Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea
2020 FA Cup Final Review
A record 14th FA Cup has come back home!!
Well, we did it!!
I predicted a win, and we got it. I’m not bigging myself up nor self-aggrandising.
But then despite Chelsea finishing higher, I genuinely thought that if we had a good tactical plan, then we could do it.
And we did, and how!
1991 is a long-time for Tottenham. Not so much for us – hard luck for Spurs! Perhaps they should get Lineker out of retirement to partner Kane, since he knows how to win FA Cups with them and Kane doesn’t.
It has been a bad league season, but we like in 2017 beat a better-performing Chelsea side.
This was in some part retribution for the debasement in Azerbaijan 14 months ago.
And we did make Chelsea pay, for sure.
The ref was light on us and harsh on Chelsea
Kovacic was sent off for a late foul on Xhaka, and in my view, this wasn’t a yellow. It was a foul, certainly, but not serious enough to warrant him going off.
However, even with 11 vs 11 at that point, Chelsea was not dominating us.
Chelsea fans who think the ref influenced the result are going on sour grapes and resentment.
They simply didn’t play well enough to win over the game – that’s it.
We fully warranted the win.
Even Lampard in his post-match press conferences said the above sentiments.
In short, we shouldn’t Chelsea fans’ rants and obfuscations cloud the picture. this was our day and our win, even if the ref/VAR made some errors.
Martinez’s claim was on the line, though admittedly borderline to be fair.
However, we just were more structured and balanced overall, and that is that.
Chelsea took the lead because they had a plan and started well. They passed and pressed in the middle, and Xhaka and Ceballos couldn’t handle that. Pulisic took his finish well, though Auba and Pepe had some early chances to be fair.
However, around the 25-minute mark, we reversed this situation and started to boss them.
Auba’s goal from the penalty was a culmination of our increased tempo in the middle and final thirds, and Xhaka/Ceballos were bossing it well.
After we assumed control, we dominated the match really, and limited Chelsea’s serious chances.
Defensively we were sound, bar the opening moments leading to the goal, and Giroud was not the threat many anticipated he would be.
Arteta out-tacticted Lampard for sure, Chelsea had few answers to counter that.
My view on Pepe has been mixed. I feel it’s his record-signing tag that has coloured perceptions of him. However, he has shone in moments, and I believe with more consistency he would be stellar.
And today, he had his best game for us – period.
His pace, trickery and crossing all caused them issues all game, and had Maitland-Niles been onside, his finish in the first half could have counted.
I like Pepe a lot, and one can see his innate technique and talent. Perhaps he’d be more effective if he was given a free role – and he was all around the final third today, in addition to tracking back when needed. Opponents would fear his pace and dribbling, and if he steps up next season he will be a star.
It was touching to see him crying in the post-match interviews. He hasn’t featured much at Arsenal until now – and in some ways proves the old adage “good things come to those who wait”. He has been understudy to Szcenzy, Cech and now Leno, and on this form, can he dropped again? To use a cliche, Arteta has a “nice problem to have” in selection terms. But then dropping Martinez would be harsh, considering that he’s been flawless since Leno’s injury at Brighton. The closest I can think of is him hitting the ball against Firmino at home to Liverpool, but even then we didn’t concede (though it hit the post and was fine lines).
All the same, I’m proud for Emi. He has helped the club win another trophy, our 31st in Arsenal’s history, and he has been a major factor in attaining this.
It’s vindication for his persistence and patience, and he’s taken his opportunity with distinction.
If there is a criticism here, then maybe he couldn’t have handled the ball just on the area line. But apart from that, he did nothing wrong at all. As an Argentine, if going by recent club form, he was akin to Messi, Aguero and Higuain more than Pochettino. Unlike Poch, he knows how to win trophies.
Luiz is infamously hot and cold. Today he was hot – white-hot.
He schooled Giroud, and in fairness, he must be commended for this. The narrative here was Giroud was on hot recent form and would expose our weak defence. But this didn’t happen, and Luiz has shown he CAN contribute when needed.
