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October 2016
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Cup Final preview: This is the memorial day of Ted Drake, who scored 7 against Villa in one game.

By Tony Attwood (our man who will, traffic willing, soon be on the spot).

30 May 1995: The passing of Ted Drake – the man who in one season scored 42 league goals in 41 games and who once scored seven goals in one league game.

In 1934/35 Ted Drake scored 42 league goals in 41 league games, four times getting four in one game.   Including the FA Cup and the Charity Shield, Ted scored 44 goals in that season breaking Jack Lambert’s record.  That record still stands.

It is fitting that on this day, commemorating his passing, we are playing the victims of his onslaught, as we can also think to  Ted Drake Day – 14 December 1935 – when he scored seven against Aston Villa in a league match.  It is the only time it has ever been done in a top flight match in England, and is a record likely to stand forever.

We should, I feel, never cease to remember Ted Drake.

And so on to today.  Arsène Wenger… oh what will he do today?

Will he select the team of regulars he has used through the latter part of the season, or go for change?  He has already announced that he is challenging the players who won’t start to remember Jack Wilshere last year.  He didn’t start but he created Ramsey’s goal.

“Most of the time the heroes are the people who come on in an FA Cup final – they make the difference.   I have some big selection decisions to make. Even to leave some top internationals out of the squad shows that we have a very big squad.”

It all makes such a change from the years of big matches with half the squad hospitalised because of some thug kicking them to bits. Danny Welbeck is out and will also possibly miss England’s matches against the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia.   With a bit of sanity, the whole of Europe might miss the World Cup – but perhaps that is going too far.  The FA is too desperate for money from whatever source, so we’ll be in the same boat.  But at least people who go to internationals now can’t have any doubt that they are helping to fund fraud and racketeering.

Meanwhile in supporter news, Aston Villa fans have protested against the FA-fifa and Wembley’s decision to stop them from unfurling a huge flag at the Cup final, because it contains a reference to Arsenal.

Over 200 supporters had contributed £3,000 for the giant flag, which makes reference to the Sex Pistols’ 1977 album cover. This was a big time for Villa – in 1975 they won the Second Division and in 1977 the League Cup – so they like to remember 77.

The authors of the Villainous petition said: “While there’s a slight edge of humour there, it’s not disrespectful in the slightest to Arsenal fans, as the intention behind the flag was to announce to the world with some bravado that Villa are back!  Football fans have now become nothing more than the controlled atmosphere decoration to help sell the TV product.”

I think we have all agree with that.

The Gooner said: “We are flattered that the Villa fans consider us worthy of being included on their banner and see absolutely no reason why Arsenal fans should consider it anything other than what it is, a well designed idea with no intention to cause any offence or incite bad feeling between the fans.   In the true spirit of football, we urge the FA to see sense and look forward to the Villa fans unveiling their banner at the final.”

Good for them.

The only problem is that we all know that people what own stuff tend to get a bit iffy about stuff, and Wembley getting anxious is typical of the FA-Fifa attitude.

Hopefully we won’t be making such an error of judgement with the Untold Banner at the Emirates; we know there are sensitivities and so did the logical thing.  We had the vote, and then approached the club to get permission.  All before getting the banner made.  Seems a logical process.

So where are we in all this?

We are the most successful club ever in the history of the FA Cup with this being our 19th appearance in the final.  Arsene Wenger is also the record holder for FA Cup final appearances.  A win will also make us the club with the most wins of the FA Cup.  At the moment we have the same number of wins as Man U: eleven, but because of today have reached one more final.

George Ramsay won the FA Cup in 1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, and 1920, but those early years were (as shown in today’s piece on the Arsenal History Society website) utterly chaotic, with whole rounds being virtually wiped out by clubs being kicked out for professionalism, clubs refusing to play because of the travel distances and so on, clubs not turning up or turning up without eleven players…   But even despite Ramsay’s advantage of managing in such times, a win will give Mr Wenger six – an equal number.

I’m lucky enough to have a ticket, but sadly Blacksheep and Andrew didn’t get one.  So I’ll be going on my own, and since for me, personally, travelling to and from the game while chatting about life, society, history, football, everything, anything etc, is a major part of the fun, I found myself a bit miffed.

However I’ve found a solution.  I travel from the Midlands, so need to find a car park convenient for Wembley, which is not at all the same thing as finding one convenient for the Emirates.

But, my other big hobby besides football is dancing (modern jive and blues for the most part), and by chance everything has pulled together.  A drive to Uxbridge, parking just by the tube station, a tube line direct to Wembley Park, a cup final, great celebrations, a tube back to Uxbridge, a five minute walk to… a modern jive dance (yes they even dance in Uxbridge), and then another little walk back to the car and an arrival back in the midlands in the early hours.

I’d sooner be with my mates, since the other dancers won’t have a clue about the Cup Final, the FA-fifa alliance etc, but still, it’s a way of doing it.

Onto the game…

Danny Welbeck will miss the FA Cup final after failing to recover from a knee injury.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mathieu Debuchy (both hamstring) and captain Mikel Arteta (ankle) are in contention but realistically I think Alex on the beach is the most likely option.

Shay Given is fit for Aston Villa’s first Cup final in 150 years after recovering from a groin injury.  [There might have been an extra zero in that last number.]

Aly Cissokho (groin), Kieran Richardson (calf) and Jores Okore (knee) have also trained but Ciaran Clark (knee) is out.

This is our fifth trip to Wembley in the last 14 months – two semis, two finals and a charity shield.   We’ve won (rather obviously) all four thus far.  A win today will give us another bash at the Charity Shield.

