Friday, 16 May 2014

FA Cup Final Preview

This is it. And I really mean it when I say it.

One game away from ending a shameful run 8 years, 11 months and 24 days, and the game's against Hull City, minus their two strikers. This really is as easy as it gets, and for the sake of my nerves, I pray we don't make hot water of it.

Regardless of the result in the FA Cup Final, I'm convinced Arsene Wenger will stay. I genuinely reckon he would have left had we lost the penalty shoot-out to Wigan, hence a part of me wanted us to lose. However, with his next two year apparently sealed at Arsenal FC, what the heck, let's pick up trophies under him while we can.

We really should be winning this, but I think we've seen enough of Arsenal to know it isn't a given we will. It's almost definite we'll make hot water out of it, yet I don't care. As long as the final result is in our favour, I don't CARE.

Tomorrow won't be a day of performances, it will be one of results. Yes, a good performance invariably leads to a good result, which is why having Ramsey, Ozil, Gibbs and (maybe) Oxlade-Chamberlain for this game is a huge boost. However, in the end, it all boils down to the final result.

I feel the nerves creeping upon me like snakes as I type this, 24 hours away from kickoff. Imagine my state when I wake up, considering I also have a touch of the seasonal cough on me. I, like every Gooner, will be as excited as terrified of what is to come.

Confession? I have never seen Arsenal pick up a trophy. The first Arsenal match I saw was back in 2006, the Champions League Final. I don't really remember much of it, except that Ashley Cole had dived to win the free-kick that led to Sol's opener. Of course, I remember losing, but it never hurt me like it would have today.

I missed out on watching the 2008 League Cup Final, and was unable to watch the 2011 League Cup Final as well. A close Gooner (who, incidentally, has written a piece on this blog) texted me the updates. I still remember the last SMS he sent me, I still haven't deleted it from my phone as well as my memory:

"Birmingham score, commit suicide Arsenal fans."

Considering it was Birmingham, that was heartbreak. And it will be the same if Arsenal fail to defeat Hull.

Contrary to other opinions, I'm certain that winning the FA Cup will not be a platform to replicate the glory days. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, it is only the future of Arsene Wenger that will signal progress or regress at Arsenal. Maybe winning the FA Cup will give him a taste of success, and make him more ruthless in the transfer market for a start, but I don't think it will happen. Increasingly, I think that winning the FA Cup will cement Wenger's belief that his deluded ideology is accurate.

Why do I want Arsenal to win the FA Cup? The answer is simple, for these guys.

Mesut Ozil"It’s normal to be tense before a game. You want to give your all and that’s exactly the same case with a final. But the most important thing is that everyone is aware that we can win trophies now and can repay the fans. They have been excellent for the whole season and that’s also why I think we deserve to win this trophy."

Mathieu Flamini: "We have not won a trophy for a while so it is very important for the club and it is important for the players. When you play such good football and have so much quality, it is important to win trophies. We [also] want to win it for the fans. They have been behind us, even when we have not been winning trophies, so that will be a motivation for us.”

Mikel Arteta: "I think when you get to that line and you win, it creates a lot of confidence and builds something special. It will be something special between the players, the fans, the staff. Then suddenly you have the Community Shield to play for, which is another trophy and the ball is rolling. In my opinion this is something else than just a final and a trophy.”

Santi Cazorla: "It is the first ever cup final that I am going to play in, I have just played in the finals of the European Championship with the national side and I have never played any other final with any club. So it is something new for me and something that I want to experience, hopefully it is the first of many with Arsenal."

Olivier Giroud"We feel really excited because the final is a special moment for a player and especially for the club and for the fans as well. We have been waiting for a trophy for nine years now so we really want to win it for all the Gunners."

Kieran Gibbs"I just feel like the boys have given everything that they've had this season and we want to finish it off strongly. We finished higher than we did last year in terms of points and a trophy would add an extra positive feel to our season."

I love the players. I love the fans. In fact, apart from Arsene Wenger and a few frightened board members, I love everything connected to this football club. And for the sake of the club, I hope they win this.

I have cried only three times while being an Arsenal fan, all in recent times:

1) When Arsenal lost the Carling Cup Final to Birmingham

2) When Thierry scored against Leeds

3) When, amazingly, Wigan defeat Manchester City 2-1 in the quarters

I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but I know there will be tears at the end of it. Whether it's tears of joy or of sorrow, that's up to Arsenal to decide.

Geez. What's left to say? Come on Arsenal.

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )