And what a fine morning it is; FA Cup final morning. It seems a long time since I have felt the excitement of FA Cup final day and god damn have I missed it. There is nothing quite like it; the sunny day, the cold beer and most importantly the sense of hope.
Today is quite like any other day I can remember in the past few years. We have had some near misses in finals and some calamitous performances as well, but on each of these occasions I have gone into the final with a feeling of dread. I was fearful of failure.
To some extent that is true today. I cannot fathom the possibility of losing to a Hull team who we so comprehensively we recently beat. Yet this feeling of dread is not quite the same. I on previous occasions felt we were a team capable of being beaten by anyone due to serious flaws. Today I truly believe we *should* win. No disrespect to Hull City but if we don’t win with our team and the experience we have, it would be an utter disaster.
I therefore feel slightly strange today because for the first time in a long time I expect us to win. Don’t get me wrong I am also just as worried that we will find a way to truly fuck this up in a fashion only an Arsenal team can muster, but I am confident. I am almost expectant and that fucking scares me.
The nerves are kicking in for me so I am just as sure that feeling is amplified emphatically in the players. There is a worry that the pressure of the occasion will get to us but lest not forget, surely our players are better suited to dealing with pressure than our opponents.
In terms of team news, nothing is certain but a huge talking point is the selection of the keeper. For me it is a no-brainer; Szczesny has to take the spot. I strongly believe the player who is likely to be our number one, for what could very possibly be the long term future, needs to play in this occasion. Whether it be to get that winners medal and mentality that hopefully comes with it, or to put to bed some unwanted skeletons in his closet from the Carling Cup. It is essential for me he plays over someone who is going to play for a team, in all likelihood, a competitor.
I expect the rest of the team to pick itself:
Sagna Mertesacker Koscienly Gibbs
Cazorla Ozil Podolski
The Hull team will be depleted certainly without their two best forwards in Long and Jelavic but one mustn’t forget that they got this far without them as well. They are going to approach the game without the intention of taking risks but putting a lot of pressure to dissuade us from playing our natural game.
I expect us to remain solid defensively and use the movement of Ramsey and the passing of Ozil to open them up. This is a game, all going well, we should go and win. I certainly hope so as I feel the consequences, from a fan perspective, will be incomprehensible.
Come on The Arsenal!