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The untold match preview CC Final

Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Untold Arsenal on Facebook here

By Phil Gregory

Carling Cup final day is upon us, and with it  I should really be nice in my words about Birmingham in this match preview knowing that certain die-hard Blues fans are reading this preview. That said, the chance for a quick laugh at this lovely little video. I half-expected the narrator to launch into a Churchillian “we shall fight them on the beaches” at one point, but what’re you going to do.

The tie doesn’t need much background really. It’s a day in the footballing sun for a respectable Premier League side who aren’t often challenging for silverware at Wembley, while Arsenal’s own trophy drought is well-documented. I don’t often sign up to much of the amateur psychology you read in the sports pages, but I do believe that Arsenal’s transitional seasons in which we blooded youngsters have cost us somewhat in terms of the “win or die” mentality that was a trademark of Wenger’s title-winning sides, and of course the Frenchman himself. For a team challenging for the Premier League title, the Carling Cup isn’t the most important of trophies, but the experience of winning is one our team can lack and this is a great opportunity to rectify that.

The injury news dominating the headlines is of course that of Cesc Fabregas’ minor hamstring injury. The boss expects it to keep him out for one or two games which, if it includes the Final, will mean he is back in action much sooner than most could have hoped. Naturally a degree of caution is advised given the increasing frequency of these hamstring injuries but having him available for the Champions League second leg and the Premier League run-in would be a big boost. Theo Walcott has also been ruled out with an ankle sprain which curtailed his involvement in the Stoke tie. Long term absentees include Emmanuel Frimpong, Thomas Vermaelen and Lukasz Fabianksi.

On a more positive note, Koscielny and Van Persie are back in the fold after a midweek absence, as is Abou Diaby after a calf injury. The latter two will almost certainly be called straight back into the starting line-up.

For Birmingham, ex-Gunner David Bentley is cup-tied along with centre back Curtis Davies. Alexander Hleb is a doubt with a knee injury and faces a late fitness test. Jiranek and Ridgewell are back in contention for the Blues though centre back Scott Dann is out with a long-term injury.

Birmingham aren’t a side that hold many surprises, our players can imagine fairly well what they’re going to get when they step out on the pitch. A frankly thuggish approach to the game at times didn’t stop us romping to a three nil victory at St Andrews on New Years Day.  Fortunately in the aftermath of that win Lee Bowyer got a three match ban for a stamp on Sagna but there were certainly other incidents in the game that weren’t dealt with by the ref.

Indeed it was Birmingham at the Emirates that Jack Wilshere got sent off against for a dangerous challenge. Naturally everyone rounded on this as an opportunity to slam Arsenal for not being whiter than white, but frankly Jack was kicked all game. While that’s no justification for putting another professionals safety at risk, unless referees start dealing with offences players are going to react. Mike Dean isn’t the best of referees at dealing with this (or indeed any) aspect of the Laws of the Game as has been excellently pointed out by Walter in his article on this site yesterday.

Line-up:

Szcznesy

Sagna Djourou Koscielny Clichy

Song Denilson

Wilshere

Nasri Van Persie Arshavin

Szcznesy continues as #1, with his commanding and aggressive style of goalkeeping well suited to a tie against Birmingham. The back four is strengthened by the return from injury of Koscielny alongside Djourou at centre back, with the ever-present Clichy and Sagna at fullback.

Given Cesc Fabregas’ injury, I’m anticipating the midfield to be reshuffled slightly. While Wenger may be loathe to break the Song-Wilshere axis which has gelled admirably in front of the defence, recent comments from Arsène suggest that Wilshere may be moved further forward in lieu of Fabregas.  The boss is quoted on Arsenal.com on Saturday morning saying “the game will go through Wilshere” and it would be a testament to the youngster’s progress if he was given the role in stead of Czech Republic international Rosicky. Jack can certainly play a role further forward and has the physicality to deal with being in closer proximity to an opponent’s holding midfielders than he would if he played deeper.

That’ll mean Denilson comes into the side. Not a popular figure amongst Arsenal fans, many underestimate his ability to use the ball well and move it on efficiently. With Song providing the grit in the midfield battle, Denilson will be a useful outlet as well as mopping up via interceptions. Some might expect the stronger frame of Diaby to be favoured, but given the large Wembley pitch and the France international’s recent return from injury I expect him to start on the bench.

Further forward Theo Walcott’s injury will force Wenger to make changes. I expect Nasri to switch to the right, with Arshavin playing on the left. The return of Van Persie from injury sees the Dutchman restored to centre forward. Missing the creativity of Cesc Fabregas will place more of a burden on Robin to assist in the build up of our attacks.

From a tactical point of view, we mostly know what to expect. Birmingham play the second highest number of long balls in the Premier League (after good old Stoke City) so they’ll largely bypass the midfield. This makes sense from their point of view: they have pace in their attack (particularly with  the inclusion of Obafemi Martins) and will want to take advantage of the space in behind our back four with searching balls forward.

Moreover, with us going with three midfielders as well as possessing  better individuals, they know they are going to struggle to win the midfield battle. Short of playing a fairly narrow midfield four, with the right and leftmost players helping out in the middle, I can’t see how they’ll really dominate the centre of the park. The temptation for Mcleish will probably be to go for a 451 but then he sacrifices his attack and (unless his wide midfielders are very narrow) will still not have the man advantage in midfield.

Playing narrow would be dangerous, as we’d just send our fullbacks flying down the flanks and then have a 2v1 situation versus their fullbacks. A 442 would make sense, balls over the top non the counter attack looking to take advantage of space. It might also force our fullbacks to play more conservatively, given they’ll be conscious of leaving too much space in behind.

We’ll have to be quick with our pressing and cut down their forward passing options. Birmingham aren’t a brilliant side on the ball, and if we can prevent them from launching it forwards we’ll probably pick up misplaced passes if they are made to knock it around. The whole team will have to push high up the pitch and press them effectively all the while being aware of the long ball in behind. This will take advantage of their weakness on the ball and limit their possession.

I’m going for a 3-1 to the Arsenal. The large, open pitch will work to our benefit and it’ll be hard for Birmingham to play as narrowly as they would like. The space will be great for our creative players, and it’ll be up to players such as Wilshere, Nasri, Van Persie and Arshavin to make sure we don’t feel the loss of Fabregas too keenly.

130 comments to The untold match preview CC Final

  • Dark Prince

    I guess Diaby starting will make sense. Birmingham are a physical side, Diaby is better physicality than Denilson. Also wont be suprised if Rosicky is started. But he might be used against Leyton than Birmingham. Also Fa has stated that Ramsey is not eligible to play against Leyton. So he should play a role in Sunderland match.

  • max

    Off Topic:
    Just read about the pitch at wembley (because it’s said to be poor) and the guy responsibel said this:

    “For Arsenal who have a Desso surface they will recognise the quality of surface, the lack of divots and the speed of play. It’s in fantastic condition,” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/league_cup/9406184.stm)

    Using the same sort of pitch in wembley as in the grove can only mean an advantage for us.

    GO GUNNERS

  • Paul Southcott

    Thanks Phil

    I was watching the preview on sky sports news, and they keep going on about our weak central defence. Don’t they realise the combination of Szcznesy, Djourou & Koscielny only conceeded 3 goals in last 10+ games !

    Here is hoping your score is correct and Walters ref preview does not come true.

  • nicky

    Phil,
    Twice in your article you referred to the size of the Wembley pitch. Is it any bigger than the Emirates?

  • RedGooner

    Hey Phil, I dont think I agree with your statement that.