Los Factoidos…

  • We’ve played them ten times in the FA Cup, winning seven but never before in a Cup Final.   There is a record of 30 of our most memorable games against Villa on the Arsenal History Site.
  • This is our 19th final – an all time record.
  • The last time we met them in the FA Cup was in the 4th round in 2012,.  We were two down!!!! And then won 3-2 at Stadium Wenger.
  • Aston Villa have not beaten us in the Cup for over 40 years – their last shot last FA Cup win against Arsenal was in the fourth round in 1974, when they won in a replay 2-0.
  • In league and cup Aston Villa have won only one of the last nine games between us.  That was the notorious win on the first day of the season on 17 August 2013 when we witnessed one of the most bizarre displays of refereeing of all time.   After that match Arsenal won eight of the next nine and went top of the league.
  • We have won 30 of the last 33 games between the two teams.
  • Villa’s style in the cup is to draw at half time and win at full time.  Ours against them is to win at half time and full time (done that in five of the last seven).

And the biggie…

We have won our last four FA Cup finals, and seven of the last eight. We have once before won two FA Cups in a row – 2002 and 2003.  Although we missed 2004 because of other things on our mind, in 2005 we were back to do it again. There are details today on the Arsenal History Site.

The team…

Szczsczcsczcsczccsczcsczcscz (makes a change from Oooooospina)

Bellerin Mert Kos Monreal

Coquelin Cazorla

Ramsey Ozil Sanchez



11 comments to Cup Final preview: This is the memorial day of Ted Drake, who scored 7 against Villa in one game.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Have a great day , Tony , as hopefully will all true Arsenal fans.
    To further celebrate Drake’s achievement , we should hand them six of the best , or at the very least , half a dozen of the other !
    A 3-0 nil win will do for me . Come on guys , give us the icing on the cake !
    Up the Gunners !

  • Micheal Ram

    Shay Given? What? I thought he would be a grandfather by now…

  • TailGunner

    I think you’re being unfair to the FA on this occasion. Greg Dyke has said he wants England to boycott the 2018 tournament, but needs support from the rest of EUEFA as it’s no good going it alone.

  • para

    Would be nice for the team to get 7 goals, would be a good acknowledgement of Ted Drake.

  • Gord

    Welcome to the 2015 Emirates FA Cup Final (or all FAs Cup Day)

    I guess we have 3.75 hours to go. The Arsenal twitter feed hasn’t yet released the starting lineups and beach. In the news, the league is not yet 6 days over, and apparently Arsenal have already signed 40 new players. Nothing at, so this must be someone has an advance copy of FIFA-16 and it is all imaginary. Someone in Scotland seems to think Aston Villa is going to win the Scottish Cup. The USA is going to lead the way in getting rid of nork nukes and FIFA kooks. Apparently Gareth Bale is wishing us best of luck.

    Scottish Cup final – Falkirk vs Inverness Caledonian Thistle – Today, 3pm

    Premiership side Inverness Caledonian Thistle take on Championship club Falkirk in an unfamiliar looking final.

    Copa del Rey – Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao – Today, 8.30pm

    Lionel Messi and co have completed the first part of the treble by winning La Liga. This is the second before the Champions League final next weekend. They take on a Bilbao team that has not won the competition since 1984 and whom Barcelona beat in the final in 2012.

    German Cup – Borussia Dortmund vs Wolfsburg – Today, 7pm

    Klopp versus Lord Bendtner. Go Klopp!

    Taca de Portugal – Sporting Lisbon vs Braga – Sunday, 5.15pm

    The final domestic cup final of the weekend takes place in Portugal. The sides finished the season in third and fourth place, however Sporting had 18 more points. For that reason and the fact they beat Braga twice in the league during the season, Sporting Lisbon are well fancied.

    FA U17 Ladies Cup Final – Arsenal vs Aston Villa – Sunday 12pm

    Sorry, I don’t know who manages the U17 Ladies, but they are off to Stratford Town FC (also home field for Birmingham Ladies), Stratford-upon-Avon to try and do the double on Aston Villa. Admission is free, and they would love to have some fans cheering them on. The DCS Stadium has a capacity of 1400. There is apparently another Ladies game on the same field at 3pm (Birmingham versus Sunderland, Womens Superleague Development Cup). I don’t see anything about Jive dancing after the games.

    COYG! and COYYLG!

    Spuds apparently had 19,000 people in a stadium that seats 80,000 to play Malaysia the other day. I don’t know the score. Off to Sydney, where they played to a full (70,000) stadium. Kane scored again. ManC apparently beat Toronto the other day, but not by the 20-0 score I predicted. BBC is pissed, Canada beat England in warmup to Women World Cup.

    Spuds news, might as well end with a CFC item:

    > Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas was fined £1,000 and given six points on his licence for failing to identify the driver of his Aston Martin when it was stopped by police.

    Sorry, it’s not a collection of Brickfields quality jokes.

  • Jweeraga

    Lucky you Tony! I’m already looking for a giant screen, but cant beat butterflies in my stomach!

  • Gord

    Trivia from statisticians (Opta Joe via Daily Mail)

    > A – 2015 is the sixth FA Cup final to be contested by two teams beginning with the same letter & the first since 2004. Alphabet.

  • Gord

    England U20 news – Akpom finds the onion bag again!

    > Gunners striker Chuba Akpom and Villa forward Callum Robinson scored a goal each to secure a 2-1 win against Ivory Coast in England’s second game of the tournament.

    So, that’s a tie (Akpom rescued a point with 10 men) and a win so far.

  • Gord

    Starting X1 (from Arsenal twitter feed):

    > Szczesny, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Walcott

    > subs: Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud

    I think that’s a perfect score from Tony.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Yes perfect score, Tony. Well done

  • Brickfields Gunners

    WOO HOO , HOO ! Well done the lads. Am drunk and delirious and its 3 am, see you guys tomorrow !