Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1
FA Cup Final Saturday 27th May 17:30
...Where Arsenal actually look good. I'm writing this in the midst of a joint Chelsea/Arsenal "We hate T*ttenham" singsong on the Victoria Line and I've just realised who Wenger reminds me of. Anyone watch Buffy back in the day? There were these baddies called The Gentlemen who were impossibly old and scrawny with terrifying faces who used to float everywhere. They ripped the hearts out of people's chests having somehow managed to make their voices complete unheard no matter how vehement their protestations. They left misery in their wake. Their continued presence and determined resilience gave people horrific nightmares. So the more I think of the similarities the more I can't believe I haven't put this together before. If you see Wenger hovering with a scalpel. Run.
So the day started well. Pork Pie's massive over reaction to Miranda Hart's face being plastered all over the tube was hysterical. Couldn't have been more revolted if Wenger had turned up at brunch and curled one out on her plate. Also got to have a dig at Slippy G on tv. Then it went downhill.
Going by the team sheet Arsenal looked positively f*cked. All we had to do was play our best football and they didn’t stand a chance. We did not play our best football. By any stretch of the imagination. We started by giving the ball away on the edge of the box. And Arsenal put it in the net. Handball, offside, possibly both. Still we can always rely on the integrity of the officials to sort these matters out. Right? Wrong. Because someone gave Anthony Taylor the whistle. We’ll get to him later.
We did not settle, in fact we failed to string together a coherent set of passes, with the vague exception of an almost nearly moment after fifteen minutes. But then it was back down the other end and Cahill was clearing it off the line. Then they hit the post. We had not looked this bad since we played them in September. And they were out of sight by half time.
We at least managed to prevent this. Just after the clock ticked past twenty minutes there was a slight flickering of intent that intimated that we might be about to wake up, but it didn’t last very long. It took us nearly half an hour to win a corner and a couple of tackles, but we were a yard off the ball and they clearly wanted it more than us. If not for Thibaut palming it away and the constant intervention of Gary Cahill we could have been about 5-0 down by half time. We kept hoofing the ball to Costa. Why we did this when Mertesacker has a two foot head start on him, who can say. Why we didn’t try and run it round him when he is about as alert and spritely as a Koala with a spliff in its paw, who can say.
Still, it’s only one goal. And Antonio will open a stylish Italian can of whoop ass at half time. It can’t possibly continue to be this bad.
We were not as sh*t when we came back out. In fact, the tide had turned fairly comprehensively, and we looked far more like ourselves. We had more possession in the first two minutes than we had in the entire first half and more attempts too; even one on target, but we failed to put anything away in the opening minutes of the second half and they were gradually coming back into it. Combine this with Taylor’s inability to identify who puts the ball out of play and a host of other random twatlike decisions, and we were still behind. Pesto came close just before the hour, we thought it was going in when he hit it, but it went wide.
Fabregas please. And on he came on 60 minutes. To a chorus of boos. From a club that waved a massive banner before kick off that reminded everyone how much class they have. History, Tradition, Class and a long list of dates they’ve won the cup. I suppose when you haven’t won anything significant in fifteen years you’ve got to cling to your glory days. In contrast ours had three words. Pride of London.
Anyway, I genuinely believed that we could come back into this game, which is more than can be said for the voice of f*cking doom behind us. What's worse than watching your team lose? Watching your team lose when someone stands there for the whole game blandly (like a train spotter) telling you exactly why the opposition are superior to us. Your sense or your logic or your reason has no place in this stadium sh*thead.