    “Arsenal’s transitional seasons in which we blooded youngsters have cost us somewhat in terms of the “win or die” mentality that was a trademark of Wenger’s title-winning sides”

    I think that experience is exactly what has built a winning mentality thats about to come to fruition.

    I think might be closer than 3-1 ,I hope you are right ….But we beat them 2-1 at home and 3-0 away with Cesc available and Theo if I recall correctly.
    Cant see us winning by more than 1 goal.

  • Wrenny

    That’s the team I’m hoping will start. As good as Nasri has been this season, I think he’s often poor when asked to take over from Cesc in the centre and dictate play, just as he was at Stoke. He doesn’t release the ball early enough and goes running with it a bit too much, possibly trying too hard to impress. Wilshere has better instincts in that respect, playing mostly the give and go, looking for one-twos etc., to penetrate.

    And I think Denilson is the right choice in midfield. It would be nice to have Diaby on set-pieces (Zigic is a danger) but Denilson is always a big help in retaining possession and winning second balls, which should reduce the number of set-pieces that we have to defend in the first place.

  • Phil

    Nicky: it’s slightly wider than the Ems. That in itself won’t make much difference but it makes it more like playing at home rather than a tiny away pitch.

    Redgooner: It’s the way we went into seasons knowing we weren’t going to win the title. The beatings during 09-10 against Chelsea and United ceertainly didn’t help, but I do feel we’ve greatly improved in that respect. I agree with you that we’re nearly there too.

  • GOONER80

    This match in my IMO will be largely affected by who scores first, and then the ref.

    if arsenal played birmingham at a neutral ground with the line up stated above in a thousand games we would win 700 of them and quite clearly we are the better team.

    birminghams only hope is to keep it tight and 0-0 at half time so my guess is there will be no attacks from them apart from set pieces and then around 75 mins after he knows Aw has made his changes he will bring on either jerome or zigic or even martins and hope to nick a goal. Im sure SAF diisciple would have got some tips from his boss of how to deal with arsenal

    for arsenal and the neutrals perspective I pray we score first and early, this could be a case of a repeat of the world cup final. I think Arshavin will score, the little Russian is getting back to his best.

    the arsenal team must be hungry for a trophy this is what they have talked about all season and it is theirs all they have to do is take it, if they impose their game every gooner knows we create too many chances not to score, and as long as we are tight at the back this should be ours

  • Yeah I think Diaby will be in starting eleven ahead of Denilson

    I ll gob for a 3-1 but birnmingham will be tough to beat

  • Mandy Dodd

    I think the ref performance could be vital – just hope we do not see a typical Mike Dean performance. He is believed by many to be to Spurs what Webb is to Uts – of course this is not proven but imagine a final against a Fergie desciple with a closet Spurs fan officiating!
    If there really are conspiracies against Arsenal out there, I would imagine they will be there for all to see in this vital game.
    I am going 2-1 Arsenal in ET. Just hope we get a victory and do not have to pay too high a price for it.
    Mike Dean – we are watching you!

  • Ronnie Brown

    If Diaby is fully fit I think he will cetainply play ahead of Denilson as he’s ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s just whether he’s ready or not.

  • Ronnie Brown

    If Diaby is fully fit I think he will cetainly play ahead of Denilson as he’s ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s just whether he’s ready or not.

  • Metalhead

    I think Rosicky should start. Playing Denilson and Song will stagnate the midfield. I think Wilshere functions well as a linkman more than an advanced creative midfielder (at least for the time being). With Denilson and Song mostly siting deep Wilshere may get outnumbered and could be rendered ineffective.
    I’m not comfortable starting with Diaby considering it’s been quite a few weeks since he has played the last game. Not a good idea to start with a rusty player in a cup final. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring him on as a substitute though.

  • Metalhead

    @Wrenny. You make a good point about Nasri. I agree he is poor when he plays in the CM in Cesc’s role. Like you said he does not release the ball at the same time I think he does not spot the runs of the Forward moving as well as Cesc does. Rosciky does this far better.

    I feel Nasri functions best when playing from the right wing.

  • Adam

    Go on Wenger release the Stevenage terrier, Birmingham “dont like it up em”. Go in hard and fast, slap em about a bit put them on the back foot, let em know who is in charge. Then when your out of the tunnel and the match starts focus on getting the ball down and playing your game.

  • Ian Trevett

    Rooney elbows a player off the ball.
    No red card.
    It has got to point where no-one even hopes that the referee will apply the rules to their pet Rooney.
    The evidence is there on camera.
    The FA has to act.
    But don’t hold your breath.

  • Wayne Bellamy

    A bit of respect shown to Birmingham! Unlike the many national papers who seem to think that there is only one team playing in the final!!
    It will be a good match and I think it will be “very” physical.
    I just hope that the ref has the bottle to make the big calls for “both” teams!!!!! (slight ref to our last final and the blatent penalty that wasn’t given to Blues)
    Anyway, must go, unlike you lot, I’ve got a bit of a drive down to Wembley.
    Oh yeh, Blues to nick it 1-0!!!!!!!!!!!
    keep right on!!

  • ugandan goon

    @ian trevett
    clattenburg dances while rome burns, what (r)effing manual did that particular move come from and if it is meant to indicate he didn’t see the event, why didn’t he consult his linesman?
    in other news, dowd was ruining some ones weekend in the championship.

  • Richard B

    Funny how we still haven’t heard anything about that off the ball kick from Giggs in Manure’s game at Wolves. Again it was on camera and replayed over and over again. No rebuke, nothing.
    The week after, Giggs signs a new one year contract.

  • i can’t see denilson starting, he is not good enough and has shown this repeatedly this season, i don’t buy your backing of him, he isn’t good enough in any aspect of him game, average in too many areas and weak defensively

    the rooney incident was yet another in a long line of shocking failures to properly enforce the rules of the game when Manu play, they get away with stuff that we cannot get away with, we repeatedly get players sent off for soft stuff and they do worse getting off scott free

    dean has a good opportunity to make himself the new mike riley today with some baised anti-arsenal officiating, he will relish trying to stop us win, your ref preview on dean was spot on, the man is a biased little weasel with no back bone

  • GOONER80

    the thing that feels me with hope is that not one of their players would get in our starting line up so it all lies in our hands

  • tim

    ouch.

    hope this doesn’t derail the season.

    i need a drink.

  • steven

    finished – season is over now

  • Mihir Saudagar

    Now we will see a flood of BUY BUY BUY! :(.
    Shit happens!

  • steven

    That’s it, We will never win anything under Wenger again – Another bleak vision of the future without Cesc. No vision or creativity at all, nobody to see the pass, where people are running to, where the space is. Any attempt at opening them up was overhit or just plain misplaced. Fucking woeful.
    I have never been a ”Wenger out” man my self but after that, I’m done with the man.

    Just a joke.

    It will be a long time before we win anything.

    Goodbye Cesc, enjoy winning.

    What a shower of shit.

  • steven

    The last 2 weeks are typical of this team. Win against the probably one of the best teams ever, then we draw against a league one team and lose to a team who will probably get relegated in a fucking cup final.

    Theres no need for the AW out calls now, we still have 3 competitions we can win. Leave that talk for the summer or when we’re out of all the competitions (which may be soon

  • slim

    Please THE FUCK tell me this isn’t real I’m gonna need much fucking more than a drink. We all wait 6 years and then bam! this just bloody had to happen. Tony good luck trying to comfort us all outta this one

  • steven

    BIG GAME BOTTLERS MATE – AS ALWAYS

  • steven

    You’re right the others looked devastated but every time they have the chance to prove themselves they fuck it up. EVERY FUCKING TIME. And yet wenger persists with the same fuckin shyte players. Bring on Bendtner when we need a winner… yeah fucking great!
    .htm

  • slim

    Year in year out, watching average fucking teams and average fucking players like fletcher win trophy after trophy, while all our players just sit out and spurn every fucking chance served up to them on a platter

  • tim

    and so the shitting on the team begins…don’t you guys realize it only makes it worse? the media is overjoyed that we lost, and will rub it in our team’s face. the fans should not do the same.

