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

 


Our Rorke’s Drift

April 23, 2017

I was hesitant about writing a FAC SF post with the prospect of Spurs awaiting us in the Final. Amusingly, that is no longer the case as the Hotspurs take yet another sad drag home along the North Circular 🙂

So, it is with a lighter heart that I write this post.

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Let’s kick off with my belief that we can beat City. Yes, they have great players and a fine manager. Yes, they have a squad which cost the equivalent of a mid-sized nation’s Gross National Product but they still play the likeable, but ageing, Sagna, and sometimes even Gael Clichy!

Here’s how we beat them. … solidity at the back, full backs being less adventurous, midfield staying on their feet and harrying rather than tackling, Ozil continuing his return to form, wingmen tracking back and always finding a red shirt with their passes, the front men being efficient and potent. Oh, and Cech/Ospina has to be alert at crosses.

Bosh.

We win.

Now how hard is that?

Will Mr. Wenger continue with his Back 3 experiment? I doubt it but it would be exciting. Sterling and Sane are much better widemen that Stewart Downing, who caused problems at ‘Boro. Can he trust the inexperienced Holding to stop such a quality attack?

On paper we are even in most areas of the pitch. Silva is not as good as an on-form Ozil. Aguero and Sanchez are both similar and wonderful players. Sterling and Theo are also similar, in fact all over the pitch there are likenesses between the squads.

The huge difference is De Bruyne, a marvellous talent and when on form, head and shoulders the best in his position, thankfully in recent weeks he has been struggling. We must hope for him to have an awful game this afternoon.

Guardiola will be looking for the FAC to save an ordinary season. I still think he was perfect for Arsenal but that ship has sailed.

As to Arsenal,  I just cannot see how we go into the game without Bellerin, it would be madness. Does he fit into a back 3? No, so we will revert to norm

My Team:

Cech (unless Ospina is fit)

Bellerin    Gabriel    Koscielny     Monreal

Ox   Ramsey    Xhaka

Walcott  Sanchez    Ozil

It is highly unlikely AW will play the above as it has no defensive “enforcer” but who gets dropped for Coquelin/Elneney? And who is left out if AW decides to play Giroud as a target man? Welbeck is not 100% fit, so Walcott starts.

This game is a huge opportunity to show that the current Arsenal are not as poor as some believe. Form is temporary. Class is permanent.

My main concern is the weather. We do not play as well when the temperature drops into single figures and the forecast is for chilly. If it gets over 15C, we win.

Let’s hope for a game as good as yesterday and an Arsenal win.

Let it be So.

COYRRG

p.s. Thank you to Chas for the headline’s inspiration

 


The Magic of the FA Cup returns on Sunday

April 21, 2017

On July 20th, 1871 at a Football Association meeting a discussion was held about “breathing life” into its Challenge Cup. After the formal business was concluded,

  1. W. Alcock proposed: “That it is desirable that a Challenge Cup should be established in connection with the Association, for which all clubs belonging to the Association be, invited to compete.” The idea was received at once with general favour, and at a subsequent meeting held on October 16th 1871 the rules were drafted, the entries were received and history took a deep breath and prepared for the plunge.

That was the day that the FA Cup was born and 146 years later the magic remains.

The first FA Cup semi finals were held in 1872:

The two fixtures were:

Crystal Palace v Royal Engineers & Queens Park v Wanderers with both games ending in 0-0 draws. Royal Engineers won their replay 3-0, but it was a different story for Queens Park; public donations had been used for their long trip down from Glasgow for the first semi final at Kennington Oval but unfortunately they were unable to arrange the funding for the journey back for the replay and were forced to withdraw from the competition. However the lack of funds had a silver lining as it allowed the Scottish pioneers to hold their heads high and retain their dignity as they returned to Scotland unbeaten.

