I missed the first half an hour of last night’s game, scurrying back from football of my own to catch up via Tom’s live blogging. At half-time and 0-0, with things not quite clicking I have to admit I was a bit nervy. When we’d got to the hour mark without scoring I was doing my utmost to quash my inner DoomLord.
‘How do you write a blog after going out of the Carling Cup to Ipswich?’
‘Shut up, shut up, can’t hear you. lalalalalala. *fingers in brain ears*
Having already made one change due to Sagna’s injury in the first half the boss only had two left. Walcott and Nasri on, now. Come on Arsene. It’s time. Look, Arshavin’s fallen over again and squirted the ball from under his arse directly to an Ipswich player. I feel for him, he’s trying, but it’s just not happening for him. Put him and us out of our misery. Come on.
Then Jack Wilshere sprayed a ball wide left where that well known winger, wide-man, touchline hugger and all-around wizard Nicklas Bendtner was hanging about. His first touch to bring it down was sublime, the between his own heels flick to wrong-foot the defender was very clever, he took one more touch across goal before curling it into the bottom corner. An outstanding goal and I’m glad for him that he got it. It was as smooth as his chest.
The relief was palpable. Kind of like when you feel unwell and you’re thinking ‘Do I need to puke? Nah, I don’t. Or maybe I do. Yeah, I probably do’, so you have a good old spew and immediately feel better. That’s what that goal was like. And there was barely time to wipe up the bits of carrot that missed the toilet bowl before we went 2-0 up. An Arshavin corner from our left was headed home emphatically by Laurent Koscielny who celebrated with a gesture that said ‘My belly is now free from vomit! Hurrah!!’
And it was. It was entirely liberated of bile and, indeed, sputum. There was still just the hint of nervousness however. An Ipswich goal would force extra-time so we needed another to make things safe. Denilson won the ball in midfield and played it wide to Cesc who drove at what was left of Ipswich’s defence. Pushing for a goal they were caught out like a common Andy Gray. Cesc gave it to Arshavin who took it on, cut inside and then played a lovely little reverse pass back into the path of the captain who finished with his left foot, between the keeper’s legs, to make it 3-0.
That was that, game over, and the Arsenal were heading to Wembley. I have to admit that despite my frurstration with Arshavin it was good to see him contribute in the end. He’s been playing so poorly but perhaps there’s just a bit of light at the end of the tunnel for him now. Two assists in the end might just spark him back into life and with the amount of football we have to play between now and the end of the season it can only be good for us if he remembers he’s a footballer.
Same goes for big Nick, that kind of goal is why I think he’s got something. If van Persie had scored it there’d be fan jizz everywhere. Credit where it’s due and both of them deserve some props for last night. That’s not meant to single them out over and above a good team performance in the second half but they cop a lot of flack, some of it deserved, sure, but when there’s some love needed too then I am quite happy to be the dispenser. Almost as if I had some kind of boat and on the boat there was a lot of love and I was captain of the boat of love.
Come aboard and get down!
This team is hungry for success. It meant a lot for the squad, for the team, and I must say they deserved to be rewarded because they have an outstanding attitude and spirit.
While Cesc said:
We have to congratulate Ipswich for what they’ve done in this competition because they made things really difficult for us. We knew patience was the key and we did it very well.
So, a Wembley final against either Birmingham or West Ham who play tonight. Having done Ipswich in slight revenge for 1978 wouldn’t it be nice to win it against West Ham for 1980? Maybe that’s just me holding 30 year grudges but there you go. I am, I will happily admit, a small, petty man when it comes to football.
Now we’ve got a few days of rest to recuperate before the Huddersfield game on Sunday. It looks as if Bacary Sagna is the only casualty from last night. He went to hospital feeling sick after a clash of heads with Wojscez©®. I don’t think he’d have played on Sunday anyway, so let’s hope he’s back in time for the Everton game next week.
All in all it feels good to have come through that. Cup finals are always fun (when you win) so it’ll be down to the players in a few weeks to make sure that happens. In the meantime we can enjoy the fact we’re there and, you never know, have a day without moaning about something.
Don’t forget the video page if you want to relive the fun bits from last night.
Up the Arse!