  • steven

    @slim – yeh cos they have winners whereas we have idiots like Bender who talk themsleves up to be worldclass – knob

  • slim

    Tim I’m not slagging our team. I just don’t fucking understand what just happened out there.

  • Rob

    the players looked paralysed by fear.

    Whoever said it at half time was right, there was a lack of leadership. we used to have some bad games in the past but there was always Vieira, Henry, Adams, Sol etc to pull us through. Who is there now? When the vice captain on the pitch is Rosicky we know we have a problem.

    This was our chance to show that we could win a trophy and a stupid mistake and playing within ourselves for much of the game has cost us.

    what a load of bollocks.

  • walter

    Do some of you call yourself supporters?
    In good and in bad, I will support my team. And those who want to throw shit at our team please go to other blogs where they need more shit.

    We have lost the final. And all the other teams apart from Birmingham weren’t even near to Wembley.

    We could have thrown the first game at WHL. Would you have liked that? Then you would have blamed Wenger and the players for this. It is them that have brought us there. And for some fluke moment we lost it. We were the better team in possesion, shots on and off target, corners. Even made more fouls according to Dean.

    The goalkeeper from Birmingham being voted man of the match tells something I would say.

    Comon you gunners

  • steven

    shut it waler you nunce with you r bolloks as usual The writing was on the wall once Martins came on. We should have put the game to bed by then. we really do seem to be capitulate anytime we get close to some silverware. We really need to get pass this mental block or this season like every other season in recent history will end with no trophies in the cabinet

  • critic

    laugh guys, laugh. It helps. Birmingham displayed a very spirited performance. Congrats to them.

    But i guess Arsene will never be able to retain his team without silverware. We don’t have money to buy, we barely break even on footballing side of things.

    I think it will be a long time now before we will see arsenal win anything. We can all boast of 4 squads but what’s the point if we can’t keep them together when they start to come good. To keep them arsenal need to win, need to learn to defend, especially set pieces.

    I am sure Untold will make excuses about rvp, fab, wal tv5. But bir were literally playing with 10 men.

    Arsene wenger to go???lolz lolz lolz lolz lolz. I guess whoever is saying that is either suffering frome dementia or started supporting arsenal in wenger era.

    One gone 3 more to go, and going according to the past results we will lose everything in next fortnight.

    I don’t have the answer to any woes, but i will certainly not slack wenger or players for the performance. They must be feeling more down at this moment than any of the fans. Why??? becoz we give 2-4 hours to arsenal but they earn their breakd and butter from arsenal. Arsene has given his life to arsenal.

    One gone 3 more to go.

  • ugandan goon

    I am going to crawl into a hole somewhere for a few days until certain types calm down.
    it is over, nothing will ever bring it back! suck it up and move along , steven.

  • critic

    One thing is for sure, arsenal fear winning anything.

  • Bexxy

    What a wasted opportunity. Keep it chins up!

  • Rob

    @Walter
    And fans aren’t allowed to be disappointed and angry when we come so close to ending our trophy drought but consistently fail at the last hurdle??

    I’m not calling for Wengers head or saying that half the squad should be sold but these consistent failures aren’t breeding a team of winners thats for sure. When there is a chance of a trophy the players bottle it.

  • Mandy Dodd

    And so out of the woodwork they come…….a
    They may well be supporters Walter, but most probably of Spurs or the Mancs
    Not much good to say about that – but the season is not over yet. Wenger is going to have to lift that team, he really needs key players back, and no further injuries. To me, the team looked either tired or tense – not sure what really went on out there.
    It is a defeat in the Carling Cup final – not great but not the end of the world. By the time this team reach their potential, the Carling Cup will not matter so much.
    As I say, the season is not yet over, just the Carling Cup

  • slim

    hehe ugandan goon easier said than done

  • Sammy The Snake

    Tomorrow will be a better day. Let’s not say things we’ll regret.
    Losing a final is painful, but shit happens.

  • steven

    season is over many – you will see Can’t even beat Birmingham……

    Fucking Birmingham -relegation candidates

  • Rob

    the carling cup is usually a sign of things to come in the rest of the season and in the past all teams who have lost have gone on to win nothing.

  • steven

    @sammy – It’s OK, Mr Arsene will tell you that getting to the final is just as good as winning it.

  • steven

    Same old arsenal. Every year we flatter to deceive. If Wenger doesn’t buy a centreback for big money in the summer I’m afraid it’s time for him to go. What a bunch of losers, no winning mentality and no bottle bar Wilshire. Szesney had a shocker today, at fault for both goals as well as both centrebacks. I’m sure a lot of people will point out its only the Carling cup but if any of you actually think we’ll go on to win anything this year are in dreamland. We won’t get over this for a long time, I expect us to get booted out by Barcelona, we’ll lose ground on Man Utd soon and the FA cup is a waste of time these days, tainted by Man Utd pulling out in the 90’s to hit Brazil for the World club championships. I’m so angry right now, Birmingham are a micky mouse side who we should’t get beaten by. Players like Rosicky, Kos, Arshavin, Chamackh and Bendther aren’t fit to wear the shirt.

  • walter

    It has been 5 years since we even got to a final so how can you say we ALWAYS stumble at the last hurdle?

  • critic

    listen to mandy, he is paralysed above the neck. Fans can’t show their anger and frustration?? It’s like fans won’t show the joy after winning anything. These fans are emotionally attatched to arsenal, they lose we lose and we are definitely frustrated. But their’s a way of showing the frustration and not every one has it.

  • critic

    walter? cc final against charity was in 2007. That makes 3 years 2008,2009,2010 and it 2011 we reached final.

  • ugandan goon

    @slim’
    i am paralysed, tried getting ready for work but almost everything in the house has morphed into a football and inviting me to kick it- but life must go on, people who think that it is clever to attack the team and vent their spleen just haven’t been through real adversity, life is a roller coaster ride, just when you think you are up, you are down again and it will keep happening until you die, so get used to it and try not to do anything that you will regret today because it just adds to your problems tomorrow!
    although saying that i cannot wait for our next game and wouldn’t mind a sedative till then!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Lets get this into perspective. Bad loss, bad performance, bad mistake, bad day.
    But…if we had won, the team may have subconsciously thought job done and rested on their laurels a bit for the rest of the season.
    This result could break the team, or alternatively, they might redouble efforts to win something bigger than the Carling Cup.
    This team have beaten Barcalona but lost to West Brom
    Which Arsenal will we see over the next few weeks?
    Wenger must use this to galvanise the team. If any of them were complacent before, they cannot be after this

  • RedGooner

    Gotta say I feel sorry for Kos and Waz …. Can happen to anyone we see it often enough in the EPL.

    The thing with your big games is this no team will ever win them without their first choice 11 on the field is it an excuse ? no its a fact.

    If we dont have the first 11 for Barca and possibly ManUtd next week we will loose also if we do have them we will get the results and go through.

    It might not be a bad thing in the end up. It may just drive them on more.
    Im as dissapointed as anyone BUT I wont slag the team I have supported for 30 years off like some of the plastic idiots above, we have no devine right to win against birmingham or anyone else for that matter.

    Roll on next week lets hope the headlines and injuries are better.

