By Walter Broeckx
Allow me for once not to do the usual match report I write. As in order to publish the report I write it while the match is going on. I found myself missing goals at times doing that when I was typing things from a big chance and from the following corner or free kick we scored. But as most of you will have read I was at the Emirates for this match. At home my laptop is standing in front of me on the table in front of my couch. But if I would have taken my laptop to the Emirates I had to put it on my lap and thus couldn’t jump up when we would score, nor could I stand up when the songs require us to stand up… So for once the match report is written long after the match itself.
But as I have now seen my recording at home I will use this opportunity to give my views on the goals, some incidents and … the ref. Not a review but some good and some bad things that I noticed. But here we go.
Aston Villa from the off showing the tactics they would try. Hoof the ball in the direction of Benteke and try to make the most of it. And pressure Arsenal high up the pitch and don’t allow their defenders much time on the ball. And to be honest in the opening minutes Benteke won a few headers. But the Arsenal players surrounding him were mostly first to the second ball and could build Arsenal attacks. Benteke coming in the picture again with this time a late foul on Cazorla who had just his trickery to ghost past the big Belgian striker near the Aston Villa goal line. Moss having a word with Benteke. First big foul, giving a warning, good refereeing and building up from the ref.
Arsenal building the pressure more and more and Benteke more and more on an island. Bellerin and Monreal both taking turns in moving forward adding to the problems for Villa. Vlaar intercepting a dangerous cross from and clearing it for a corner. Monreal being kicked down by Cleverly with no chance of the latter playing the ball. Moss gets out his yellow card. That’s how it should be done and that is the Moss I got to appreciate in his early days in the PL. First a warning but the the cards have to come out.
From the resulting free kick Alexis finds Koscienly but Given can punch the header away. A first big chance for Arsenal. Bellerin with a good run on the right finding Ramsey at the near post but he can only put it in the side net. Özil winning the ball in midfield, then gliding past a Villa player as if he wasn’t there and then finding Ramsey with his cross but Ramsey fires over. That was a very big chance to take the lead. Özil again with a great cross this time to Walcott who just has to put it in the net and would have if it wouldn’t have been for Richardson who blocks the shot on the line with his body. Come on Arsenal just score that first goal!
Özil again (I know it’s getting boring) with a great ball to Theo who releases Ramsey on the right but Vlaar can take the heat out of the shot and Given can collect the ball. Hutton then diving in on Alexis. Luckily the Chilean saw it coming and could get his feet out of the grass. Moss giving a well deserved yellow card. Arsenal threaten again after a corner from Özil but Aston Villa can clear the ball. Delph pulling Özil down for the second time is enough for Moss to produce another yellow card. Some excellent football from Arsenal so far and some excellent refereeing most of the time.
Finally! Arsenal score. Theo gets the ball on the left flank after having switched positions with Alexis. Monreal on the overlap with a cross. Alexis the smallest player in the penalty area heads it back in front of the goal and Theo smashes it home with a left footed volley! 1-0 to the Arsenal after 40 minutes. Theo being stopped by Richardson a few minutes later and that was it for the first half. Completely dominant match from Arsenal and as my match reporter said the 1-0 score is not a fair reflection of what we have seen.
5 minutes before the interval we scored and we did it again 5 minutes after the interval. And what a goal for Arsenal! A ball breaks loose some 10 meters out of the Aston Villa penalty area. Alexis retrieves the ball on the left flank, goes inside a bit. Monreal on the overlap pulling one defender away and making space for Alexis who fires of a rocket that swerves over Given and cannons off from the crossbar in the net. A real Gunners goal! 2-0 to the Arsenal after 50 minutes.
Westwood getting frustrated and hacks down Alexis who was doing a 1-2 with Özil and he also gets in the book. Moss still very well in this match. Another goal for Arsenal when Walcott first hits Given and Alexis puts it over the line but the flag had gone up against Walcott so doesn’t count. Assistant was correct. Arsenal keep on trying to add a third goal. Ramsey’s shot is blocked by the arm of a defender but Moss gives nothing (handballs were not his thing on the day) and in the follow up Given has to stop a low shot from Cazorla.
Özil finding Walcott in space but a defender and Given can block the attempt from Theo and in the end Arsenal win a corner. And there is our Big F*cking German to head in a third goal! 3-0 after Cazorla took the corner and Mertesacker out tricked Benteke who was trying to cover him and head-shoulders the ball in the goal. 62 minutes played and surely this match is over now. I still wonder if Moss would have given a penalty if Per had not scored as Vlaar was pulling Koscielny’s shirt over his head … Per spared the ref a decision there.
Arsenal now just in control and keeping the ball and doing what they want. Özil gives another chance to Walcott but this time the shot from the Arsenal striker goes wide. He attempted a curler in the far corner. Both players’ last action in the match as they come off to a big roar. Wilshere and Giroud come on after 72 minutes.
Wilshere very busy and showing some nice trickery but no end product. Agbonlahor has a run and is brought down by Coquelin just outside the Arsenal penalty area. Agbonlahor screaming for a penalty (outside is just a free kick and not a penalty) and a minute later gets a yellow card as he keeps on moaning about it against Moss. Good card work but it was a foul. The match now was no longer a match. Villa waiting for the final whistle so they can run away from Wembley and Arsenal not really wanting to add to the score.
Grealish then escapes and Bellerin has an arm around him….Moss this time should have given a penalty for Aston Villa. It would have been a mere consolation for them as they have been played off the pitch by a glorious Arsenal side. Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on in the final minute to give Alexis a standing ovation from the Arsenal fans in the stadium and in the Emirates. His rocket made a match that was already not really a contest in to a walk in the Wembley park. 3 minutes of extra time.
And in the final minute Wilshere and The Ox combine at the right hand side and the Ox gives a low cross to the first post and Giroud, the third substitute boots it in the goal to score the 4th goal for Arsenal. Finishing the match on a high that is called. 4-0 the final score.
All 14 Arsenal players played like heroes. The manager had his non-existing (of course) tactics spot on. The supporters were in fine voice and overshadowed the Villa fans completely just as our players did. I had hoped for a win. Any win to reach that historic milestone of being the most successful FA cup team in history. But silently I had hoped to reach that milestone in style. And boy we sure did it with style. We did it the Arsène way, not the Arsenal way.
Back 2 back FA cup wins. Last time we did it we won the league the next season. A season that is also memorable for other reasons. Can we do it again next season…..? With this team and mentality that is growing and growing… hell can’t wait for next season. Bring it on, bring it on!
3 June 2000: The song “Arsenal number 1″ enters the top 50 for one week.