Shirt numbers were not even imagined back then and knickerbockered players were distinguished by the colour of either their caps or stockings. The crossbar was a length of tape or rope. Inside the touchlines the field was unmarked, chuck ins were taken with one hand and the teams changed ends after every goal was scored. There was little or no heading of the ball and defence was rarely considered. The game was based on dribbling with most of the team backing up the man in possession, somewhat like a standing scrum.

A few Semi Final facts-

Most used stadium: Villa Park 55 occasions.

Highest attendance: 88,141 Everton v Manchester United in 2009

Biggest win: 6-0 Newcastle over Fulham in 1908

Biggest post war victory: 5-0 Stoke over Bolton in 2011

Most games needed for a result: 4 – Arsenal vs. Liverpool in 1980

Highest scoring game: 5-3 Hull over Sheffield United in 2014

Most semi final appearances: Arsenal 29

The semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in 1989 at Hillsborough ended in tragedy when 96 spectators were killed in a crowd surge due to overcrowding. The cause of this tragedy was studied and the conclusions reached have helped in the design of new stadiums.

Our first semi final was in 1906 when we lost 2-0 to Newcastle United.

Arsenal are now appearing in their all time record 29th semi final, 11 of them under the management of Arsène Wenger. Arsène has also won the cup on a record 6 occasions along with George Ramsay who was the club secretary of Aston Villa from 1874 to 1926.

This season the semi final draw pits four of the Premier League’s best teams against each other.

Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur on April 22nd.

Arsenal vs. Manchester City on April 23rd.

At this point I cannot think of a better ending to the season than Arsenal beating Tottenham in the final.

GunnerN5


A Nice Semi?

March 14, 2017

In anticipation of the FA Cup Semi-Final draw there were mixed feelings.

Man City probably play the most open football, so perhaps drawing them would give us the best chance of progressing.

It seemed an opportune moment to play the spuds at Wembley as they have had a torrid time there in Europe. 🙂

The chavs are firing this year under Conte this season so would likely be the least attractive draw.

When the draw came out, I was pleased for selfish reasons. A day out at Wembley could easily be spoiled by supporters of both the hideous chavs or the N17 swampies. Though, of course, if we are to progress we will have to play either in the final.

The suggestion that the police would not want chavs versus spuds on London Marathon day, Sunday 23rd April, makes perfect sense, so I’d imagine that’ll be when we play.

Whether the draw gives us the best chance of reaching another final only time will tell.

What do you think?

chas

 


She wore, She wore ….

March 11, 2017

Today we celebrate both a home FA Cup fixture and the birthday of one of our most esteemed bloggers. Happy Birthday.

What was your reaction to drawing Lincoln?  Joy? A quantum of fear?  Both understandable as this is a no-win situation for the team and a possible disastrous, history-making banana skin.

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I cannot see any way Arsenal will not win this tie, our U-23 team should be good enough to win handsomely. Or cheapest purchase costs more than the entire Lincoln squad.

Lincoln City have a long history playing in the same ground (Since Bank) since 1895! They won Div 3 in 1975. This afternoon may be the biggest game in their long history – I hope the Imps have a good time.

What to say of our team? Rifts, cliques, disappointment, dissatisfaction, resignation and anger – this seems to be the language used about the dressing room in recent weeks, even our club captain stated that there was not enough fight. It is simply not good enough. These charlatans are paid a fortune to do one thing …. give 100% for 95 minutes. To lose is OK, what is not acceptable is to go missing when under pressure. Can you remember the last time Arsenal gave a 90+ minute performance? I can’t.

Do you give credence to the stories that Oxlade-Chamberlain wants to leave? I think it must be agent talk ahead of his new contract. Ox has played 35 games already this season and started more than half of them. He  appears to be committed and is one of the few to work continuously. It must be paper talk.

My Team:

Ospina

Bellerin     Holding     Gabriel    Gibbs

Ramsey   Xhaka     Coquelin

Perez    Giroud     Jeff

Given the flu bug (and I know just how debilitating that can be) I doubt Welbeck, Ozil or Iwobi will play. We can have a brilliant bench with Sanchez, Theo, Kos, Maitland-Niles etc

I am hoping for an open game with Arsenal scoring early to settle the nerves. A goal for Lincoln would be good gesture as long as we have at least 3 goals more.