  • gariago

    MD, I was just thinking exactly that. The CC could have been an early climax resulting in complacency. Better to have something to prove, and they will come through…

  • steven

    2006 – CL Final, 2007 – CC Final, 2007/08 – we should’ve won the league, 2008/09 – 2 semi finals and we bottled it.

  • Terence McGovern

    Congratulations to Birmingham as they deserved it.

    MOTM performance from their keeper and a less than sparkling performance from us, maintains our image as masters of the anti-climax.

    You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you get.
    Will we learn from it? Only time will tell.

    I would asvise our supporters to let the disappointment wash over them and flow away. One trophy gone and yes it was supposed to be a handy one but life isn’t that simple.
    Get over it.
    Birmingham fans could tell you that this was the 2nd trophy in their entire history and they never stop supporting their club.
    A sector of our support could take a leaf from their book methinks.

    No complaints, if anything the ref and co. favoured us and was willing to play advantage at every foul.
    On the day, we didn’t have the wit and wisdom to deal with their ariel and physical game. They closed us down and made us rush things. They had a game plan and it worked.
    Good luck to them

    We have an element of apprehension in almost all our games where as fans, we are nearly expecting the part in the game where something goes terribly wrong and I personally am sick of that feeling .
    However, that will only change when we as support cease to assume success and enjoy it only as it comes. This was a one off game and that is all.
    4 points is the gap in the league and Utd have a difficult schedule so we shall see what we shall see there. We take a lead if not a full squad to Barcelona. Getting on the team’s back because of this one result will not further the cause, either ours or theirs.
    The media will delight and have the knives out for our players and our manager as they detest our club’s methods and Arsene Wenger who employs them.
    I have seen us lose many finals and this on the scale of things was nothing to set ourselves on fire over.

    Should this team be fortunate enough to have the opportunity to return to Wembly again this season, this result may yet have purpose and dividend.

    Victory through harmony.
    Don’t you forget it.

  • Robbie

    So, the season ends on the 12th of march. It’s a little bit earlier than the usual CL quarter final exit. Let’s finish top 4, persuade Cesc to stay another season, sign nobody, listen to Wenger predict a great season… you now how it goes. (This is not the sensible me talking, just the really angry and sad Robbie. I love Wenger)

  • steven

    Another barren seasons looms ahead. How can arsenal with the worst defensive record amongst the top six epl teams can beat barca and manure away in next matches when it cannot overcome birmingham fighting relegation battle is beyond comprehension. arse has definitely lost his marbles and his confidence in such mediocre players koslinecy, song, clichy and worst of them all shit rosicky in the final xi and hope to win trophies is nothing but deluding himself from reality.

  • GOONER80

    AT LEAST IT DIDNT HAPPEN IN EXTRA TIME,

    Birmingham played well, arsenal had quite a few opportunties.

    the stoke game was more important than this result, if we won the carling cup the new mantra would switch to major trophy.

    it was a bitter pill to swallow but it doesnt compare to the champions league final loss, I think even the champs league semi against man u hurts more.

    Im gutted we didnt win but its not the best of trophies and was only going to be a stepping stone

    I think we was in too many competitions.

    all this boils down to is a mistake IMO no one played badly we had numerous shots at goal a human being made a mistake and Im sure he is hurting more than anyone

    All the players have to do is come back stronger for the next game. Ha Ha the jokes on arsenal fair enough but we have a great team they just messed up their lines THIS TIME

    well done to Birmingham they played well

  • ugandan goon

    i am glad that most have managed to put forward rational consolations, i am actually calmer now.
    just a thought, do people post negative/ nasty comments because it helps them get over things by making everybody around them just as angry, or seeking peer approval in their infantile outlook on life?
    because i find myself angrier reading negative comments on today’s performance than the fact we lost the game.
    ps. i think judging by the fact no one has so far mentioned mike dean’s performance that i am alone in thinking it was as someone put it (about our team) a shower of shite.

  • steven

    Congratulations to Birmingham on your win an qualification for Europe next season. Commiserations to Arsenal for missing out on the trophy that many of you on here was already in the beautifully dusted down trophy cabinet of yours. Too early over here to have watched it but I will get to watch a replay later on this evening. The look on Wenger’s losing face and his tantrums is mainly what I am looking forward to or did he accept defeat gracefully for a change? Last time Arsenal won a trophy? 9 behind the ball, 1 up top and playing for penalties. Maybe they should dust that off again.

  • steven

    WENGER HAS NOW LOST MORE FINAL THEN WON – 5-4

  • ugandan goon

    @ steven’
    sound of one hand clapping.

  • Macca

    Birmingham were far and away the better team. A well-deserved win.

    I’m left feeling that Arsenal are being talked up to be far better than they actually are. It’s pure Emperor’s New Clothes syndrome.

  • steven

    depressing.
    i can’t imagine there’s another manager that’s lost as many finals as him.
    i know getting to finals at all means you must be doing something right, but fuck me it’s far more painful losing in a final than going out in the 4th round

  • steven

    ARSENAL ARE AND ALWAYS WILL BE BIG GAME BOTTLERS

  • Mandy Dodd

    Cannot believe someone earlier said Kos not fit to wear the shirt! Would this person have said the same of one Tony Adams when he was getting grief at the start of his career?
    Kos has made a few mistakes in his first season but nobody who saw him in the Barca game can doubt his potential.
    Any news on RVP?

  • steven

    I actually feel ashamed of the current team representing AFC today. And embarrassment.

    We always lose in basically the most embarrassing fashion imaginable.

    WE DIDNT EVEN WEAR SUITS TO THE CUP FINAL TODAY

    Fuck this team, rotten to the core.

  • steven

    Wenger post match interview on SS1;

    We can’t take more inujuries…

    Well fucking DUH!! That is why you build a squad of quality players!! So when the inevitable injuries/fatigue/loss of form kick in late in the season you can rotate quailty for quality, not shite.

    Fuck me sideways sometimes I wish he’d just say nothing.

  • steven

    Get rid of these french b rate mongers the tossers lot of them get out of our country u french whores

  • GOONER80

    some of the comments on here dont help. if you are really angry you need to let the dust settle and come at it from a rational perspective, we all say things in the heat of the moment

    suck it up and take it like a man

    lets just get to the end of the season and see what happens

  • steven

    bye bye cesc ! hello more third divison french and spanish footballers on the cheap ! song and rosicky are complete dirt and cost us a trophy, again !

    Why was Rosicky chosen, what has he done to merit a starting place. Wenger again picked the wrong side, pushing Nasri wide was another tactical error.

    we will never win the PL again with Wenger in charge. Today provided further evidence, how can a team with that many poor uncommitted players in it win anything.

    we will never win the PL again with Wenger in charge. Today provided further evidence, how can a team with that many poor uncommitted players in it win anything.

  • walter

    Steven you are waisting your time.
    You can post what you want, I really cannot see why I should take notice of your ramblings.

    In fact I now know for sure you are just a troll who is not an Arsenal supporter. Not a real one. Just a plastic.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Are you a racist Steven?

  • Macca

    GOONER80
    February 27th, 2011 at 3:00 pm
    “the thing that feels me with hope is that not one of their players would get in our starting line up so it all lies in our hands”

    Birmingham’s keeper, central defenders and centre forward are all as good as Arsenal’s. Birmingham had a better bench, today, too. There’s a lot of delusion around here about Arsenal. To be the first team to lose to Birmingham City in a Wembley final…it just doesn’t get any worse than that.

    Arsenal have one (nearly) world class player: Cesc. They have a couple of (on their day) very good players Walcott, RVP. After that…it’s all speculation, opinion, smoke and mirrors. There are simply too many overrated, ordinary players who are actually not that good in the Arsenal team and squad.

