This is a blog post from a fellow Gunners supporter and Arsenal commentary expert Toni Okike. Follow him @Enigma 106
How to start…….
Ice cold Guinness…check, cigarettes…..I don’t smoke, food….no appetite, BlackBerry battery….full.
Arsenal had the chance to end their barren run without a trophy after 6 years of asking.
There was so much talk about the newly found desire and hunger within the squad to win together. The performances of the players this season has shown that they are really one tight impregnable unit.
AW the Alchemist assembled 11 players that he felt were up to the challenge of bring the first trophy to our cobweb stricken cabinet.
The man between the sticks has been outstanding from the day he won his place in the squad to his last game against that rugby outfit. He picked the wrong game to have his worst outing as an Arsenal goalie. The Wembley showpiece itself.
The fullbacks were very agile and coordinated. They balanced their attacking play and defensive positioning well.
The centre backs have played together for a very long while so they had built a strong telepathy with each other.
The holding midfielders were in 2 different realms yesterday. The younger European was faultless, tenacious, industrious and imperious in midfield while the older African showed signs of fatigue.
The attacking midfielder behind the front three was ubiquitous and showed his class when he was called upon.
The wingers were as sleek as grease. They created lots of scoring chances even though one of the wingers was practicing target practice.
The lone striker scored a spectacular goal but got crocked in the process.
The lineup I predicted in yesterday’s post had a 90.9% match with the team that played yesterday. The only significant change was the introduction of TR7 instead of B52. TR7 played behind the attacking triumvirate, while Nasri was deployed on the right hand side.
Birmingham kicked off the 2011 Carling Spoon final on a sunny evening at the magnificent 90,000 seater Wembley stadium.
Nasri was blocked off when he was sent through but the ref had other ideas. The major talking point of the first half came minutes after Nasri’s infringement. Birmingham has a striker that’s as tall as Jack’s beanstalk. He slipped in a nice through ball for that old chap that got a ban for all eternity when he stamped Sagna. Bowyer was hacked down by Szczesny in the box. If it was our card happy penalty giving ref Phil Dowd, Szszsz would have joined the list of Arsenal keepers that got sent off in a final match. Manuel Almunia’s first task would’ve been to stand on the line for a spot kick.
To my surprise and the 90,000 seated in Wembley, the ref sounded his whistle for an offside. Replays showed that the old bloke was onside. So much for the consistency of referees and their assistants.
rVp tried his luck from a tight angle but his shot flew over. With the kind of goal scoring form rVp is in, he’ll probably try a shot from the centre circle if given half a chance.
The goal scoring opportunity fell to AA23 but his shot was blocked by Foster. This was the 1st of a million saves Foster made in the game. He was definitely the MoTM for the Blues.
Nasri showed some deft touches on the right hand side then tried his luck with a shot from an acute angle. It went high and wide though. With such exquisite play, the ball deserved to be at the back of the net.
Gunner reject Seb Larsson swung one in with the beanpole Zigic his intended target but Szszsz was up to the challenge.
In the first 20 minutes or so, Birmingham absorbed our pressure and played wit confidence. They got the lead when Roger Johnson headed a corner goalwards. Szczesny came out for the ball but he was beaten to it by that beanpole Zigic.
Arsenal 0 Birmingham 1: the red coloured section of Wembley quiet.
We responded well to launch an attack that almost led to a goal. Sagna whipped in a cross that was headed by rVp. The ball missed by a lick of paint.
Our World would have gotten into topsy-turvy when Birmingham had the chance to go 2 up. Zigic’s poor shot ensured that the scores stayed “respectable”.
Our equalizer came in grand style. Jack Wilshere cracked the bar with a sumptuous volley with Foster well beaten. AA23 picked up the ball and made space for a teasing cross from the right which rVp expertly hooked into the far corner of the net. You tend to wonder if our flying Dutch man would ever stop scoring goals. Everything he touches in the opposition box turns to gold…….goals. Our very own Midas
Nasri had a shot that was saved by the usually eccentric Ben Foster.
At half time, we were tied at 1-1.
rVp ran to the touchline to create a delightful through ball to Sagna. The Frenchie looked up once and saw TR7 lurking around the corner. Sagna drilled a perfectly weighted ball to TR7 but he lashed at the ball with low accuracy. A good chance gone begging.
