Arsenal’s Glorious FA Cup History

May 24, 2017

Well here we go it’s the 136th edition of the oldest football competition in the world and our record 20th FA Cup Final. It’s our 2nd against Chelsea; in the 2002 final we ended up victorious, winning 2-0 with goals by Ray Parlour in the 70th minute and Freddie Ljungberg in the 80th.

Let’s take a walk back in time:

1927 Cardiff v Arsenal

1927 was the first time we appeared in the FA Cup Final and we ended up losing 0-1 to Cardiff City – Arsenal went into their first Final as slight underdogs against the Bluebirds who had reached the final only two years earlier. Despite having Charlie Buchan to bolster the ranks the Gunners could not break down Cardiff and Hughie Ferguson scored the winner. His effort slipped under Arsenal goalkeeper Dan Lewis’ body and the cup left England for the only time in its long history. This was the first FA Cup final to be broadcast live on BBC radio, having future Arsenal manager and experienced journalist George Allison at the microphone.

1930 Arsenal v Huddersfield

1930 was the first time we won the famous trophy the attendance at Wembley was 92,488 and our team consisted of – Charlie Preedy, Tom Parker (captain), Eddie Hapgood, Alf Baker, Bill Seddon, Bob John, Joe Hulme, David Jack, Jack Lambert, Alex James, Cliff Bastin.
Goalscorers: James (16), Lambert (88).

For their second final Arsenal were pitted against Herbert Chapman’s former team. Arsenal’s first goal had been planned on the team bus on the way to the game, Alex James taking a quick free-kick to Cliff Bastin who returned the ball to the unmarked linchpin to slot home. In the dying minutes a long through-ball found Jack Lambert who shrugged off the Huddersfield defenders to secure the game and Arsenal’s first major silverware. Both teams were led onto the pitch side-by-side for the first time in honour of Herbert Chapman.

Now some FA Cup statistics:

Final appearances (3 or more):

5 – Ray Parlour, Pat Rice, David Seaman

4 – Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, Ashley Cole, Joe Hulme, Martin Keown, Freddie Ljungberg, David O’Leary, Patrick Vieira

3 – Cliff Bastin, Liam Brady, Lee Dixon, Eddie Hapgood, Thierry Henry, Pat Jennings, Bob John, Lauren, Sammy Nelson, Tom Parker, Robert Pires, David Price, Graham Rix, Frank Stapleton, Alan Sunderland, Sylvain Wiltord, Willie Young

Winner’s appearances (2 or more):

4 – Ray Parlour, David Seaman.

3 – Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, Ashley Cole, Martin Keown, Lauren, Freddie Ljungberg, Patrick Vieira.

2 – Cliff Bastin, Santi Cazorla, Lee Dixon, Edu, Lukasz Fabianski, Eddie Hapgood, Thierry Henry, Joe Hulme, Alex James, Laurent Koscielny, David O’Leary, Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil, Robert Pires, Aaron Ramsey, Pat Rice, Gilberto Silva, Jack Wilshere, Sylvain Wiltord, Nigel Winterburn

Enjoy the game.

GunnerN5

 


Everton: Player Ratings

May 22, 2017

A sunny day, the end of the PL season, JC last game (?), a fine win yet one mingled with regret and disappointment

Given that we played 80 minutes with 10 men against a strong Everton team and a bent referee it was a fine victory. Had we not been cheated out of a point at Everton away, it would have meant much more but in the end we were the 5th best team in the PL. Thursday nights and lots of Sunday games await.

Player ratings.

Cech. Magnificent … Again. He has been superb the last few games. Had little chance with a well -taken penalty. Cut out the ball early from crosses, made an acrobatic save from a Lukaku header and his distribution was faultless.     9

Holding.  In a constantly changing back line he played well, made the odd error of judgement. Continues to improve and must have won a place in the Cup Final    7

Koscielny. Stupid and rash challenge which deserved the red card. Out of the CF.   5

Gabriel. Until his injury the Brazilian was outstanding. Looked a nasty injury. Got a yellow card for his pains when he was in front of the man and got the ball.    8

Monreal.  Was it a penalty? I couldn’t tell. Other than that he played well with his usual energy. After Kos ‘s red card Nacho was understandably more defensive   7

Bellerin. Finally getting his speed back. Non-stop work up and down his wing. Scored a tap in but was there to do so. Better.    8

Ramsey.  Started slowly with inaccurate and poor choice of passes. Improved second half and scored an absolute peach.    7

Xhaka. Terrific. Is becoming the player AW hoped for. No more stupid tackles, even Oliver could find a reason to give him a card.    9

Ozil. Once again in good form. Worked tirelessly, as usual created some chances. Hopefully not his last game at THOF     8

Sanchez.  Typical Alexis game. Non-stop workmate, dangerous on the ball, hugely frustrating in his timing and choice of pass, scored. Brilliant player and I love to watch him. Hopefully not his last game at THOF.    8

Welbeck.  Worked hard. Missed an absolute sitter and should have scored at least two of his chances.      7

Subs:

BFG. Great to see our Club Captain. Fitted in seamlessly.    7

Coq. 30 minutes & but didn’t embarrass himself    6

Iwobi. Seemed to be everywhere on the pitch in his cameo.    7

Mr Wenger. On a difficult afternoon he got his tactics spot on.    8

Referee:  Michael Oliver. Dreadful. Lost control to the point that a quiet Emirates resounded with “you don’t know what you’re doing”.      2

written by Big Raddy


Everton. A Chance to say Goodbye?