You could see the joy on Taylor's face when he sent Moses off. (and Sh*thead's, because it gave him another five minutes of ammunition) It was like a traffic warden spying a Ferrari parked on a double yellow. For a man who had missed several obviously nasty fouls throughout the match pulling out a yellow and doing him for diving was petty to the highest degree. I was behind that goal and watching it live I don’t see that he could have thought he’d be gaining anything. Maybe we should be celebrating Taylor’s evil bald genius. He has the power to make everyone in close proximity hate him every weekend by a continuous string of bizarre decisions and inexplicable outbursts of power hungry madness. He’s basically PGMOLs’s answer to Donald Trump. I spent half time having a text debate with Knobhead (my only Arsenal friend) across Wembley about which of us had the right to be more pissed off at him. He was an utter f*ckshit of comic book blockbuster proportions today. Were Martin Atkinson, Michael Oliver, even CLATTENBURG really all unavailable on cup final day? I've have taken Lee Mason or Mike Jones before I started scraping the bottom of the refereeing barrel and gave it to Anthony f*cking Taylor. Dubious goal, petty bookings, ignoring two handed shoves, buying every other dive going, claiming that Ozil got the ball when he almost broke Hazard’s legs in scything him down for it. Arsenal fans have got their own lengthy list of transgressions too.
But though all of this may be true, (it is, because I say so) he didn't lose us the game. We did that ourselves. Thanks to Costa I at least felt like I'd been partially rewarded for getting out of bed. But then we p*ssed it away in the next ten seconds of play. Sh*thead had a boner by this time, pointing out the many reasons why we were going to lose.
Back to square one. Somehow we ended up playing the underdog all afternoon and although we might have nicked an equaliser in the 85th, it came to nothing. It's not even worth picking out who was more at fault. Collectively we were a shadow of ourselves today. I will point out that at 2-1 down on 81 mins I did not want to see Willian cuddling Sanchez. Some tried harder than others, whatever. They will all feel it when they realised they literally chucked the double away. I don't get angry when we lose, I get angry when we lose because we don't show up. But at the end of the day, to use the most overused cliche in football, Champions AND FA Cup Finalists would have been beyond my wildest dreams on 24th September when we went down like a submarine with a sun roof at the Emirates. I can live with this. Providing I don't look at any football coverage for the next week.
Rant: Jester hats. There is no way not to look like a c*nt in one. And yet they're everywhere. Let’s donate them all to the twatter bellends slagging off Conte this evening. F*cking jokers.
Another rant: The Goons pouring away from Wembley as soon as the whistle went are the ones that make my blood boil. What about the trophy says I? To some of them. "Winning this is the least they could do" apparently. No interest in staying to celebrate it. The sense of entitlement makes me rage. Actually, after whimpering across 38 games to fifth place, getting utterly annihilated in Europe, getting bumped through the semi final of the FA cup by the incompetence of Craig Pawson, you might be grateful that you got the opportunity to take try and take home a trophy at all this season. Other fans would be. Tossers.
Still, every mangy French poodle has its day and every cloud has a silver lining. Two more years of Gentleman Wenger at least by the looks of it. It might not be the cup we wanted today, but the cup that we do have runneth over if that happens.
Today was disappointing, but it shouldn't dampen what has been a joyously unexpected success of a first season in England for Conte, who has apparently silenced rumours and committed his long term future to the club. Are we perfect? No. But we are champions, deserved champions if not double winners and now he has a transfer window with the Champions League to offer to strengthen the squad. Then a settled preseason now he's got his feet under the table to move his philosophy along ready for next term's challenges.
The book version of the blog, including season reviews, player review, mocking of our rivals etc. is available in a few days both as a paperback and an ebook. If you previously placed a pre-order, Amazon have cancelled it, because they’re morons, and you won’t have been charged, but it will be available on 5th June in both formats. I’ll drop a link @CFCgwlb
Please buy one. My kitten has expensive tastes in premium food. And I need to have his nuts cut off right about the time pre-season starts. That ain't cheap.
Also, while you've got your hands in your pockets Mowgli (aka QuickDraw) Mini Mowgli and I are walking across the Jordanian desert on November in aid of Veterans in Action. Follow this link to make a much appreciated donation to The Blue Trekkers: