Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea – 18/04/09 – (FA Cup) 19 April, 2009Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
It’s all over for another season then and a disappointing day out to Wembley ends in defeat for Arsenal. It’s a game we’d all been looking forward to for a long time but it wasn’t to be. A lot has been said about Arsene Wenger’s team selection and I have to admit I wasn’t happy with it, but I’ll go into that in a minute.
My day started at 9:15 catching the coach from Bournemouth up to London. I was home by lunch time but my train back to the house meant going right past Wembley. I was desperate to just drop off my bag and head straight back in again, I was buzzing.
So I headed back down on the train to Wembley Park, walking out of the station it really hit that we had made it. There I met Gilbertosilver, went for a bit food then went and joined a group of Gooners outside a bar for a bit of singing.
It really felt like it was cup final day – the atmosphere, the setting and the mood all said this was more than just a semi final. I was getting itchy feet outside the bar and after a while we decided to make our way up Wembley Way.
On our walk over to the famous trail news of the team filtered through. No Arshavin? No Nasri?? I couldn’t believe that neither of them were in the side. Was good to see Gibbs had made it but when the defence had been bothering me all week is was now the attack that had me worried.
It seemed like the day was made for the Russian and he was on the bench. Very confused and somewhat frustrated.
Anyway, we made our way up Wembley Way and by now it was full of Gooners and Chavs, red and blue side by side walking up to the stadium.
I was getting goosebumps and to be honest was feeling quite nervous about the game ahead of us. It was a massive occasion and nobody wanted to be walking back down towards the station later that evening knowing they wouldn’t be coming back in a month’s time. When we finally made it into the ground this was the view I was greeted with:
I was sitting in the Club Wembley section, basically like the Club Level at Arsenal so I was with a mixture of fans but at least I was in the Arsenal end. I would’ve loved to be sitting below me with all the Gooners but I was just glad to have made it.
Even after the warm up it was clear to see the Wembley turf already cutting up. How it would look after a large portion of the game was a bit worrying. After a little opening ceremony the game kicked off.
The game was quite open; neither side really had taken hold of the game. However we were given a taste of our worrying defence just a few minutes in when Fabianski made a crazed run out to try beat Drogba to a header. He lost and the ball was heading towards goal, luckily Gibbs was tracking back and managed to clear it away.
I was hoping we could get an early goal to get comfortable and we did in the 18th minute. It came from that man again, Theo Walcott. He’s been playing really well recently and had another big impact yesterday. I was thinking before the game about putting money on him as first goal scorer, bloody wish I did now!
I was expecting Walcott’s pace to cause Chelsea problems but it was more his positioning that gave us the lead this time. The move started out on the left, Ade put Gibbs through and his deep cross was taken well by Walcott. He shot across the face of the goal taking a small deflection of Cashley’s hand but it was enough to confuse Cech and it was 1-0 to The Arsenal.
We always play much better when we open the scoring early so I hoped we could take control of the game. The goal had settled our nerves but never really dented Chelsea’s confidence and quarter of an hour later they had made it 1-1.
Malouda took down a cross field ball in the right hand side of the box, opened his body finding space away from Eboue to shoot low inside the near post. I had a perfect view of the goal and it was very disappointing to see. Eboue did not make it hard for him at all and Fabianski did not anticipate the shot well enough. Maybe if we had Sagna available for yesterday he would’ve never been allowed the chance to shoot but we’ll never know.
We were rattled and a few minutes later they nearly made it 2-1. Diaby was caught in possession in the box and Anelka’s low shot came off the post. Thank fuck.
We didn’t look quite right and I was happy to hear the half time whistle. We seemed to sort ourselves out in the break and it was an even game again in the second half. We were creating some decent chances; van Persie looked lively and had a few good shots. Chelsea looked a threat too but we were managing to keep them out.
Arshavin was finally brought on with 15 minutes to go however it was Robin van Persie being taken off. I couldn’t work out why and Robin didn’t look happy with the decision either. Later, Wenger said he had picked up a strain so lets hope its nothing serious.
A few minutes later, Adebayor was taken off which I just could not understand. Alright he wasn’t having the greatest game but with 10 minutes to go in a cup semi final and we’ve taken off our best two strikers? It seemed like Wenger had other games in mind and with extra time looming we had to keep players fresh.
Well the possibility of an extra half an hour was immediately gone when Drogba made it 2-1 with 7 minutes to go. I think it was Lampard who hoofed it up field and with Silvestre marking Drogba he never had a chance keeping up with him and in the end gave up. Fabianski saw this and felt like he had no choice but to rush out and try beat him to the ball. This made it easy for Drogba, he took a touch past the ‘keeper and slid it in the empty net.
We’ll be very disappointed with that goal but we had to deal with it. We now had just a few minutes left to try and equalize with Adebayor and van Persie sat on the bench. Samir Nasri was brought on for the disappointing Denilson but it was game over.
Eventually the final whistle came at it was the Gooners who had the walk back down Wembley Way knowing we won’t be back here until at least next year.
It was a sad way to go out against a Chelsea side that didn’t look quite at their best. Two long balls, two defensive mistakes and they’re through to the final. I’m sure if we hadn’t been so unlucky with injuries at the back this past couple of weeks we would’ve won yesterday.
There are a lot of people pissed of with Wenger’s team selection and substitutions yesterday. This game was made for Andrey Arshavin and he never got a chance. He had a rest in midweek with him being cup tied so the FA Cup was his big chance to impress this season. The only explanation is the high difference making Arsene play Diaby instead but even still I would risk that in favour of Arshavin’s attacking ability. I imagine he is pretty pissed off he wasn’t selected, all he’s got to play for now is securing 4th in the league.
Even without Arshavin we really should’ve had Nasri involved, to leave both out is just a joke. We played a 4-5-1 for most of the game with Diaby and van Persie occasionally roaming forward. I don’t think the system worked to be honest, Adebayor did not look comfortable up front on his own with no support.
I could go on and on about this game but this is becoming a very losng post. Next up we have Liverpool on Tuesday night, they will be fresh from not playing this weekend and after being knocked out of Europe last week they only have the league to play for. They will be well up for winning this game and put the pressure on Man United. We will have to be at our best to beat them.
Wenger could be tempted to rest players but I hope he doesn’t. I see no reason for it, if he wants to keep them fresh for United then bloody do it at ‘Boro next week. van Persie could sit out after his knock yesterday, which is fair enough, but if there is no Arshavin, or Nasri, or Walcott, or Adebayor or even Alex Song I’m not going to be happy.
I’ll probably have to preview the match tomorrow so we’ll talk more then. I’m off to get myself sorted as it’s back down to Bournemouth tonight. It’s going to involve getting the train past Wembley which I know is going to hurt.
I’m back up to London again on Friday and will be going to the ‘Boro game on the Sunday. Lets hope we’re back in good spirits between now and then.
Thanks for reading.