  • GOONER80

    @steven

    what do you expect to get out of your comments??????????????? are you looking for people to agree with you, or are you looking for people to just argue with you ??

    there is enough C**ts out there bashing arsenal without more doing it, if you want go onto a spurs blog they will love your comments YOU WILL EVEN GET AROUND OF APPLAUSE

  • GOONER80

    @MACCA

    so your basis of analysis is one game do you seriously think a single birmingham player would get into our first eleven, are you really BEING SERIOUS

    I could take you apart with serious analysis MACCA they are not sitting fighting a relegation battle because they are good. they played really well today and I congratulate them on that, they fought hard and every dog has its day. My comments are correct as the carling cup was in our hands to lose and we messed up, but if you really want to debate this give me your email address and I will go to the trouble of doing a player by player analysis not on one game MACCA but hundreds

  • critic

    steven is a troll. he is a bastard. he is an a#*hole. He is a glory hunter. he is a 2 year old.

    Students combine all the above sentence into one complete sentence.

  • steven

    enjoy Wilshire why he is here, he will be wearing the blue of City or Chelsea in 4 years time

  • steven

    fair play to birmingham, thought they would have came out and booted all around them, but heres the weird thing they didnt even need to. feel really sorry for rvp and wilshere but the rest were embarrasing, alex song hides away every big game, but i tell you this now give me scott dann or roger johnson over djourou, kos or squillachi and martins over bendtner or chamakh

  • steven

    Once again the plastics have to get the early posts in and have a dig at the real fans. So its hatred cos we know whats wrong with out team and manager? So easy from the comfort of their armchairs! We have been ripped off by Wenger now for too long. Only one player turned up today -Wilshere. The rest were a shambles. Kos and Djourou were a shambles and Song again showed he aint that good. We have only one decent attacker – the injury prone VanP and the rest are just not match winners. Wenger now owes it to us reshape and invest properly in this squad. Only the spenders will win silver. Birmingham had more options to bring on then we did. We all know Denilson, Diaby and Bendtner are rubbish but thats all we had on the bench plus the resident mascot – Eboue. The dearth of quality is shocking. Sczesny has the makings of a good keeper but unless someone trains him and the rest of the back 4 to deal with set pieces he will suffer like his predecessors. A shameful performance. Those of us who live in North London will know the pain. I just wish a fantasist was nearby at this moment!

  • ugandan goon

    @steven,
    the reason a particular statement becomes a cliché is because it is uttered too often that it meaning becomes irrelevant, so far you have only impressed us with your collection of clinches with not a lot of original thought, if you need abuse you are going to have to pay for it down in a soho basement, all you seem to be asking for is abuse and we are only human, but i would say come back tomorrow because i think most of us watched the game on the BBC with hansen,lawrenson and guy mowbray talking out of their arses for 90 mins, we have had our fill of anti arsenal sentiment and stupidity for a day.
    a lot of people use this forum to discuss intelligently what’s going with our club, you seem not only to have filled the comments section with your inanities but also derailed the conversation somewhat, so little boy just go chase yourself somewhere else no one wants to play here

  • Mandy Dodd

    Would not waste your time on him Ugandan, he is not a Gooner.
    My guess – a fan from a nearby club that has a very vested interest in Mr Wenger not being at Arsenal.
    At least these trolls from other clubs do appreciate the threat from what Wenger is building at Arsenal – for that I guess they deserve at least some credit.
    They hate Wenger beacuse they know what he has bought and will bring again to AFC, and guess what, that will be far more than the CC!
    As for trophy droughts – Barca went 6 years due to a youth policy look at them now! Shanks went 7 years and look what he did for Liverpool.

  • RedGooner

    They only thing embarassing about today Steven is the likes of you.
    Your have no idea of what a real fan is ….To be honest I doubt you are an Arsenal fan at all ….Id say probably a Sp#rs fan with pent up hate and anger from living in our shadow.

    Real fans will follow Arsenal because of the type of football we play, the way we conduct our bussiness affairs the way our players behave the whole Arsenal identity.

    It wont matter if we dont win a trophy this season we will support the team in everything they do.

    Was it dissapointing sure it was…..But we will eventualy start winning finals and when we do we will keep winning them for a long time to come.
    No one really cares what you think.

  • Mihir Saudagar

    @Mandy
    -We only have to look back into our own history, Mandy. Just read about Herbert Chapman. The similarities with Wenger are uncanny.
    Today’s game hurt so much more because we were sucker punched.
    Its just sad it happened to Kos and Woz. As for our players not caring, Was not Kos inconsolable? At least in one footage that I saw, he was hiding his face in his jersey.
    Our time is coming and its near not far. Today was a bad day at the office but more importantly, it was made to look much worse by that goal. Till that moment in the second half, things were going pretty decently.Birmingham played well and they deserve their victory.

  • ugandan goon

    @Mandy Dodd,
    I wont waste any-more time on him, although i must admit it is somewhat cathartic.
    there are some arsenal fans who had lots invested in this final and are showing their frustrations in an ugly and unwholesome manner, calling for the managers head and slagging off players is an anathema to site. i think that is too sensible a policy to be derailed by such as …..
    we will fight ’em on the beaches…..
    we played well enough to have won that game, so it hurts to lose it but it hasn’t dulled my senses enough to take certain kinds of criticism or to congratulate brom on a fluke.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very true Mihir. Perspective is always needed even in the darkest hour. They will say we lost due to our usual failings – set pieces, long balls and defensive mixups. Maybe true. The fact is , we were about 3 mins from ET, which we would have won as they were seriously tiring.
    I cannot but help thinking there was a valuable lesson for some players there.
    Why do keepers always have the games of their lives against us though?

  • Pedler

    It’s hard being an arsenal fan sometimes. It’s a allot like visiting a strip club; All the titillation, excitement and promise – but in the end you know “she’s” going home with a 6′8 bouncer named Zigic… Bad times

  • Mandy Dodd

    Can see your point on that Ugandan Goon!
    Things will get better – this team have made progress this year, despite this result.
    I have spent a lot of time on sites with Mancs and Spuds posing as Gooners doing their best to undermine Wenger / Cesc /The French / Arsenal fans supportive of Wenger etc – they must see him as a threat as they spend endless precious hours in their quest!
    I can completely understand any pissed off genuine Gooner though. We did not really perform. People react differently to things as is their right.

  • ugandan goon

    @pedler,
    no hope for the shy, sensitive intellectual who visits strip clubs?

  • Bexxy

    Over confident? Maybe even arrogant going into this match? Result could be a blessing. Move on

  • AJjo

    Well done Burmingham.

    Steven, Do all of us a favor. Go hang yourself!

  • Tasos

    Congratulations to Birmingham.

    It’s hard to hide the disappointment today but these things happen, its Cup football and no doubt most people outside of Arsenal will have got the result they wanted.

    I thought Arsenal looked nervous today, certainly not relaxed enough to impose our usual game upon Birmingham, who stuck to their task well. Quite how we managed to claw defeat from the jaws of apparent victory, when we were dominating the final stages of the game, makes it a very bitter pill to swallow just now.

    No time to dwell though. We have bigger fish to fry. Yes its disappointing but our season still promises so much more.

    Get up, dust ourselves down and move on. Onwards and upwards.