Beating Lincoln will allow us to go into what is sure to be the most competitive semi-finals in FA Cup history.

Let it be so.

COYRRG

 


Watford, Minnows & Days of Yore.

January 31, 2017

An away draw at Sutton Utd . A win takes us into the 6th round a loss is unthinkable

Back in the Days of Yore, I went with AFC to Yeovil for an away Cup game.

In order to get tickets one had to check in the program, find out when the tickets went on sale and then arrive at Highbury at least 4 hours before the sale time. This meant bunking off school, not a problem for some but I had High Hopes (sadly unachievable 🙂 )

I recall it was a very cold queue though we got  to sing a fair bit before the turnstiles opened. I am not sure but think we queued at the Clock End, but as I seemed to be forever queuing for tickets to see the Arsenal, it could have been the North Bank. I preferred the North Bank because then I got a chance to visit the sweet shop to buy a bag of Mint Imperials.

Thousands were in the queue and less than half would have got tickets. Such was the disdain of the club for it’s fans that there was little stewarding and no-one to assess when to stop people from a vain pursuit. Even as a schoolboy I was able to understand that if there were 1000 tickets on sale, in a queue of 30000+ most would be wasting their time. But then, this was in The Days Of Yore, when folk just queued for a hobby. I remember queueing every Saturday night for the newspaper!

Different today. The molly-coddled away boys apply for tickets from the cosy comfort of their sitting rooms, only having to press a few keys on their laptops.

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It was a long journey on a freezing day down to Yeovil. Dennis Sugarman got attacked by some Yokels but not too badly. We escaped a beating by running into a hotel lobby. It was the Way it Was.

We won 3-0, thanks to a Raddy brace and went on to win the Double.

So …. Sutton away. Should be exciting.

Yeovil is (and was) much like Sutton. A banana-skin fixture. Tiny ground, crap pitch, no glory for a victory.

p.s. I am reminded that we are playing Watford at the Emirates tonight! And it is transfer Deadline Day!  Just in case you are thinking “what a silly old fool Raddy is” may I point out that Tempes Fugit and it will be your turn to live in the cosy cocoon of forgetfulness in the coming years 😀

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin    Gabriel  Koscielny   Monreal

Ramsey    Coquelin   Iwobi

Theo   Sanchez   Ozil

We need a good and an injury-free performance ahead of Chelsea

Let it be so …

written by Big Raddy


Dannyyyyyyyy………………..and player ratings.

January 29, 2017

Well that was exciting, I was excited thinking about the game all week, even more so when I saw the team selection and by the end I was down right ecstatic. An outstanding performance and a great result. Days like this are our reward for being Arsenal supporters.

danny1

Player ratings

Ospina: when some think of him they go – ooh scary but I think that he is deceptive, yes he is south American so there is always going to be a bit of drama but look closely and you will notice that what he does he does well, clean sheet, that will do nicely: 8

Bellerin: Hector (we are back on first name terms) returned to his outstanding best; he and Walcott were pretty much unplayable down the right flank, it was interesting to see just how far Walcott was coming back to cover for Hector when the Spaniard was attacking, a real sign of just how much Bellerin’s attacking has improved and just how much Walcott has been told to respect that. 8

Mustafi: our lucky charm continues to shine as brightly as ever, should be interesting to put it to the test next weekend, another solid performance. 8

Holding: what’s not to like about this 2 million pound signing, still makes me laugh when I think of Wenger laughing at the beginning of the season when he was comparing him with the 55 million pound signing of Stones. I get the feeling that Holding is going to be at the club for years to come, a perfectly respectable performance. 7

Gibbs: said it before and will say it again, we are fortunate to have such solid back up for this position, an OK game, still the occasional mistake but equally there is still the occasional flash of quality. 7