Nasri released a rifle of a shot at Foster’s goal. At least he used his boot to unleash the shot unlike Cashley Cuntly Cole who brought his rifle to Chelsea’s training camp and shot at an intern working there.
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We were playing end to end stuff. Birmingham employed traditional route 1 tactics with Zigic as the sole beneficiary. Gunner reject Seb Larsson launched a long ball into our danger zone but Kosclielny headed it out for a corner
One Chilean bloke made mince meat of Song on the right hand side but his cross was easy pickings for Szszsz
TR7 fired a shot at some bloke. It made him go flat on his blue arse.
At some point, it became obvious that rVp was struggling with an injury so he was substituted for our Carling Spoon president B52
Nasri sent in a free kick from the right hand side. Song headed wide.
Nasri had 2 more good efforts that were saved by Foster. B52 created an opening for himself on the left hand side but Foster was equal to that task. With TR7 rushing in for a rebound, Foster quickly smothered the ball on the second attempt.
Chamakh came on for AA23. He worked hard to win the ball on the left hand side that sent a low cross into the 6-yard box, TR7 wanted to attempt to attempt a flick but Foster quickly charged the ball.
Nasri had another attempt on goal but Foster was a very thick thorn in the gunner rosy bush.
TR7 had a chance to shoot but he chose to feed Chamakh. Chamakh had no idea of the pass so it turned out to be a wasted opportunity. Any other advanced midfield player in that position would’ve taken a shot but TR7 went for a pass. I really miss the Little Mozart of Borussia Dortmund. The player usually shoots 4 balls when he receives 5 passes. The present day Rosicky will pass again 4 times if he receives 5 passes, the only shot will be way off target.
In the 89th minute, the unthinkable happened. Describing such an event can give one nightmares.
I’ll put it the way BBC Sport analyzed it.
“What a mess, but Birmingham won’t care. There is no danger when Nikola Zigic flicks on Ben Foster’s hoisted free-kick but Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny get in a muddle and the Gunners keeper can only push it into the path of Obafemi Martins, who gratefully slots home and celebrates with a trademark somersault”
I’m a very big fan of Wojciech Szczesny. I even follow him on Twitter @53Szczesny53. As good as his footballing ability may be, Szszsz doesn’t communicate with his defenders some times. I can remember a game that Koscielny cleared the ball from his hands. All he had to do was shout,”Get the fuck off Kos, I’ve gat this” and we would have been playing extra time. At the rate at which we attacked Birmingham, a goal was imminent but Szszsz gave them the Carling Spoon trophy with that error but as a young goalie, I believe he’ll learn from this horrible experience.
In football, you win games with a moment of sheer magic or a moment of utter madness. Birmingham didn’t win the Carling Spoon, Arsenal lost it.
Szszsz (5.0) put up his worst Arsenal performance ever. He missed out on the 1st goal and played a major role in the second. Sagna (6.6) worked his socks off on the right hand side. Clichy (6.6) did the same on the left. Djourou (6.7) spent much time on air contending with Zigic. Koscielny (5.3) should have left the ball for his goalie. The outcome might have been different. Wilshere (8.5) was having a stormer in midfield. The bar denied him a great goal. Song (6.2) was really tired. It’s high time he takes a week or two off. TR7 (6.6) threatened a bit and showed good movement. Nasri (7.0) put up a target practice challenge with Foster. AA23 (7.3) gave an assist. I feel that it was a wrong move removing him from the pitch. We lost our “mojo” after that. rVp (7.8) added another collector’s item to his never ending list of amazing rVp goals. B52 (6.4) had only 1 shot that was saved. Chamakh (6.3) didn’t do to much.
I wrote that you can never get addicted to smoking unless you’ve tasted your first cigarette.
These players were given Carling Spoon weed. You can’t really get addicted to that isch. At least Szczesny and Koscielny showed us that when you smoke weed, you get high beyond your understanding even if you feel you’re in control. Kos and Szszsz thought they were in control.
So we’re still trophuckingless.
Thanks a lot Ben.
I’m sure you’ll concede 10 goals in your next outing.
Time to continue with my ice cold Guinness.
Besides its my time, its Guinness time.
This article was cross-posted from http://goonerdaily.wordpress.com