He just needs to lessen the mistakes – that’s all. No player is error-free. But he would turn around a lot of detractors if performances like today were the norm and not the exception.
He also should be praised for this – are you watching Monsieur Giroud?:
This has been edited in truth but then the sentiment fits.
Aubameyang – an Arsenal legend in the literal making
We’ve been blessed at our club with top strikers – people like Radford, George, McDonald, and Stapleton were before my time, but I remember Smith, and of course Wright, Henry, and now Aubameyang. Auba for me, now, is as legendary as Wright and Henry were for us.
Wrighty scored liberally and helped us win cups. Henry scored copiously and helped us win leagues and Doubles. Auba has scored for fun and in turn, his goals have directly helped us win a trophy. And whilst Henry was our best striker to date (not just for scoring the most goals but due to his all-round game), he never scored in a major final for us.
Auba has busted a few misconceptions via his goals in both the semi and final. He IS a big-game player.
He can score telling goals when it counts.
And he is more than a tap-in merchant. His game in working the channels, dropping deep and cover ground, as well as helping Tierney cover the left-side off the ball, is improving greatly. He is becoming a more complete striker now, and we saw this today.
It’s a privilege to have him at the club, and hopefully, he will extend his stay very soon. But I believe he has done enough to elevate him into legendary status amongst the Arsenal greats – not just for his scoring rate (which is literally second to none amongst current PL players since he joined us) but he scored the winners in a final and lifted the trophy as captain. Wrighty scored in finals for us which we won, though he had Adams as the rightful captain. Henry didn’t lift the CL for us in Paris, sadly, as captain. Auba has gone one step up from our other two PL-era striking legends.
And the football community (actually Tottenham fans…) needs to stop these inane comparisons of Auba and Kane. Look, Kane is world-class. His scoring rate is tremendous, and he has excelled for England too. But Auba has been telling in us winning a trophy – the only “trophies” Kane has won are individual records. With respect to Gabon, if Auba played for a more successful international side, he may well rival Kane in his World Cup exploits. Auba has proven that he is a higher-grade of world-class player, and that is that.
Do we have a managerial legend in the making?
I can’t recall many managers who in literally their first-ever job have won a major trophy. And given the turmoil we’ve experienced on and off the pitch, this is a madness.
Chelsea did start off well but we grew into it, and us exposing Chelsea’s defence via direct channel balls was well-done. It shows that we can analyse other sides, and also keep resolute at the back.
I didn’t want Arteta as our head coach. I respected him as an Arsenal player and thought he served us well. But given the crap we were in under Emery, we needed somebody with a steady hand to lift us. A big global company in trouble doesn’t get a rookie executive to sort them out – they need a seasoned executive to do this. If BP or Texaco had issues, somebody of standing and longevity needs to come in to reverse the rot.
But kudos to be given to him – he obviously has been influenced by Guardiola. But he is his own man. Pep won a trophy quickly with Barca too in his first-ever job – but he had Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, etc. to help him. We don’t have GOAT-level players like that.
It’s too early to say we’re on the verge of a new dawn, or a resumption of us competing at the top level again. We still have many issues at the club, from the top (Mr. KSE…) to the bottom.
But today was special. Despite our issues this season, Arteta has taken eight months to win an FA Cup. Tottenham Hotspur has waited 29 years for such. Let’s keep that in mind and laugh.
ARTETA 10 – All the points above stand. More needs to be done to rectify our faults – but today is a time to celebrate and not critique. With backing from KSE and some good additions/retentions, next season could be a stark improvement.
MAN OF THE MATCH
There were many good performances, but then I have to cite one player here.
MarbleHallsTV is an Arsenal social media account on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Been a Gooner since the 90s, inspired by Ian Wright, then Bergkamp, Vieira, Henry, Pires, Campbell, Rosicky, Koscielny, Ozil and Sanchez. A digital marketer/entrpreneur by profession, born in UK living in the Americas now.