It was the 136th FA Cup Final last weekend and once again we were in it. The third time in the last four years. It was held at new Wembley, as it has been since the place re-opened back in 2007 and was played in front of 90,000 people. Compare that to the first final held back in 1872 at the Kennington Oval between two amateurs teams you realise how great this old competition is. There has been 136 winning day winners then but we now hold the most wins with 13. In recent years Manchester United held the record until we went ahead of them two years ago, unfortunately they won it again last year to draw level. Once again though, we are now back there out in the lead with the most FA Cup Final victories ever.
It wasn’t going to be an easy game with us facing league winners Chelsea who were looking to do a double and continue their winning streak. We ourselves, although not finishing in the top four were coming into the game on a winning streak so had an opportunity to win it. Then we remembered our injuries and suspensions as well as Wenger’s persistence to continue with Ospina in-goal as our cup keeper. Per Mertesacker was playing as well, yes Per was given his first start of the season but was to be our linchpin at the back.
I myself? I wasn’t worried, we had Rob Holding playing and we’d won the last eleven games he played in, so I thought why can’t it happen again. Oxlade-Chamberlain was back in too after missing the last three games with a tight hamstring and Danny Welbeck was in ahead of my super sub of the season Olivier Giroud. Chelsea themselves had their usual keeper and back three and both Cahill and Luiz must have been so happy about that after missing their last final five years ago. Matic was on bench that day too but started this one ahead of Fabregas. Then their usual forward three who have scored 51 goals between this season.
A minute’s silence was superbly respected by all in the ground out of respect for all those who had lost their lives in the recent Manchester terror attacks.
Goal. Yep a goal. Or was it? With only four minutes gone there was some controversy, Sanchez thought he’d scored his fifth goal in as many Wembley appearance but the linesman disallowed as Ramsey was clearly offside. However, referee Anthony Taylor spoke to his linesman and between them decided Ramsey was not interfering. Goal. Yep a goal. It was!
Before half-time we should have scored two more but Cahill twice cleared off the line as we dominated the game. That didn’t last for long and with the game opening up with Chelsea chasing and us still trying to attack all the time chances kept coming. Then Moses stupidly got himself sent off, he was already on a yellow card and decided to try to win his team a penalty by diving in the box. Second yellow card and he was off. Stupid boy!
Then a few minutes of madness as Costa equalised for them, but while we were still cursing and their fans were still celebrating. My super sub Olivier Giroud and been brought on and had crossed the ball with his first touches to set-up Aaron Ramsey to head in from close range. There is no way the ball should have been crossed and there is no way Ramsey knew that it would but thankfully his gamble to make the run came off.
A few more chances came but in the end the best team on the day won and the 136th winner of the FA Cup was us yet again.
Arsenal. FA Cup Winners. I like that! It was one of our best performances of our entire season. From start to finish. It just shows what you can do if you fight for it