[Football Talk] 2014 FA Cup: Finally!

Finally! That must’ve been what was on every Gooners mind on Saturday (or early Sunday if you’re in my timezone.) After nine painfull trophyless years, Arsenal won their 11th FA Cup title.

image

I was restless during the few days before the final. I have lots of faith on the team, but, with our track records in the past few years, I knew that it won’t be easy. And that was what happened. During the first 13 minutes of the game, when we were 2-0 down, my heart sunk. I started to imagine the worst case scenario. Arsenal seemed to always get caught in a tangled web of misfortune on important games.
A tiny bit of hope emerged after Santi Cazorla’s amazing free kick. But it stil wasn’t enough to calm my nerves. The lads were amazingly patient in building their attacks. But Hull City was also smart enough to know how to block them.
When Laurent Koscielny somehow managed to turn around and get the ball in around the 70th minutes mark, the hope grew. “We can make it,” I said to myself.
Yaya Sanogo made me nervous again. My personal opinion of him is that he needs more experience. He  To me, he looked a bit awkward on the pitch and couldn’t really control the ball (It’s only my personal opinion.) Until Aaron came along with that beautiful winning goal. I felt assured that we could do it, although I knew that the danger isn’t over yet. That moment when Per fell and Fabianski moved forward? It almost got my heart leaped out of my throat!
When the final whistle was heard, I’m sure all Gooners felt the same, a wave of relieve and happiness washed over me. I was almost brought to tears to see the Boss smilling. It’s been a while since the last time he smiles so brightly.

To me, this victory is the beginning of something bigger, the beginning of a comeback. It made me believe even more that Arsenal still got what it takes to be a big team that competes for big titles. It put an end to our nine years of agony. Plus it’s an amazing birthday present 😀

Will it put to rest all of that bad and hideous headlines that the press often targeted Arsenal with? Maybe, but maybe not. The boss said that with this victory, we forced them to be more creative and that he’s sure they will be. Nicely said, Boss!
Well, I hope that this FA Cup title will mark the comeback of a stronger and better Arsenal. May this be only the beginning.
Cheers to all Gooners!

image

Advertisements

Arsenal: This Season So Far

Let’s talk about football!

It’s been quite a while since the last time I talk about football. Half of the season already gone, and Arsenal is… to me they’re still quite frustrating. It’s love and hate about their performances so far this season.

First, let’s talk about Arsenal’s newest ammo additions: Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud. I think they are the dynamic or fantastic trio. So far they have been the soul of Arsenal in every performance.

Image

The Dynamic Trio: Giroud – Podolski – Cazorla
Picture copied from Lukas Podolski Facebook Page

Lukas Podolski is a strong player who is highly skillful both in offense and defense. If I’m not mistaken, he has saved two goal scoring opportunities when Szczesny’s already in a helpless position. Remember the last match against Liverpool at the Emirates? Arsenal could’ve lost big time! He’s also a strong player with deadly strikes. Several of his goals this season came from powerful strikes and free kicks.

Olivier Giroud… What can I say about him? He’s a late bloomer, I guess. He started the season not so good, but he’s been awesome this past few weeks. 5 goals in 3 games isn’t something you can ignore about him. Indeed, he’s good in winning balls in the air. Most of his goals came from a header. But sometimes he’s a bit passive. In several games, I think he’s not active enough in creating chances or breaking through the opponents defense. He just wait upfront for someone to pass him the ball. When he did play a more active roll, man, he is a serious threat. I guess he still needs to be a little bit more consistent in his performance. So far so good, though.

Image

Olivier Giroud’s Deadly Header
Picture copied from Arsenal Official Facebook Page

Now, talking about Santi Cazorla. As what I’ve heard from one of the commentators tonight, he’s been magical. I totally agree with that. Ever since day one, on his debut against Southampton at the opening game, he has shown everyone that he’s a fantastic player. He has the ability to create chances, to provide great passing and strike some beautiful goals. Although he hasn’t score that much this season, but to me he’s the only player who never lets me down. He’s a keeper! (I don’t mean goal keeper, obviously)

Oh, there’s one new addition in the left back, Nacho Monreal. At his debut tonight he’s pretty good, I would say. But need more time to see the best or worst in him. On season’s end, maybe?

