this more than anyone.
I do want Wenger to remember how this feels. Maybe get more serious and ruthless with his team selection and balance of players he will purchase in the summer.
5. So what now…?
Already the mainstream media has moved on to Van Gaal and the reincarnation of Man United. MUFC transfer rumours will dominate the summer and before long us happy Arsenal fans will be saying – so when are we buying someone.
We have to win the summer. Saturday must have a long lasting effect on the people that drive the transfer process at Arsenal. Our blatant refusal to mange the last summer caused the violent fan reaction after the Villa defeat. We had been through the Suarez debacle and the Higuain, hesitancy. Cries of patience but all we had was a free transfer and an unknown French Centre forward. Spurs bought 7 new players and we lagged behind.
We have to manage the summer message and the process better – in this media age every fan watches. We understand.
  • We understand how the game is played and what profile of player we need.
  • We understand how important it is to win those transfer battles with our rivals for the ever reducing talent pool.
  • We understand our midfield has not enough power to win those big games away or some at home.
  • We understand we need a forward that can run and dribble and create devastation with his agility and dynamism.
  • We understand that Sagna must be replaced with quality
  • We understand that the lack of pace cost us our challenge.
Like it or not Liverpool won the summer lat year and nearly the winter with their reduced game schedule. I don’t envisage the same next year but already the glow of the FA Cup win is fading and Arsenal must get on the front foot.
Happy days!
The glow has not totally faded!! Best day ever!

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4 Responses to I am converted and a believer – The FA Cup MATTERS, winning MATTERS

  1. Hector May 21, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    Awesome piece..Its 12.47am but i just coudn’t get my eyes of the screen reading through this bit. You said it all and I just hope and pray to the Good Lord that this will be a springboard to further glory for Arsenal. We cannot afford to be complacent now. The gate of glory has been opened and we must claim all we can now…COYG

    • Clive May 21, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

      Thanks for the great feedback. Such an exciting time. Football is great eh!

  2. Nick the Gooner May 21, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    Great article
    Don’t agree with everything but well presented
    Wilshere and Rosicky coming on were the final straw – ran at a tired Hull – it was always Arsenals from there
    Sanogo was a well inspired and correct call
    So was Fabianski to come of his line – otherwise would have been two on one and Hull would have scored

    I still have not stopped celebrating – to me the important point is the first trophy for the Emirates – quite frankly Wenger was always going to land one for us – we just need to believe and now keep believing

    • Clive May 22, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

      Thanks mate. What a day. It’s time to move on but I’m not ready yet…I’m enjoying it. We have a platform but how we push on is key – we must not take a step backward. Not now not after all this suffering to get here!

      Thanks again for comments.

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