  • walter

    And to think I have to see the whole game again to do my ref review…

  • RedGooner

    Joys of been a gooner Walter 🙂

  • gooner80

    the best thing for all UNTOLD readers to do is have a media black out,

    Im not reading any newspapers, sky sports, goonernews

    Im only going to read untold

    ( i dont want to hear any bashing of our great club, when the season ends then is the time to review the squad)

    MEDIA BLACK OUT IN PROCESS

  • jbh

    Walter, please take a close look at the extra time in both halves. Especially the 2nd half. Very unlikely that Arsenal would have got an equaliser and congratulations to Birmingham for the win, but very interesting that extra time was 4min 27 secs. The substitution and taking of a free kick by Birm took 60 secs, and there seemed to be 2 yellow cards for time wasting against Birm, yet no time added for it. Seems like Dean was in a great deal of hurry to end the game…

  • RedGooner

    jbh, The thing that annoyed me the most was after they scored in the 89th minute Kos was on his knees looking away when a Birmingham player ran by celbrating and hit him a belt across the head as he ran by. I dont mind loosing but ive jumped up and broken his frikken neck if it had of been me.
    It was as about as sporting behaviour as you would expect from them lot.

  • Fine Whine

    Just Back from a week in Lanzarote yesterday.. I thought i was doimg my penance for been able to watch the match today.. Have to say i was close to shedding a tear after losing ( Yes Man enough to say it).. My near tears turned to anger and disbelief..Took me a while to log back on the net to see how the forums were venting.. I agreed at the start with the fury.. never win anything, EVER.. Wenger out .. The usual stuff.. But then they started the uusual beating on the players.. They don’t care, not good enough, only after the money..No heart,passion, etc etc.. Then i started thinking when i used to play for my local teams in many sports… I was always gutted when I didn’t win, how I let my teamates down, family and not to mention the few fans we might have had.. Then I started to think how our OWN players must feel, and I realised they must be totally gutted, embarrassed and humiliated.. Birmingham just won their second ever trophy and their fans suport them always.. They deserve their moment for their loyal support. My mood has changed.. I Love my Arsenal .. NO matter what happens.. This has made me realise just how much..
    I’m gonna go away now and MAN UP..!!

  • Simon Bailey

    We love you Arsenal we do,
    We love you Arsenal we do,
    We love you Arsenal we do,
    Ohhh Arsenal we love you.

    My 12 yr old lad was complaining about having to go to school tomorrow cos of the grief the rest of the manu and chelsea sheep are gonna give him. I gave the same advice to him as i am to all you doomers; suck it up, lifes a bitch, we lost, deal with it.

    we have got the rest of our lives to support Arsenal, this one tiny defeat is feck all in the grand scheme of things.

  • slim

    Redgooner, now that you mention it I remember some prick rubbed it in for Koscielny, at first I thought it was Djourou consoling him. Ack anyway fuck that lot tis’ the best it’s gonna get for them before they get relegated to the Conference

  • Gord

    Being in North America, the movie “Walking Tall” is probably in our history. I don’t know how many in Europe (or in general outside North America) are familiar with it.

    Nominally, “walk softly and carry a big stick”.

    I really don’t like the players, the coach, or anyone else associated with who is going to play on the day, saying anything like “We are going to win”.

    It is entirely too easy to talk one’s self into a situation where things are easy. Keep your mouth shut, don’t twit (yes, if you send things to twitter, you are a twit), let your football talk for you.

    I think Arsenal has a tremendous future! But if the players get into thinking that ANY game, regardless of who the opponent is, is a “give me”, I worry terribly about complacency showing up to play the game, and we give away a tie or worse a loss.

    This is at odds with Arsene’s policy about twitting. I agree that you shouldn’t restrict people un-necessarily from doing things. But, any announcement by any player that some game if “easy”, already points that in their subconscious that they are not going to take things seriously. I don’t know how many people you need with this “easy” attitude to spoil a game, but someone might.

    Please, Arsenal players keep your mouth shut! Let your play on the field speak for you! Don’t even expect that ANY opponent is easy.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    It was a hard loss to stomach but truth be told we didn’t really
    prove our worth and plat to the best of our abilities.B’ham fought harder and together while our play was disjointed .We had a lot of the ball but but lost to a freak goal.I would have to agree with the lads that had the game gone on to extra time we would have won as they were barely able to stand up.Hope the boys rebound and start winning again – the season is not lost.
    Come on you Gunners !Keep the faith.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sorry typo – and played to…

  • Bexxy

    It’s going to be a long day in the office! All those “told you so” for spurs and west ham fans. Can’t offer any excuses. We got what we deserved on the day. Not prepared to blame Laurel and Hardy, when it’s clear they tried their best but aren’t good enough. I am not alone in consistent calling for improving goalkeeper and centre half. We could bounce back and win the league, but even that can’t hide the fact we are too weak in key areas

  • critic

    tony, what have u done with the site? There was a section in the top left showing the latest articles on the site. Why have u put it away???

  • Shard

    In my opinion, the team let me down yesterday. ‘Me’ basically means me, the fan.. The supporter.. I say that because I believed that this was the time. That this team had learnt and was ready to win. But they never played well enough, and weren’t focussed enough to not make mistakes. Yes it was a stupid goal to concede and we were unlucky in that regard. But we never played well enough to say we deserved to win, and the stupid goal is exactly where the focus comes in.

    It to me is only a mental flaw. We are either too laidback, or too keyed up and hence nervous.. The Chelsea victory and later the Barcelona victory shows that this team is capable of finding the correct mental balance. But this was the final.. A chance to show to everyone, but importantly, ourselves that we WILL win.. But we let ourselves down. I don’t say this lightly, but that was very disheartening.. It is now up to the team to make me trust them again. Prove it match after match after match that they are ready to win, not just want to, but are actually going to..

  • critic

    The point is if current arsenal don’t win anything this season they might never win it. Players will leave for sure. Spirit will be broken. Eventually arsene will have to rebuild again.

    why will players leave??
    Assume u r really working hard and are denied promotion how wud u feel??

    Why wud spirit break??
    Gr8 players will, will think because of some fringe players they can’t win anything.

    Why wud Arsene will have to rebuild??
    We don’t have the money to buy and sustain wages + youth simultaneously. In fact we are in similar situation of charity fc. Perhaps in the opposite way, they are over reliant and committed to buy we are obsessed with youth(right way).
    There’s not readymade fabregase or nasri or arshavin. players will need time to develop.

    No matter what untold says or perceives, this, THIS is THE GOLDEN GENERATION of arsenal. If they can’t win, i think we have to wait for a very long time to win anything.

  • Shard

    @critic

    The players leaving doesn’t really concern me.. No player is bigger than the club, or even close to it.. And if players leave because THEY couldn’t win, and it’ll be easier to elsewhere then they lack what I want from them anyway.. No player is irreplaceable..

    Also i don’t agree with Golden generation bit.. That term is something that should be used (if at all) AFTER the team has broken up and gone and on the basis of it’s achievements. So far this is not a team worthy of that tag.

    I think we have the most talented squad in the country. But I cannot really say they are the most determined and focussed. Yesterday, I couldn’t think of anyone we could have brought on to change the game in our favour. Perhaps I would have gone for Eboue because he’s unpredictable. But I couldn’t see anyone really taking the game by the scruff of the neck and say ‘ WE ARE GOING TO WIN’.. That is the sad part for me.

  • Shard

    @critic

    The players leaving doesn’t really concern me.. No player is bigger than the club, or even close to it.. And if players leave because THEY couldn’t win, and it’ll be easier to elsewhere then they lack what I want from them anyway.. No player is irreplaceable..

    Also i don’t agree with Golden generation bit.. That term is something that should be used (if at all) AFTER the team has broken up and gone and on the basis of it’s achievements. So far this is not a team worthy of that tag.