Next, let’s talk about the table so far. We’re in 6, which is not so good, although the point difference between the 3rd to the 7th isn’t that much. Being in 6 is enough to make all Gooners restless. “Can we make it to the Champions League next season?” is in every Gooners’ mind right now. Nerve wrecking, totally nerve wrecking. Seeing how inconsistent Arsenal has been this season (every season, actually) is pretty much planting a bit of fear in my heart. Last season, Arsenal played well in every first half but crumbles in the 2nd half. This season, they’re so frustrating in the first half, but glorious and amazing in the 2nd half. The problem is, giving awesome 2nd half performance is not enough to secure 3 points, not always enough. In every game, I’m like holding on to dear life. When Arsenal score, I desperately hoping they won’t conceive any. When the opponent scores, I desperately hoping for Arsenal to bounce back. When the game ended up with a draw, I feel disappointed that Arsenal could’ve done better.

There were times when I feel a bit of… I don’t know… maybe anger towards the boss. At times I feel he could’ve chosen other players to start or could’ve substitute someone with another but he didn’t. That’s frustrating too. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s how I feel. However, I do still believe that he’s an amazing manager and wouldn’t trade him with anyone in the world… just yet.

Ah, it’s never easy to be a Gooner.

What about some new bright star this season?

I would say that the first one is Kieran Gibb. He’s young, he’s talented, got pace, good defending skill etc..etc.. He totally deserves his spot in the main team. And then, of course there’s the return of Jack Wilshere. Dear Jackie has been awesome ever since his comeback a couple of months ago. He can opened up the opponent’s tight defensive play and create lots of chances. He’s always so active and aggressive and livens up the game.

Theo..Theo..Theo Walcott. He has gone from good to great to amazing! It’s not been a pleasant several months with his contract extension postponement and stuff, because Gooners are of course traumatized from loosing important star players 2 seasons in a row. But during those suffocating times, he has given Arsenal the prove that he can be a player worth keeping and worth a raise for. 100,000 a week is the highest paycheck ever to be given to an Arsenal player. Theo wants it, Theo gets it. But everyone’s happy, that’s for sure.

Image

Theo Walcott – TH14
Picture copied from Arsenal Official Facebook Page

One player who I think deserves more chance is Carl Jenkinson. When Baccary Sagna was absent because of his injury last season, Carl has been an amazing replacement. He’s strong and work hard in the defense area. Too bad that the boss been constantly putting him on the bench this season. I’ve only seen him once at the FA Cup match against Brighton Hove Albion a couple of weeks ago. Would really love to see more of Carl.

Then, there’s a couple of players who’s not really a comfortable sight to see, in terms of their performance.

There’s Sagna. Yes, Sagna. He’s a superb player when he moves forward and giving passes and crosses to Theo and Santi, but back in the defense area he’s just not as superb. It’s my personal opinion, though.

And then, there’s someone Gooners been ranting about. Yes, it’s Santos. I have no idea what happened to him in recent games. Is it because of his last injury? Or is it because he hasn’t played much since his comeback from injury? Sorry to say, I think he has gone from average to worst. He did things he wasn’t supposed to do, but didn’t do things he really should do, I’ll just put it that way. He’s received plenty of harsh criticism from Gooners in his instagram account, which I happened to follow, especially due to his frequent post of food pictures and self pictures in restaurants. Hm… I have no say about that. I still believe that he could be a much better player, but only time will tell.

Image

Picture copied from Andre Santos Instagram account

The last thing I want to talk about is Arsenal after RvP era.

Why would I wanna talk about that? Well, just to make a point of something. In terms of Arsenal’s position in the table, yes, it’s no better than last season. But in terms of goal, we’re doing a lot better, I’d have to say. People said that Arsenal will lose their goal machine after last season’s top scorer left for Manchester. They were questioning the goal scoring ability of the Gunners post RvP. People, you are wrong… dang wrong. This season, there are several games where Arsenal win big. The 5-3 against Newcastle Utd, 7-5 against Reading, 5-1 against West Ham Utd (was it? I think so) has proven that Arsenal is actually doing so much better in terms of goal scoring productivity. And in addition to that, the goals Arsenal have scored didn’t only come from one name. Giroud, Podolski, Cazorla, Gibb, Wilshere, Walcott all have their name on the score board. That’s a relieve to me. Arsenal have overcome RvP’s departure with grace so far.

It will be one heck of a season if Arsenal manages to finish in top 3 just like last season. With a tight race to the very last second of the season, Arsenal had pull through in 2012. Can they do it again this season? Creating miracles for us, Gooners? Hell yeah, I sure hope so! Cos it would be a great feeling when I meet them in July at their Summer Tour to Indonesia (fingers crossed, I hope I can really go and meet them!) XD