Here we go. The big one. The Europa League final. The success of our season rides on this one game. Win, and it’s fancy players and the hope we can move up a level next season. Lose, we watch a Europa League manager do his thing on a budget all summer long. Those cold sweat Banega/Nzonzi/Gameiro nightmares will become Freddy Krueger levels of reality.
One of the biggest selection questions we have this evening is whether Petr Cech plays, the manager seems to be leaning in an uncomfortable direction.
“I respect him a lot. His career is amazing. First, like a person and second like a professional goalkeeper, I think he deserved us to trust in him. Not because I am saying to you here, but because his career says to us that he is a gentleman. Tomorrow he can start or cannot start. I am going to decide. But both for him is done with respect. Really, I think how can we not believe in him?”
I love a romantic story and I love Petr Cech. The greatest goalkeeper in Premier League history. He was such an outrageous pro back in the day. Literally a brick wall.
… but this is elite sport. Fine margins. 2% here or there. The reality of Cech is he’s our second best goalkeeper. The second reality is that he’s pretty much nailed on to be Chelsea’s new Sporting Director. There is no line of business that involves proper money and talent that would allow him to lead or present if he were already committed to someone else. It’s called gardening leave my darlings.
The manager kind of hinted the final choice wasn’t cut and shut.
‘I want to do something important with him in the last moment of his career – and this has been my conversation with him, playing or not playing. We want to win for us.’
There is no longer a decision to be made. Sentimentality didn’t win us the 2008 league cup final. We are not obligated to provide a romantic end to his illustrious career. If there is something nice to be done, buy a gold watch or get a banging Cookie Cake from Lakeside. Don’t risk the future of our club on someone that’s retiring to the enemy.
Football is the Serengeti, no one cares how many antelope you mauled, no one gives a fuck about the cubs you fathered… when push comes to shove, Scar is always going to be there, ready to shove you off the cliff into the abyss. Hakuna Matata is for meerkats, songful wild boar, and cucks… NOT KINGS OF THE FUCKING EAST AFRICAN PLAINS.
(Auba is west Africa, but my sources say he’d easily be adult SIMBA if he was part of my metaphorical east African Disney metaphor for ElITE football)
If Emery plays Leno and he rolls the ball into his own net, no one will blame him for playing one of the players of the season, and arguably, one of the best keepers in the league. Play Cech and lose, mistake or no mistake, people are going to gun for the manager. Cech’s very selection would be a black mark against Emery’s decision making and backbone.
Also worth noting that Cech slated the low-pressure environment at Arsenal.
“I completely disagree with people who say, ‘When you pressure comes, [you don’t win]’. No. I think we lose points where there is not enough pressure. So, we went to Everton [on April 7]. You know you win, you go third… you lose, you stay fourth. We lost. That week with Wolves [losing at Molineux, either side of defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester], it was the same situation.
“There was always a cushion, there was always, ‘It is not such a disaster’. We should probably create more pressure on everybody because that would give people more to think about.
I agree with the above. Unai should show him what a high-pressure environment looks like because the above can’t all be on Wenger. Make no mistake, you can change a culture in a year. We need a strong call. Our new man needs to show his teeth, just like his heroes Pep, Simeone, and Jose would do.
They’d all pick Leno, no doubt.
I thought it was slightly odd for Emery to be talking about how he mismanaged Aaron Ramsey’s fitness (what did I tell you?), but whatever. We need to stop dissecting the issue and move on. We didn’t want to pay the money he was after, so we yanked the deal, let’s accept the consequences like adults and hope there’s a good plan to replace.
Chelsea news is looking spectacularly shite for them. Hudson-Odoi is injured, can you believe it, I even wrote about it a month ago, what a fucking dunce I am.
Total banter is Sarri seems to be having a meltdown about his future.
“For me, at the beginning of the season, it was really very difficult to understand my players, to understand the mentality. But, after a very difficult month in January, in February they started to change. Or probably I changed, I don’t know. In this moment I love them because I have 20-22 wonderful men and wonderful players. So now I’m really very happy with them. I have to consider the future. And I have to consider that I love English football, I love the Premier League.”
Very good. He also threw a tantrum at the end of his final session.
Sarri is understood to have been unhappy that the team’s final training session was open to observers, as per Uefa’s stipulation. A Chelseaspokesman said: “Maurizio’s frustration displayed at the end of training was not related to any of his players, but was due to not being able to practise set-plays in the final 15 minutes of the hour-long training session as it remained open to media.”
There was presumably exasperation, too, that N’Golo Kanté had been limited to around half an hour of gentle running with a physio. The knee injury picked up at Cobham on Saturday is likely to see him start the final on the bench at best. The midfielder spoke at length with the medical director, Paco Biosca, on the pitch before going inside for further treatment. Sarri had earlier rated his involvement as “50-50”.
This is either unreal mind games, or he’s just pissed the club will sack him if it goes badly tonight. The Kante news for me feels pretty real, he’s injured. Bench him and it’s bad news for them, start him and there’s a huge risk of doubling down on his injury (literally what Emery said happened with Aaron). Sure, he’s not playing his best position, but he’s still a World Cup winner they don’t have on the pitch.
This game is going to be huge. We have two of the most potent strikers in world football to feed. We have one of the greatest creators the game has ever seen, hoping to show that he cares. Laurent Koscielny, a great servant of the club, is likely manning his last ever major final for Arsenal as captain (god help us if we go super-cuck and give it to Petr). LT looks fit and raring. Someone has the chance to be a hero against Hazard. Unai Emery has the opportunity to take his season from ‘meh’ to, ‘ohhhh, maybe?’
If Arsenal approach this game like we did the Spurs match in December, we’ll be a huge problem for Sarri. If we head into this game thinking Emery’s success in the tournament somehow gives us a divine right to win, we’re fucked.
Regardless of your confidence, Chelsea are the better side.
… but this is a cup game. Last time we played Chelsea in a cup final we KNEW we’d lose, we dropped an absolute classic of a game, and won like heroes.
We need some of that magic tomorrow.
This game is monumental for our future, our reputation, and our pride.
COME ON ARSENAL, MAKE US PROUD!
See you in the comments x
❤️ “Hi boys, I am thinking of you. An amazing game is coming. I want to wish you all the best for the game – and bring the trophy home please!
“Come on boys, I miss you my friends!”
🥰 @19SCazorla is going to be right behind us tomorrow night
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 28, 2019