    I think we have the most talented squad in the country. But I cannot really say they are the most determined and focused. Yesterday, I couldn’t think of anyone we could have brought on to change the game in our favour. Perhaps I would have gone for Eboue because he’s unpredictable. But I couldn’t see anyone really taking the game by the scruff of the neck and say ‘ WE ARE GOING TO WIN’.. That is the sad part for me.

  • Bexxy

    @ critic

    Is this the golden age? Is this the pinnacle of Arsene’s years of planning? I don’t think so.

  • buxcey

    Wow this guy steven is on a mission but im sorry to say he does have some valid points. WE have been saying arsene knows for how many years now?

    He sure knows something completely unapparent to the rest of us when it comes to the number 7. The midfield trinity of Fabregas, Song and Wilshere has been responsible for a lot of Arsenal’s success this season, and with the captain absent, surely a better option would have been to put Nasri in Cesc’s spot, which happened to decent effect earlier in the season. As it was the Gunners’ midfield struggled to control the centre of the park for much of the game, lacking authority and misplacing passes, although Wilshere, as ever, tried his heart out.

    Birmingham’s first goal was a consequence of a poor pass by Sagna that gave away possession cheaply in his own half and led directly to the corner from which the Blues’ scored. Szczesny had a horrible game. Saved from a red card and the concession of a penalty by a poor offside decision early on, he hardly covered himself in glory for either goal. The best keeper at the club, he is the future in this position. You could argue Arsenal should not have relied on someone so inexperienced for a cup final, but that is the consequence of the botched job the club made of the transfer window last summer. Sometimes these things come back to haunt you. It can only be hoped that the dent to the young keeper’s confidence is overcome soon.

    Basically, this final was the tale of Arsenal’s failure to outwit Birmingham’s determined defending. In fairness to Alex McLeish’s side, they did not set out to cynically destroy the match as a showpiece. They played to their strengths and did what was needed to deny their opponents, without being particularly malicious. The Gunners were simply not good enough on this day to unpick the locks. The removal of Van Persie for Bendtner was down to injury, but taking Arshavin off for the out of sorts Chamakh was not a move that was going to increase the chances of winning the game. The Russian posed a threat, Chamakh did not.

    Arsenal did have a spell during the second half when Birmingham were on the rack, but they could not administer the killer blow. The quick passing was running into walls or an inspired display from Ben Foster in goal and the hope was that time, maybe extra time, would wear down the resistance. It was not to be. The winning goal was a mix-up. The consensus seems to be that Koscielny should have ignored the call from his keeper and put his foot through the ball to clear it. Having called for it, Szczesny should at least have got hold of the ball, but it was one of those moments. It was a calamity of momentous proportions and a horrible way to lose a cup final. It’s one thing for a side to fashion a goal from their endeavour, entirely another for it to be tied in a ribbon for them by the opposition. Koscielny has had a decent run of games of late, but before that, he was perceived as prone to errors, some leading directly to goals. Wembley was an untimely reminder that these have yet to be banished from his game and the jury still has to be out on whether or not he will prove a decent investment over the long term. It was his failure to win the first header from the corner that led to Zigic’s goal.

    This defeat may not matter if the team can get back on track and continue taking maximum points every time they play a Premier League game between now and the season’s end. That won’t happen, but they can’t afford to drop many points now if they have serious pretentions of winning the title. Unfortunately, in past seasons, cup defeats have had a knock on effect in the league. Many fans, having seen it all before, can see the team imploding once again. What concerns this observer most is not so much the possible psychological effect of this defeat as how long Fabregas, Van Persie and Walcott will be out for. If there’s one thing this campaign has proved it’s that ‘the best squad I have ever worked with’ is actually more a case of ‘the best paid squad I have ever worked with’. The strength in depth is not good enough to win the title if the back up boys are to be relied upon.

    The manager has steadfastly stuck to his experiment in building his own side largely excluding the buying in of experienced proven talent. And yet, the 2007 Carling Cup Final line-up featured all the young up and coming prospects that would serve the club well in the future. Not one of that eleven featured four years on. Which suggests that the manager has tried this youth experiment with more than one set of players, and neither of them has produced silverware. The 2011 first team should be the 2007 prospects developed, experienced and come good. So much for long term planning.

    In 2008, Gael Clichy’s decision not to put a foot through the ball against Birmingham led to the collapse of Arsenal’s hopes of the title. In 2011, another defender did the same and another chance of a trophy went with it. The monkey is still very much on Arsene Wenger’s back. If his players can prove their mettle, the season is not over. Sunday 27 February will be remembered as a bad day at the office. A defeat that wounded and spurred the players on to put things right and win more significant prizes (as happened after the League Cup Final defeats of 1969 and 1988, albeit a season on).

    However, one does feel that this has to be rectified this season, that the club cannot endure yet another year of finishing as nearly men, especially with unspent funds in the bank (and admission prices almost certain to rise this summer). Forget the Champions League and forget the FA Cup. Arsenal have eleven Premier League fixtures remaining, all of them winnable, and 89 points to aim for. There will be calls for the manager’s head after his side’s inability to defeat a workmanlike Birmingham side, a firm belief that he is incapable of ever managing the club to another trophy as his way of doing things has proved unsuccessful for several seasons. But ultimately, such calls can only be made once the 2011 title is out of reach. Cup finals do not always see the best team win. Arsenal fans, of all people, know that very well. It was a depressing day and a frustrating performance, but let’s hope one that doesn’t matter by the end of May.

    Granted, it could be the moment that signifies the house of cards toppling over. However, let’s hope the defeat hurt so much that the players find their bollocks and put things right in the one other competition they have a realistic chance of winning, on paper at any rate. If Arsenal beat Sunderland next weekend and United fail to win at Chelsea and Liverpool, then it’s game on. As supporters, we must try and hold the condemnation and see how the team respond, because the season isn’t over yet, even if it might feel like that right now.

  • terry

    Good Morning Goons – AHHH to be Manc today – as you can imagine i have a big grin on my face and see this forum in a meltdown. Anyways Hows the challenge for the quad? Lol. Forget quad you wont win a single trophy this season. Your plastic bones striker is out so you can kiss goodbye to the champs lge and the orient will run you over on wedensday –

    My question is will this website close down once wenger is sacked or is forced to leave?

  • gooner80

    @TERRY

    I think youre a closet arsenal fan, time to come out

  • prick

    buxcey, thanks man. that is a piece of good writing. *manly tears*

    Terry, a little correction if I may, it’s not a plastic bone but rather a glass foot.

    We’re broken as fans, but we can’t afford to be. Think of what it must have felt for Kos and Sczxzlcnxzcuy (our pole in goal). What it must have felt to be a gunner. What we need to do is support them. Lift their spirits again. Give them a reason to fight back and put this season to the sword.

    We the gooners will not give up. We will shout and stand proud. This season is not over. The FA cup is not over. The Champions League is not over.

    Belief is what we need. Belief is what our players need.

  • terry

    Buxcey – stop sugar coating your loss mate – Its obvious your lot cant handle big games (one fluk win against Barca dont mean you’re ready for the big time). It will be inresting to see how you respond

  • critic

    @buxcey
    can u read that??

