By Walter Broeckx
Well this round of the FA Cup sure went off with a bang. The first match in this group of games and Burnley who played at home to Lincoln lost 0-1. A goal right at the end for Lincoln. And the first upset of the round. And not the last.
A few hours later Milwall managed to beat Leicester with also a late winning goal. And what made this more remarkable was the fact that they had to play for more than half an hour with 10 men because of a double yellow card for Jake Cooper. So last season’s PL winner exits in this round of the FA up. And when one looks at the PL table they sure are not in a comfortable position. One point above a relegation place isn’t really where you expect last seasons champions at this stage of the season. So it could all go horribly wrong for them.
Do we still remember last summer? Arsenal would/should buy Vardy. And the we were going to buy / would buy /should buy /must buy Mahrez. Both stayed at Leicester after getting a huge pay rise. As things stand now they could be playing in the championship next season but on a huge contract.
Now of course this is nothing compared to the shambolic position Arsenal finds themselves. We are at present also 4th but not from the bottom of the league. And that without us having bought Vardy and Mahrez.
But that wasn’t all the surprises on this day. Yes Middlesbrough sneaked through with also a very late winning goal against Oxford United also from League One. But they won.
Which can’t be said of Manchester City. Granted this wasn’t the easiest trip for them as Huddersfield is one of the best teams in the championship so far this season, currently sitting in 3rd place. But still a team with all the money in the world, managed by the best manager in the world Guardiola…surely they should have won this match.
So a lot of surprising results so far in the FA cup. Let us hope the surprises are overcome next Monday.
What these results show however is that in any given match on any given day surprises might happen, can happen and will happen. Maybe some people will call those results embarrassing for the higher placed clubs. And get on their high horse to condemn those clubs. Well that is what would happen surely if it were to happen to Arsenal.
I do however think that no result in a football match is embarrassing for me as a fan. Does a supporter of Leicester has to be embarrassed by their cup exit? It wasn’t him on the field so he didn’t do much wrong to feel embarrassment. Yes the result is painful for the fans. As the Bayern result was painful for us supporters. But that is the lovely/hard (depending on who you support at the final whistle) way of supporting a football club (or any other sports club) is.
Is a defeat the end of the world? Well so far it never has. The world has been spinning around and turning around the sun for a long while and never have I felt it suddenly stopping because of how hard and painful a final result was.
Now I must say that when we lose and certainly after a defeat like the one at Bayern, I swear a bit against myself, try to look at something positive and move on. The next match is the most important one. That is probably also the reason I feel like falling in a big black hole when we have played the last match of each season. That is the worst moment in a season for me. No defeat can compare to this. Because we always have a next match to make up for it.
So losing is not funny at all, but I have always considered it to be part of the sport. And if you can’t stand losing, don’t become a supporter of a sports club. As no sports club wins everything all the time. But I really cannot find it the end of the world. There are far worse things in the world than losing a football match.
But of course that will be not what Leicester or Burnley fans want to here for the moment. Not that they will read this as I don’t think they will come to Untold to find comfort.
Yet what these results show is that nothing is for granted in football. Each match has to be played and each time one has to be 100% or things can turn out badly. Make that one has to be 100% for the whole 90 minutes to avoid defeat. And even then one can come up with a team that is even better and lose a match.
But if there is one thing that the losers of today should consider is that their teams just contributed to what makes the FA cup, the FA cup. An amazing competition where in the end mostly the favourites win but on the way to that final win you can get all sorts of surprises and shocks. Let us hope that we can live up to our role of being favourite. But let us not consider it to be a walk in the park. And take it very seriously. That is what I ask from our players. And as there have been enough shocks already we surely could do without other shocks when Arsenal is involved.
And looking at how some people react to Arsenal losing… it would be good for their blood pressure and health also.
Arsenal History Books on Kindle
The novel “Making the Arsenal” by Tony Attwood which describes the events of 1910, which created the modern Arsenal FC, is now available for the first time on Kindle. Full details are here.
Also available on Kindle, “Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football” the only comprehensive history of the rise of Arsenal as a league club, and the attempts to destroy the club, from within and without. For full details please see here.