For years, Arsenal has accustomed their supporters to inconsistencies, but somehow, they manage to occasionally surprise us, and quite possibly, even themselves. Just when everyone is ready to write them off, they’d pull through and somehow make it into the top four. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen this year
A fifth placed finish gave pundits, analysts, and Chelsea supporters more reason to write off the Gunners. Hell, even most neutrals weren’t giving Arsenal much of a chance against the big bad Chelsea.
Going back a month or so ago, I can honestly say I wasn’t very confident heading into the semi-final match at Wembley against Manchester City. Knowing that the Gunners have a knack for coming up with a performance at Wembley, the way everything was going, they seemed destined to fall short. More ammunition for the #WengerOut brigade, and everyone else that loves to watch Arsenal struggle.
When the final whistle blew, my group chat with the lads was extremely active. Interestingly enough, none of them are City fans.
#WengerIn. We want Arsenal. Those were the keywords of the conversation for the rest of the evening. I was hesitant to get involved, but I simply just told them to be careful what they wished for. In the back of my mind, I was silently praying that on May 27th, they’d all eat their words. With the odds stacked against us, I played it cool, even after all the stick I got throughout the season, and some of it, rightfully so. Arsenal was poor at times, and Chelsea was flying high in first place, so I took it and carried on. But holy sh*t was I patiently waiting for my opportunity. Like a ticking time bomb some would say.
The beauty of this all is that iMessage is a great thing. Luckily, I was able to retrieve bits and pieces of the conversation. Have a look for yourselves.
As you can see from the conversation, this was before the match had ended. The rent boys were salivating at the thought of meeting Arsenal in the FA Cup final. Easy win for Chelsea they said.
The level of ridiculousness got to a point that one of the lads (Chelsea supporter) asked if anyone had ever won the Premier League and FA Cup in the same season. 🤔
Having declined their invite to join them to watch the match, as I do more often than not, I sat and watched from the comfort of my own home. The wife was out doing wife things, and there was no one home to bother me. It was just me, the TV, and the Arsenal.
When I saw the starting XI, which included Per Mertesacker at the heart of the defense, I cringed.
How the hell was he going to put in a shift considering he only featured for about 37 minutes all year? He certainly is struggling for match fitness, Hazard and Costa are going to run all over him.
Bad enough he barely played due to injury, this was his first start of the 2016/17 campaign. Bundle that all up together, and sprinkle in the fact that he’s never played in this system and you had yourself a recipe for implosion.
Well, fear not ladies and gentleman. Big Fu**en German (BFG) stood tall and let us all know he was ready for battle.
It seemed as if he was involved in everything at the back. Through ball for Chelsea, nope, BFG’s long legs to the rescue. He was like go-go gadget out there.
I wasn’t really sure what I was watching, but I was certainly enjoying it.
The early goal from Alexis certainly helped settle the nerves, mine as well, but that could very well have been called back. In a sense, it was like the footy gods were sending a message. A very clear message that Arsenal wasn’t going to just lay down and let the Premier League Champions walk all over them. A message that Antonio Conte was going to have to think outside the box if he wanted to stop Arsene Wenger from winning his record seventh FA Cup.
That first half was one way traffic.
Arsenal created a ridiculous amount of opportunities, but they could not push the damn ball over the line. Going into the break up 1-0 had me concerned because you just knew Chelsea wouldn’t be that bad in the second half.
On a side note, the group chat was fairly quiet at the break. 😂
Chelsea came out with more intensity in the second half, as was expected, but Arsenal was able to weather the storm.
The boys in red and white poured forward and created opportunities, but again, could not put the damn ball in the net. I was still feeling uneasy knowing that the lead was minimal.
That was until Victor Moses decided to tryout for the local swimming team. Credit to Anthony Taylor for having the sack to show him the second yellow card. There wasn’t a body of water where he dove, but I’m sure he got plenty of H20 when he went into the dressing room for a nice cold shower.
At this point, confidence was growing, but still, I was nervous.
Of course, Diego Costa got onto the end of a ball played into the box, and knocked it past Ospina. You have got to be kidding me.
I fully expected my phone to blow up with messages, but the Chelsea supporters didn’t even have a chance to celebrate. I didn’t even have a chance to sulk and curse at the TV.
On came the bearded beauty Olivier Giroud, and before we knew it, his cross found the head of Aaron Ramsey, who put the Gunners back in the lead. I was too busy looking at my damn Twitter feed that I missed the build up, but worry not, I rewinded that sh*t. What a beauty! 2-1 to the Arsenal. I’m certain everyone on my street heard me.
This was surely it. We wouldn’t let it slip away again, right?
Thankfully Ospina came up with a big save late in the match, but Arsenal again wasted countless opportunities.
Arsene Wenger brought on Elneny and Coquelin to offer some fresh legs, and let me tell you, Coquelin has been playing way too much FIFA 17. He normally doesn’t play out wide, but he surely did his best impersonation of Ronaldo. Did you see all those step-overs? I couldn’t help but laugh every time he got the ball in Arsenal’s offensive third. Go on Coq, show us what you got.
Tick tick tick, time was FINALLY up!
Just when you thought Arsenal would implode after finishing out of the top four, they come back and totally redeem themselves. A record 13th FA Cup title for the club, a record 7th FA cup title for Arsene Wenger. What a record breaking and memorable Saturday it was for the Gunners. What a performance!
Finally, after all the sh*t I listened to throughout the year because of Arsenal’s shortcomings, it was now my turn, and I didn’t hold back.
So you wanted Arsenal huh?! Ha! Go on, tell me more!
As expected, the conversation was minimal, and it was mostly me just blowing up the group chat but I didn’t care. If you can dish it, you can take it, and this was MY time.
Now that it’s all over, it was a great end to the season, despite the league standings. We now must wait for Arsenal’s board meeting on Tuesday, where they are going to discuss Arsene Wenger’s future. But, we all know Le Prof is going to stay. And once they make that announcement, the group chat will consist of – #WengerIn, one less team to worry about for the title race again.
So until then, I’m going to enjoy this one. Stay classy my friends! 🖕🏽