  • hainalt

    Arsenal are not moving to anywhere sack that french man and for sure you people will make a nice move FACT

  • anthony

    There have been a few strange reactions to yesterday’s ignominious defeat. Almost as soon as the whistle blew on our afternoon of shame, some Arsene Football Club fans began getting their retaliation in first. They damned those fans who want success for the club yet they stubbornly refused to address the shambles they’d just witnessed on the pitch. Others shrug it off and sweep it under the carpet in a few supercilious words: “oh it’s only the CC” or “right, that’s over, now for the next match…”. Those of us who point out what’s wrong with our club – and what has been wrong for the past six years – seem to be being villified, despite offering the most constructive posts on here. It’s no good the Arsene-lickers constantly saying “yeah but Arsene knows, blah blah”. That sort of abject complacency doesn’t get us anywhere and will lead to another six years of empty promises and empty trophy cabinets. Once again, our season is just about to implode before our eyes and it’s high time the club’s inherent problems were at least acknowledged – both by its so-called fans and by Wenger. AW may still have some credit in the bank with many fans and with our comatose (though well-heeled) board but you’d think that even he would get the polite heave-ho were he to once again finish the season with nothing to pee in. I’ve said it for years – AW is a busted flush; a desperate man with only one game-plan that no longer works, as has been proved time and time and time again. He should do the decent thing while he still has the choice because every year he stays tarnishes his image and reputation.

  • terry

    Funny to see the goons turning on each other. Think there is a tad bit of overreaction here klads – i mean you didnt honestly think you were going to win something this season di you?

    I mean this is the year of transtiton isn’t it? Next year is your year that when the young gunners will grow up – oh wait havent we been hearing this for the past five years

  • hainalt

    @Terry – can you please piss of to your united website – thanks

  • Simon

    If we can win one of the remaining competitions available to us, then it would be reasonable to argue that they have indeed responded to the disappointment of The Carling Cup Final. Conversely, there is the concern that they have again failed to convert promise into silverware and that they simply do not have the wherewithal to cross the finishing line as victors.

    My view is that there is little to be gained in attending games for the remainder of the season with a sense that it is anything but counter productive to deride the players. There are forums which are appropriate for the purpose of raising genuine concerns. Equally, those whose responses are of the “Whinge, whinge, moan…” or “Go and support Spurs…” variety would better convince me that there are not issues needing to be addressed in the summer, if they supported their argument beyond such oft heard repost.

    I am not the only one to have raised concerns about the strength in depth of the squad and inability to replace key figures when the need arises – succinctly evidenced by Cesc’s absence at Wembley. However, there are just over three months before any additional resources can be introduced. Until then, I would like to see Aaron Ramsey’s involvement increase on a judicious basis and also Jens Lehmann’s distinctive influence in ensuring that Szczesny marshals his defence to ensure no repeat of an infamous humiliation.

    Importantly, in the time remaining before the end of this campaign – when Arsene Wenger has acknowledged that he must accept judgment – we the supporters should continue to encourage those who represent our footballing aspirations. Not blindly, nor without constructive comment, but nevertheless wholeheartedly during the games forming the basis upon which conclusions may be drawn. Illustrious nights like the win over Barcelona are somehow more validated by the awfulness of defeat on other occasions – to fully appreciate one, you have to have suffered the reverse – although the hope is, not too often.

    Of this I am certain: whilst I hope that we do collect the silverware necessary to diminish the horror of this particular episode; if we do not, then it is very much time for a rethink in the summer – either in terms of technical input and techniques adopted or personnel – or both. The Club has no divine right to win trophies, but neither should it expect fans to continually subsidise an ever evolving and expensively underachieving experiment. The jury is out and if this really is the best squad which Arsene Wenger has worked with, then I very much hope that we can return in May to deliver a positive verdict.

    If it transpires that he needs to make significant changes, then I hope that Arsene Wenger is realistic enough and shows sufficient humility to do so. Somewhere between the positions of the so called AKBs and AMGs resides the reality of this situation. We need to reward our best players and backroom staff, including the likes of Steve Rowley, without extending the same benefits to those who may be less deserving. There are sufficient challenges looming to separate the chaff from the wheat and for those involved to work themselves into the future of this Club.

    Should that future incorporate new ownership in the coming months, I suspect that there will be far less sympathy or patience shown than may be currently afforded. At present, the Club can no longer deny that its fan base are neither unilateral in their unquestioning support; nor that there is not an increasing urgency for definable success – which for the avoidance of doubt means a major trophy.

    For now, that chance has been squandered. There is yet time to retrieve our season. Insofar as we can control events on the pitch, we need to make sure that we do our bit, from the appearance of the first player warming up until the exit of the last at full time. The players, for their part, need to understand their responsibility and offer every possible encouragement to get behind them.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Simon

    One of the best posts I’ve read in ages, mate.

    Well said!

  • terry mate, with respect for your contribution, please go now and try to figure with your mates why you couldn’t even reach semifinals of cup we lost in finals.

  • InvincibleXI

    It’s a terrible disappointment to have thrown away that cup, but we can get over it- assuming RVP is not out too long. Ultimately, it was the least important trophy, though any trophy is desperately needed. The team outplayed Birmingham, but not by very much, and when Arsenal do that they win about 40% of the time (on the other hand when they are outplayed, even by a little, they almost never win). I think it’s fair to say that their goal was mostly a fluke, a mess-up similar to Gibbs slip against United. It’s the risk you face when you field a young team, I just wish these slips happened in games where we were 6-0 up rather than these horrible moments. Ultimately, we have to realise that despite how disappointingly we played, it was a bit of bad fortune (yes, stupidity too from the backline) that ended our hopes. As an Arsenal fan I think we all get used to never having the rub of the green.

    This team have an eminently winnable next fixture against Leyton, and if it’s true that Fabregas will be back after that, then Sunderland will hopefully not be too much of a risk either. We need to use these two games to pick up momentum again for the critical fixture at the Nou Camp. If we have most of our players back (Vermaelen even?) we’ll stand a great chance to progress. And if we do so, then I’m very confident against United (who have some tough games too). But on the other hand, this is also a splendid opportunity for this team to implode, under immense pressure. If everything goes wrong, our season could end in March. We’ve seen that before, and we just have to hope it doesn’t happen again. If it doesn’t, we will have another great chance to win a prize, because in theory, if we knock either United or Barcelona out, we will be favourites for that trophy- not of course that we aren’t capable of throwing it away.

    Maybe it’s just blind confidence speaking, but barring more injury crises, I still think we’re well placed for a great season. There’s only one appropriate response to a loss like that for a fan…to get behind the team.

    We’ll be back to win the Champions League.
    We’ll be back, we’ll be back
    We’ll be back to win the Champions League

  • critic

    @simon
    what new strategy would u wish for? Arsenal is not rich enough to buy a whole new team. But yes there’s a dire need in change in the way we defend, some imagination in set pieces. I agree with u on most of the post though.

    One thing, untold is not good enough to do a constructive criticism.

  • hainalt

    @simon – Wenger’s had years to sort this out and you reckon he’s suddenly gonna overhaul our squad in the summer? No chance – he’ll be shacked up with his Algerian piece, with the phone off the hook. Besdies, you only have to look on here to see there are plenty of “fans” who remain totally apathetic and complacent, who’ll bow and scrape no matter what AW does (or doesn’t) do.

  • Yommex

    The natural reaction at a time like this is to throw the baby away with the dirty water, but on second thought, one should look at the fact that progress is being made by the team. By way of choice, how many of us would be satisfied with losing to Stoke and winning the CC? It seems a good option but it would more or less have effectively ruled us out of the epl this year. What makes a title winning side is not the victory or loss of just one match but their ability to keep going after a blip like the one we just experienced. Barcelona just showed that the loss of a match is not enough to derail their season. Let’s focus on the big one by keeping the pressure on Manchester United. A win against Sunderland and a defeat by ManU against Chelsea puts on us right in the hunt for the title straightaway. Having said this, I think Wenger needs to be tougher with the players by making them realise the need for then to take reponsibility. Players should be axed on the strength of below par performance and not pampered all the time. They should be made to realise what an honour it is for them to be an Arsenal player.