I sort of watched the second half of yesterday’s FA Cup final in a bar yesterday evening. It will tell you the esteem in which I hold Jose Mourinho that I wanted Chelsea to win. I didn’t just want them to win, I really wanted them to win because I knew this would make him sad.
I’m not saying I’m some kind of long-distance spiritual succubus, gaining happiness from his unhappiness, but I am happy when he’s not. That desire overrides all other things, but there’s a bonus in that his dismay is shared by Ashley Young who, as far as I could see, spent most of the game flying through the air like an ostrich who absolutely refuses to countenance the idea that he’s a bird that can’t fly.
‘What kind of a shit bird is flightless?’, he thinks before launching himself with all his might into the air, falling flat but remaining determined to try it again and again and again. His misery is compounded by a proper bird, from way up high in the sky, taking aim and delivering a payload of rancid guano straight into his mouth.
Then there was Alexis Sanchez standing at the end looking confused about what had just happened. I’m not unfavourably disposed to him despite his move to Man Utd, but there was something enjoyable about the look on his face as he went through his mental checklist.
It’s a final? Yes.
It’s Wembley? Yes.
I am supposed to score and win. What is going on?
It must also have been confusing for Sanchez to see former teammate Olivier Giroud cavorting with joy having changed colours but still winning the cup. I was happy for him even if it really is still a bit odd seeing him wearing a Chelsea kit. It just doesn’t suit him. If he ambled onto the pitch wearing a hockey mask and some armour I think it’d look better than that shirt.
Anyway, the point is that Mourinho is sad. Let’s not get too far away from that.
Not much going on from an Arsenal point of view. Despite stories saying we’re going to interview Thierry Henry about the manager’s job, I don’t believe we are. Is there some link between the fact Darren Dein is still Henry’s agent, and the lack of relationship between the Deins in general and Ivan Gazidis, now the man with the power at the club? Would it be stirring things up to leak stories about Henry and Arsenal to the press knowing that the Arteta appointment is one which many have reservations about so chucking the name of a club legend into the mix just makes life a bit more difficult for him?
Who knows? Not me anyway. I am just speculating. Perhaps we are going to interview him and make a last minute decision not to give the job to bloke we’ve apparently being talking to for weeks and weeks and who was house hunting in London this week. Perhaps.
Meanwhile, Santi Cazola’s contract with Arsenal expires at the end of June, and he’s going to spend pre-season with his former club Villarreal. He spent a large chunk of his career there, and he’ll have the opportunity to train and hopefully get fit enough to play football again.
It’s such a shame that his career with us ended the way it did. The injury and subsequent infection he suffered was horrendous, Arsene Wenger called it the worst he’d known, and when you consider how long he’s been in management and some of the injuries he’s seen, that’s really saying something.
Although he returned to training towards the end of the season it was considered too risky to play him, so there was no final farewell from the pitch to the stands, for fans to say goodbye. That is a bit sad, but also that’s the way football goes sometimes. The nice guys don’t always get what they deserve and there’s no question Cazorla is one of the them, as well as being a brilliant footballer.
I’m sure everyone will have their own favourite memories of him. The FA Cup final free kick was really something, of course, and I remember him scoring a header in one game then laughing as if to say ‘Teeny-tiny Me! A Header!’. I think one that sums him up as a player though is a home game when he was about to take a corner with his right foot, he got a signal from someone (Koscielny, I think), and simply switched and took it with his left.
His ability with both feet was astonishing. I recall him taking a free kick with his left – which is ostensibly his weaker foot – and almost scoring. Hopefully he can make his way back and the least he deserves is a couple of seasons playing regularly and reminding everyone what a fantastic player he is.
Finally, a very interesting extract from an upcoming Per Mertesacker book, illustrative of what kind of mindset he will try and instill as Academy Manager.
Right, back tomorrow, in the meantime have a great Sunday.