May 21, 2017

Will this be the final time Alexis and Mesut grace Islington’s most sacred turf? Hope not , but if it is let’s win this afternoon with the style and brio they have both brought to the Arsenal.

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Everton are a good team and Koeman has done well to keep them in the mix until the last month or so, they will finish in 7th at least 14 points ahead of 8th. With a much smaller budget than the Top 6 it would be fair to say, they have comfortably won League 2 of the PL. Whether they can push on is doubtful without massive investment.

Everton will be no push-overs, they are good all over the pitch and AFC will have to play well to secure the points. This being the case I do not think AW will rest his best players ahead of Wembley.

My Team:

Cech

Holding     Mustafi    Monreal

Bellerin   Ramsey   Xhaka     Gibbs

Ozil      Sanchez

Welbeck

Such a pity Ox is injured as he adds a better attacking punch than Bellerin but Hector is a wonderful replacement and gives the immature Holding fine back-up. Ramsey wasn’t as crocked as I feared, Kos is still a doubt, the rest pick themselves. Apart from upfront where despite the gulf in the goal stats I still prefer Welbeck to the FFP. Why? Movement. Versus Boro we looked so much better when Iwobi and Welbz came on as subs.

Thinking Iwobi, AW has to find a place in the first team for this young fellow, the man is just terrific and probably the man to take Sanchez’ or Ozil’s shirt when they leave.

I hate the end of the season. I need the weekly injection of football in my life. What happens in the close season? Gossip, speculation and fantasising (and in my case a long sun-filled holiday in Italy). Thankfully, unlike our noisy neighbours, we have another week to enjoy.

Will it be Weds or Thurs evenings? Quite honestly, I don’t really care. As an armchair fan I do not get the thrill of seeing Messi, Ronaldo, Cavani, Dybala etc in the flesh. If it is to be Thursdays I will have the enjoyment of seeing teams I know nothing about, safe in the knowledge that Arsenal have a good chance of winning well and seeing loads of goals.

But that is for another day, today is all about beating Everton. It can be done and I will be sending positive waves all the way to North London alongside shouting at my television in support of my team.

For the final time this season a win at THOF is possible. Can we do it? Of course.

Let it be So ….

COYRRG


Another Victory.

May 17, 2017

Are we going to talk football? Why not?

Strange game last night. First half a meandering dull affair enlivened only by speculation as to why the Emirates was a quarter empty.

Ozil playing beautifully but Giroud the opposite. Sanchez scoring two but losing the ball way too often. Gibbs having his best game for a few seasons.

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Referee, once again, crap. Two clear penalties declined, too many yellows for AFC whilst that thug, Cattermole escapes having crunched Ozil, Ramsey and Sanchez.

Ramsey. Finally finding some form following a run of games without injury. Sadly, it looked season ending damage for the Welsh Wizard. Hope not.

Defence. Another clean sheet but Cech exposed way too often, if Sunderland were not so poor in attack, we could have been in trouble. We miss Koscielny as Monreal is too concentrated upon attack. Mustafi improving as the season progresses and will be very good next season. Loved the no-look Monreal back pass to Cech, top entertainment.

Cech showed why he still has a few more years at the top. Faultless. I love his urgent distribution to get the team on the front foot.

We looked so much better with Welbeck and Iwobi on the pitch. More pace, more incisive, more problems for a tiring S’land defence.

Holding. Who didn’t love his run upfield? The man looks a future star and a huge bargain. Who said AFC can no longer scout talent from the lower leagues?

All in all, we played OK with some sublime work from Ozil and Xhaka. The headlines go to Sanchez but goals apart ( 😀 ) I thought he had a poor game. My MotM was definitely Ozil.

We had to win to keep our run going and put pressure on L’pool, we did. Just need to win the next two games and the season will look much better than a couple of months ago.

written by Big Raddy


Down to the Wire.

May 16, 2017

The Hammers cowardly capitulation at the hands of Liverpool has put a slight dampener on tonight’s challenge, but as Micky rightly points out, the Fat Lady has yet to sing.

