It is FA Cup final eve and I am starting to get very excited about the possibilities of tomorrow.
Mikel Arteta gave a very good press conference, he looked calm, and he sounds very confident of having a good day.
Chelsea, who we just LOVE to play in finals, will be a tough game whoever players, but there are reports that Kante and Willian may both be missing for the game. The Brazilian, who has been linked heavily with Arsenal, has been pretty lethal since the restart. Kante is just an incredible player that you’d rather be on the bench.
There are no major injury issues we don’t know about. The biggest worry is going to be that we don’t have Mustafi for the final, he really has been pretty additive to our defensive structure, the idea of going with Luiz and Holding isn’t particularly reassuring, but it is what it is.
Two players we know won’t be there are Matteo and Ozil. The Frenchman isn’t training with us at the moment and Ozil is apparently in Turkey. There’s a story doing the rounds that Barca want us to take Coutinho for £9m and take Guen the other way. Someone was hinting that Arsenal might do one of those accounting tricks Barca did with Juve where they massively overstate the value of the player to book cashflow. That bit certainly wasn’t in the paper.
Coutinho for £9m? I mean, he’s a very good player, I’m just not sure I am thrilled by it. Still, for a club sitting in 8th in the league, it’s hard not to admit that he is better than anything we currently have in the squad from an attacking perspective. There’s also the reality that those sort of signings probably make the senior players in the squad purr.
Back to the FA Cup. Tomorrow is about making memories. Good ones that help bond the squad and build trust with the manager. That is outrageously important for a squad that has lots of young players. Mikel was part of our first trophy in a long while back in the day, he’s hoping to replicate that tomorrow.
“Absolutely. I’ve got pictures, memories, a lot of moments that made that day really nice. I think we have to understand the context of club was – I think eight or 10 years – without a trophy. We wanted to do it for everyone, for the club, for our fans, for Arsene as well who was handling the situation really well. We knew how important it was for him and it generated really good connection between the club, players and fans. The next day was beautiful, the celebrations with all our people in the streets, so great memories.”
We have a history with Chelsea and sadly, last year, we really let ourselves down under Emery. The team weren’t focused, prepared, or in good form. I think tomorrow will be a bit different. The team you will see will have an idea of what they need to do to win, they’ll likely be a lot more motivated than they were in the Premier League last week, and I suspect we’re going to cause Chelsea problems. That said, it’s clear they are in good shape under Frank Lampard and they will certainly get better now they can spend again.
“I don’t know how they are structured or what the resources are for them. Obviously you can see the squad they have at the moment, the amount of players that they have, the quality of the players that they have and the good work that they are doing. We have some really good players as well, we are a good squad and we are an incredible club so I think we are in a good position.”
I’ve heard the players at Chelsea love Frank Lampard, he’s a legend, extremely passionate, and he’s shown himself to be sharp tactically at times this season. He’s certainly no pushover and the hope there is that he becomes the next big thing.
It’s a similar vibe at Arsenal. Let the manager grow with the squad and make a new kind of history. This final is about two young coaches looking to make their way with young players.
Arteta also let the press conference know that he’s been chatting to the big man, Arsene.
“No I haven’t been in touch with him [this week].
“I have been in touch a few times in the last few months with him, but not before the final.
“It is a private conversation. It is great to have him on board, he gives you great advice and just talking to him, he has such knowledge, he is such an intelligent person, just knowing he is there that just knowing he is there and he is going to be supporting us and supporting me, I feel calmer.
“I think in the football world, you can talk about anything with him. You just have to learn, get the book out and take some notes.”
I can’t wait for tomorrow.
I’ll be back with thoughts on the game tomorrow morning. Have an excellent day! x