I am all over the place this morning. Part-time furlough will do that to you. Do not know whether I am coming our going!
Hopefully by now you all have your FA Cup final plans sorted.
I will be doing the same as I did for the semi-final. The lads I regularly go with coming mine. BBQ. Beer. Football.
Chelsea are very slight favourites for the final. How close the odds are might surprise some considering they finished 10 points ahead in the league. But it is the form of Arsenal since Mikel Arteta which narrows the gap.
Since Arteta’s first game against Bournemouth on 26th December for the , Chelsea won 34 points in 20 games. Arteta’s Arsenal 33 points.
I have continually bashed on that Arsenal are a top 6 team that were coached poorly for the first half of the season – firstly under Unai Emery and then Freddie Ljungberg.
No blame can be put at Ljungberg’s feet. The problem was the board took 5 games between sacking Emery and bringing in Arteta.
In that 5 games we got 5 points. How different would our season have been if we had have got Arteta in the day after Emery left. Like Spurs did replacing Pochettino with Mourinho. I am certain we would have finished in a European spot. Maybe even challenged 5th.
So we face Chelsea in the final we double figure points between us in the league, but the gap is narrower in reality.
Arteta has faced Chelsea twice since he took over.
The first game was 3 days after Arteta took the helm. Chelsea won 2-1. But the result did not reflect the performance.
Arsenal were winning 1-0 with 7 minutes to go, before Jorginho and Tammy Abraham scored to steal the victory away.
3 minutes before Jorginho’s goal, he pulled back Matteo Guendouzi.
The Brazilian had already been booked and it was a blatant yellow card, which would have been his 2nd equalling a red.
Referee Craig Pawson had already shown 7 yellow cards, a couple of which were for pulling back an opponent. He bottled sending off Jorginho. What sums it up is Alexandre Lacazette was booked for protesting too much!
In the away game at Stamford Bridge, David Luiz was sent off after just 26 minutes. Chelsea scored from the resulting penalty before Gabriel Martinelli equalised.
Chelsea went 2-1 up with 6 minutes to go before Hector Bellerin scored 3 minutes later.
In years go by, down to 10 men after 26 minutes, Arsenal would have conceded 5 or 6. To come away from the Bridge with a point was seen as a bit of a victory.
So over 2 games against Chelsea, Arsenal have been the better side.
I am quietly confident about Saturday.