I have never experienced the depression of relegation with Arsenal, neither have you. We have no idea what it must be like to feel like Sunderland fans and probably never will, for that we must be thankful. We must also be thankful that we do not live in Sunderland 🙂

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We are on a fine run of wins, starting to play with a degree of confidence and have an almost fully-fit squad. A win tonight should be possible.

My Team:

Cech

Mustafi    Koscielny    Holding

Ox   Ramsey    Xhaka    Monreal

Ozil    Sanchez

Welbeck

In my opinion, this is our strongest team when playing at home (perhaps Santi for Ramsey) . It will be fascinating to see how AW (if he stays) will fit Iwobi and the new signings into this team.

Should we win our last two games we will finish with 75 points, loads more than we finished with last season yet be lower in the table. What does this signify? Much to discuss through the summer .

Can we win and win well? Of course we can.

Let it be So

COYRRG


Southampton. Player Ratings

May 11, 2017

Cech. Terrific, even his distribution was good. Saved a couple of one on ones and made a spectacular flying save from Redmond.   9

Holding. Early to make this huge statement but this man has a touch of the Tony Adams – he could be that good. Calm, clever, determined and strong. 8

Mustafi. A welcome return and he seems very comfortable as the fulcrum of the back 3. A couple of times he was out of position which allowed S’ton to get behind the defence.  7

Monreal. I think he is a better attacker than Gibbs but also a better defender and he was very solid last night.   7

Ox. Made an energetic start but often his final ball was inaccurate. Made one lovely cross before injury.  6

Ramsey. Massive energy and ambition but as usual much of his work comes to nothing. Clever headed cross for Giroud. 7

Xhaka. He is becoming the metronome of the team. This is both good and bad as sometimes he delays his passes or goes sideways but I have high hopes for his future at AFC. Tried a couple of long-distance shots which was positive. No yellow card – again!!  7

Gibbs. Settling into his role but (and I know I keep saying this) he is not good enough in the opposition half. His crossing is not accurate, he is not on a wavelength with Sanchez. That said, he played well   6.

Ozil.  As always he worked hard. Made a lovely pass for Sanchez goal.  Love the bloke.   7

Welbeck. Plenty of runs but had poor service. I cannot recall him forcing a save from Forster.  6

Sanchez. Brilliant but oh so frustrating. Every game I despair as he gives away ball after ball then he pops up with another outstanding, match-winning goal   8

Subs

Bellerin. Doesn’t seem comfortable with the 3 at the back  system. Feels as though he needs the summer to re-group and come back fitter and faster.   5

Giroud.  Just on the pitch for a few minutes and scored to once again hit double figures for the season.   7

Mr. Wenger. Another clean sheet indicates that the Back 3 experiment is working. We have conceded just 3 goals in 5 games. Substitutions were as expected.  7

My MotM. Cech.  An outstanding performance

A competitive first half with Southampton dominating the opening 15 minutes, from then on Ramsey and Xhaka controlled the game and I was always confident we would win.

written by Big Raddy

 


Southampton: MWG?

May 10, 2017

Just in case anyone is getting ahead of themselves and thinking this will be an easy win, may I point out that we have not won at St Mary’s in our last 5 visits plus we have lost 5 of our last 6 away matches. We need a win because if we draw or, heaven forbid, lose, the rest of the season is just filling in time until the Cup Final.

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Beating both Manchester clubs must give some confidence to our troops and given Liverpool’s odd form there are genuine chances for a top 4 finish (though Stoke will be difficult).

Southampton are a strange team, sometimes they play attacking positive football, at others they are just dour, evidenced by just 39 goals for (44 conceded). In a season which has seen the EPL split into two divisions S’to are just 4 places below us in 10th yet 21 points behind.

Tonight’s referee is John Moss and just to show that I never bear grudges may I ask you to recall the action below. Moss was refereeing that day and did not even give a free kick! IMO it was one of the most dangerous, deliberate fouls I have seen. Moss is known for “letting play flow”, I call it bottling major decisions. He was also the referee when we played Burnley at home earlier this season and Barton got away with grabbing Iwobi’s face.

I do not expect much change from Sunday’s team – Koscielny may be injured and being so important is likely to be rested. Hence …

My Team

Cech

Holding    Mustafi   Monreal

Ox   Ramsey   Xhaka   Gibbs

Ozil     Sanchez

Welbeck

Once again, I would prefer to play someone other than Gibbs though he did play well in the second half on Sunday. Gabriel may return in place of Holding.

Southampton were super dull against Liverpool and I can see no reason why they shouldn’t be so tonight. Puel’s job is apparently under threat, though what do S’ton’s BoD expect? Puel has done OK with limited resources. What he does have is a very good defence which is why we have to score in the first half to make an entertaining game otherwise we are in for another night of tension, possession, dilly-dallying and reluctance to shoot.

Bang one in early and we could be kushtie

Let it be So

COYRRG