Niles: it’s just good ol Niles from the hood now, lol, the young man had a fine game, a few understandable defensive wobbles but outstanding in his distribution: 7

Oxlaide-Beckenbauer: woo, haven’t seen him play the Ramsey role before and he was impressive, far more impressive than I expected and that in a nut shell is how and why I award my MOTM, Alex was spraying the ball around like the distant image I have of the great German, and calmly dealing with fires to boot. 9

Adelaide: Diabyesque, a few noticed this yesterday, he has such a characteristically Diaby dribble and drag back, of course, as soon as we had noticed it the next thing we know is that he is on the floor clutching his leg. He didn’t shine as much as I hoped, I must admit but that is not to say that I don’t expect great things from him in the future, I do. 7

Walcott: I am not a Theo fan and his three goals have not changed my mind, to me he is on the Giroud side of the attack, poor close control, no assists but gets you goals, whereas I want more on the Ozil – Sanchez side: great close control, lots of assists and get you goals. The problem for me is that I know that Walcott remains the best option on the right so I am going to have to grin and bear it. 5

Perez: I am a huge Perez fan; he is on the Ozil-Sanchez side of things, he gets assists, scores goals and has good close control, I thought he was outstanding yesterday and would have given a 10 if it weren’t for him missing his one on one with the keeper. 9

Welbeck: I may be a Perez fan but I have a man crush on Danny, I have said it before and I will say it again he is going to be the best attacker in the EPL. A front line of Welbeck, Sanchez and Walcott is going to be something awesome. Welbeck has everything we need from a player coming in from the left or even swapping with Sanchez, this is going to get really exciting. 9

Written by LB 

and some ‘feelings’ from mickydidit89 …………………….

2nd XI’s (more or less) from Southampton and Arsenal took to the pitch on the South Coast for an important  fixture in the Worlds’ finest knock out tournament.

Quite a few Arsenal players staked their claims to never again be considered 2nd XI’ers.

Here’s one thought I had about our players who featured yesterday:

Regular 1st Teamers: Bell, Gibbs, Mustafi

Outstanding performers: The Rest.

Very, very nice situation indeed. It would be very tempting for me to dwell on the front three who were all sensational, however, it was the Maitland-Niles Oxlade-Chamberlain Reine-Adelaide midfield trio that really surprised me (although a mention in dispatches for Holding).

When I saw the team sheet I was overjoyed by the attack but certainly felt the midfield was simply too many rotations. Wow, how wrong was I. They were outstanding.

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As I am someone who always blames the chap at the top when things go wrong, I don’t remember me ever bowing quite so low to Arsene as I did post match. It was an outstanding performance from the manager.

This morning I fancy Arsene has a massive headache, and it concerns team selection for the upcoming two PL games. Welbeck, Perez and Walcott have demanded selection and really, they are contesting two slots alongside Sanchez.

For me though, the biggest question mark is over The Ox. Has he done enough to start alongside Coquelin? I think so.

Happy Sunday Gooners from Admin 🙂


Arsenal have the Best Fans?

January 19, 2017

Only 13k at S’ton last night. What has happened to the Magic of the Cup?

If we draw at S’ton how many would go to the replay at the Emirates? My guess is another full house.

Our average gate through 2016 in the PL was 59,444 which is 99.4%  capacity.  Slightly lower for Cup games.

The police numbers are a little lower because there are some season ticket reprobates who do not attend all games yet the club maintain that as the ticket is sold, it is an attendance.

Sadly, some of those fans are not supporters!

Why are Arsenal so popular? What do you think?

Written (in haste) by Big Raddy

 


Coquelin’s Punishment. No trip to Hull.

March 8, 2016

Let’s be honest, the home leg was dreary. How can this evening  be an improvement?

Simple. Goals. As Didit continually harps on about, goals are what we pay for. I love a crunching tackle, even better a little outrageous skill (aka Mesut), a towering defensive header or a sprint down the wings but let’s face it, a 0-0 draw rarely excites. It is goals which get us out of our seats.

