Some may say I only blog when we win big. Considering my last blog was when we beat Dortmund I can see the logic. However, follow me on Twitter (@jamesreuben) and I comment all the time.
However this blog is about more than just us beating Spurs but about the FA Cup 3rd Round.
I am a die hard Champions League man, usually gunning to want to ensure we qualify at the behest of any cup. I reality I am gunning to qualify for a competition that we will realistically never win. I am attracted the money, signings and competition we face, wanting Arsenal to be a European Super Power.
But this weekend we can see the FA Cup and all its traditions dying in front of our faces. Draws made during games, tea time finals, drop in attendances and Championship teams fielding weak sides.
I know we cannot go back to the days where winning the cup meant more than finishing 4th. Of course you have to blame UEFA for the Champions League and destroying the Cup Winners Cup, and the money flooding into the Premier League. But without these we wouldn’t arguably have the best league in the world. We wouldn’t have seen Henry, Pires and Bergkamp amongst others. We could also blame the redevelopment of Wembley. Without those twin towers nothing seems right.
I used to love everything about the cup. This was before we won our haul in Cardiff – I’m harking back to the 80’s where Spurs had won more than us. I used to love the draw, the magic and giant killings. A few cup games in my early Arsenal years provide both strong and miserable memories, Semi Final defeat to Utd in 1983, York in 1986 and Wrexham in 1992. Gazza’s free-kick was probably the biggest low. But I also saw delights and the 1993 final, although dire, will always be up there because it was my first Final ( and the replay).
But back to the 3rd round. A time for clubs to change focus and for the lower league teams to try and take some scalps. It was also always the best time to take the young’uns to a game if drawn at home. My son’s first game was a few years back when we faced Plymouth in the 3rd round.
So I wasn’t too thrilled to get Spurs in this year’s 3rd round. We have a had an energy sapping but confidence boosting holiday period and they had just beaten Utd. Not a great time face them and have to field a semi-strong side.
I don’t know why I was worried. The 2-0 scoreline flattered Spurs who from the off were in trouble. To beat Arsenal at home you pack your midfield and play tight. It is like ‘How to try to beat Arsenal for Dummies’. Sherwood showed his inexperience by playing 4-4-2 and a high line.
I have talked before about Wenger’s Eco-System – the ability to bring players in to play the Wenger Arsenal Way. Yesterday saw this again with TV5 and Gnabry slotting in seamlessly. There was a slight tweak in style with Theo playing up top. I am delighted Wenger learnt from the Cardiff game where playing like we had Giroud upfront without him just didn’t click.
Thanks again to my friend Michael Samuels (@msamuels75) for the ticket and we agreed that Santi needed a big game changing performance. And bang did he deliver with his sublime finish past Lloris. He is so calm, cool and collective on the ball and the fulcrum of many a passing move. The way we play is like no-one else in the EPL and at the back we are providing some much needed steel. TV5, LK6 and BFG held strong all game and Arteta picked up everything.
Theo and Gnabry also interchanged very well and Gnabry seems to have a bright future. Jack also played really well.
However it is ‘Super’ Tomas Rosicky who gets his own paragraph here. He epitomised everything The Arsenal are – hungry, skilfull and passionate. He drove us forward all the time and got his just rewards with his goal. I think we are all delighted he showed Danny Rose up, laying the ghost of goal he scored against us a few years ago. That is all he was known for. Not any more. Tommy came forward and cut across the defender to set up the delightful chip that sent us in the North Bank lower into a nice frenzy. No way Spurs were going to get two goals yesterday.
As for the ‘Theo what’s the score?’ incident. It is like the Adebarndoor City goal celebration. Really, some football banter/incidents sending grown men and women into fits of rage that they want to storm the pitch, assault staff and seats and hurl bottles and hard earned money? Get annoyed but calm down!
The reaction in the North Bank Lower – seemed in bad taste that Spurs fans could boo a player obviously injured. If they were annoyed at time wasting, The Arsenal could have gone home and they would never had scored. Any injury should be met with compassion. When Capoue went off earlier in the season the Arsenal fans were respectful. There are always some idiots a la when Sagna was carted off at WHL with a broken leg. Should Theo have done what he did? probably not but was very funny. Let’s not forget what Bale did last season shall we!
So a great win. It’s always great beating them lot. A nice few days off now for the team. Every game in the EPL is hard and Villa will be no exception but let’s exact some revenge for the opening game.
I leave this blog with its opening, the best chant of yesterday – Tim’s Sherwood’s a Gooner!