With the FA Cup final only a week away now, Arsenal fans are reaching levels of excitement and nervousness that they haven’t experienced in a few years. Sure there was the Carling Cup against Birmingham but considering Arsene Wenger’s stance toward that competition over the years, it could never compare to the FA Cup. Now that the Gunners are back in business with a major final, the prospect of winning their first trophy in nine seasons has fans beside themselves with excitement.
As ever though, with Arsenal there can’t help but be a bit of nervousness and many fans are trying to contain their emotions and keep expectations low. No Gooner thinks the unthinkable could really happen but then, no one thought it could happen in 2009 and a combination of Szczesny, Koscielny and Obafemi Martins proved them wrong. Losing doesn’t bear thinking about, so let’s concentrate on the positives, what winning on Sunday would do for Arsenal.
1) Getting that winning feeling back, something that has been missing at Arsenal ever since Viera slotted away his penalty to beat United in 2005, would be a vital step in helping this new Arsenal team progress. At the core of this Arsenal team is a group of young talented players who are developing well and showing great potential. Finally adding a major trophy to their list of achievements would bring the group even close together and give them the confidence that they need to compete at the top every season. Plus it would help many banish the memories of that loss to Birmingham and that nagging feeling that they bottle it when the going gets tough.
2) For once, in a long time Arsenal have not got an unhappy big player looking to leave to win trophies somewhere else. With Koscielny, Rosicky, Mertesacker and Ramsey having signed new contracts the team finally has something to build on from the previous season. Not only would a trophy help the team’s development in terms of confidence but it would also increase Arsenal’s attractiveness as a destination for world class players. Signing Özil proved that they can deal with the big boys again and if they were to win a trophy not only would that justify Özil’s decision but it would only help convince other players that Arsenal means business. All they need now is for Sagna to commit to a new deal.
3) Last of all, it would end this eight year, much talked about, much suffered major title drought. A period that has grown painfully humiliating for everyone associated with the club. At the start of the season, after the loss to Aston Villa they seemed to be drifting toward the same fourth place mediocrity that has become Wenger’s “trophy” over the years. Now having had a brush with the league title and being so close to the FA Cup, this season could yet be a real success.