Awful Music Alert. Turn off Speakers before Watching

There have been some fine 0-0, I recall at cracker at WHL a few seasons ago. Thinking of which I saw this and giggled – hopefully you will too.

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Mr Bruce, he of the badly squashed face, you know the mush, the one that looks as though he has run full-face into a wall, Come on, you know, the chap who resembles an overweight pug dog. Well, Mr Bruce has once again stated that he will rotate his squad. He did so at The Emirates and came away with an unwanted result. With the PL a priority Bruce will not want a home game against Watford on Sunday – or will he? It must be a financial boon.

The FA Cup has to be a priority for Mr Wenger. We are doomed in the CL and the PL title remains open; the chance to make FAC history must be alluring. 3 on the spin would satisfy even Herb’s Army!

So, we will play a few reserves and chaps who need games to return to form. Giroud will start alongside Walcott. Campbell too.

I expect to see Chambers at RB which forces Mr Wenger to play his first choice, fit, CB’s – BFG and Paul Easter. Gibbs to continue at LB after a fine game on Saturday.

Team:

Ospina

Chambers   BFG   Easter   Gibbs

Elneny   Flamini   Iwobi

Campbell    Giroud    Walcott

A strong bench in case of our lads being silly.

Hull played well at the Em’s and they are not going to be easy opponents tonight – they never are. Two decent CB’s backed up by a fine GK and a battling midfield, they are hard to break down. If Hull score first it could be a long night.

BTW have you ever been to Hull? If not, keep it that way. If, like me, you have visited this outpost of civilisation you will know that the game is best watched from the comfort of your own home or a pub.

And remember, the match kicks off at 19.00. Can you recall a match ever kicking off at 19.00? Anyone know why?

Another big game for Arsenal. A home tie against Watford beckons; win that and we are into the Semi’s.

Glory and Silverware awaits

COYRRG


Bore draw : And a trip to Hull beckons

February 21, 2016

The pre match media around this round of FA Cup fixtures has focused much on the congestion caused by this pesky competition. City are rightly annoyed that they will be playing tomorrow with a Champions League trip to Kiev on Wednesday. At least we got the early kick off and at home in our tie and haven’t got to worry about flying anywhere this week.

Bruce was quoted as saying he thinks FA Cup replays should be scrapped and Arsene said he preferred to preserve the current format. If Bruce didn’t want a replay he had a strange way of showing it putting his second string out to defend in two solid banks. Even with three days to recover before Barca Arsene also made 9 changes, Arsene had no choice but to keep BFG and Koscielny in the line up. Another chance for Theo to show what he can do at centre forward, another welcome to England for Elneny and another game for Iwobi to make an impression this time from a more central role.

In the early stages we managed to create a few chances, bit of slick interplay around the box leading to a variety of shooting opportunities, unfortunately the angles were generally tight and the keeper was giving a traditional Emirates performance thwarting anything sent his way.

In truth I felt we started to run out of ideas towards the end of the half, I don’t think we were as fluid as we could have been given our starting attacking three. They have all played centre forward at various times in their career and they have also been wide men. For me they all stuck to their starting roles far too much and what interchange of position there was did not feel instinctive.

We did have some good moments again in the second half, the closest we came to scoring were Campbell’s free kick, and Welbeck’s curling drive. Unfortunately Hull’s keeper was equal to both.

Ox, Ollie and Alexis were thrown on but to no avail and Hull held out for a 0-0 draw and a replay that their manager definitely did not want.

For me Elneny stood out, I felt he was constantly available for the ball and generally used it well. We saw glimpses from Welbeck that reminded us of the talents he possesses, Iwobi continues to improve. There was not much new learned from anywhere else on the pitch in my opinion, we know these players.

So Hull are added to the schedule for a midweek and hopefully we still have plenty of available players to rotate in.

Written by GoonerInExile