Sunday, December 10, 2023

The morning after + an FA Cup special Arsecast 317


Good morning from the second most uncomfortable bed I’ve ever slept in, and from a very warm London. It’s the morning after the book launch and it was fantastic to see so many of you there. Your appreciation for what we do on the site is great, but coming along and buying a book to support that goes a long way to help us continue doing it.

I do have to say thanks to Martin, Louise and all the staff at The Tollington for everything they did to help organise, and of course to Mrs Blogs and the Mugsmasher for their hard work – along with Tony, Nic, Shelley and of course my bearded co-author Andrew Allen.

The book itself really does look fantastic, and if you couldn’t make it last night we’ll be there this evening again if you fancy popping down for a beer and chat. There are going to be signed copies in The Tollington over the weekend and beyond too, so all your Arsenal unbeaten season book needs can be solved there.

Just to reiterate, the book will be available online from next week when I get back to Dublin, and the eBook will be released then too. Anyway, it was a fun evening, lots of Gooners in the one place, having a few drinks, in the build-up to the cup final, with everyone in good spirits, you really can’t get much better than that.

Obviously as yesterday was something of mad day, I didn’t see a great deal of what was going on in terms of the rest of it. A cursory glance this morning sees Mikel Arteta talking about what the final means, saying:

When you win a trophy it will look very different for us. With the history we have in the last eight or nine years without any trophies at all obviously it can be a great turning point. I think when you get to that line and you win, it creates a lot of confidence and builds something special. It will be something special between the players, the fans, the staff.

He also hit out at Jose Mourinho for his comments earlier this season:

I don’t like it when someone criticises my team-mates, the staff, the manager, the club because I see what he does every day to look after this club. When they are right maybe you can accept, everybody makes mistakes. You can criticise the manager, whoever, but when it comes in a certain moment in a certain way I don’t like it.

You know what? I like that he doesn’t like it, because that’s the way it should be. Some people might say it’s a negative to focus on a negative – and let’s face it, Mourinho is about as negative a negative as there is – but sometimes you need that too, and every little extra bit of motivation for this weekend is very welcome.

Now though, I’m going to get straight on with this week’s Arsecast because trying to work on this bed is genuinely painful and I’m liable to do myself more damage unless I wrap things up.

As it’s cup final week, I spoke to Amy Lawrence, Philippe Auclair, James from Gunnerblog and Goonerholic about their FA Cup memories and asked them the big goalkeeping question about tomorrow’s team. I also chat to Dara O’Briain who talks about the cup and the AFC Foundation ball last week that he hosted (including a rather hilarious Emiliano Viviano tale). And it all wraps up with three time FA Cup winner Martin Keown. We chat about the build-up to the final as a player, what it’s like preparing for the game, and loads more.

Martin was speaking ahead of this weekend’s match at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. Fans heading to Wembley this weekend can download the official Wembley app, created by lead Wembley Stadium partner EE. Visit

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly click here32mb MP3.

The Arsecast is also available on our SoundCloud channel, where you can leave comments and such, as well as via the SoundCloud app for iPhone and Android. You can now also find it on the Stitcher podcasting app for iOS and Android. Or, you can listen without leaving this page by using the player below.

Right, that’s that. Maybe see some of you later at The Tollington or over the weekend. There’ll be a full FA Cup final preview tomorrow morning too … *gulp* … it’s very real now.

But would you swap it for anything else? You’d be mad if you would. Up the Arsenal.

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