Search

All Guns Blazing: Arsenal’s FA Cup anticipation is a double-edged sword

14:56 07 May 2014

Arsenal

Arsenal's Bacary Sagna (left) and Jack Wilshere on the pitch after the final whistle

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Arsenal supporter Alex Bellotti looks towards the FA Cup final and says goodbye to Bacary Sagna in our weekly fan column

Thanks to Man City’s despatching of Everton on Saturday evening, Arsenal’s game against West Brom was the sort of carefree lunchtime jaunt I can’t remember experiencing for some time.

While every one of us would switch it for the unbearable intensity of still competing for the title, it made a nice change from our previous two seasons, which have seen tense last day shoot-outs with Tottenham for that much-vaunted Champions League spot.

The game itself was played at a saunter and all minds were clearly already turned to Wembley. It’s been nice again to hear those lovely lines of She Wore A Yellow Ribbon and even Jack Wilshere joined in the fun as his toddler came out wearing said accessory for their post-match lap of appreciation.

Yet, as we all know from Liverpool’s utterly hilarious capitulation against Crystal Palace on Monday – Luis Suarez has never been so watchable – if there’s one polar opposite to the euphoria of winning, it’s the humiliation of watching fans of other clubs laughing in your bleary-eyed face. Because of Arsenal’s well-publicised trophy drought, the potential decibels of such laughter will be enough to break the windows of every house around Islington if we lose the final.

Arsenal’s capacity for disaster is worryingly large and given our recent record, Arsene Wenger’s rather self-assured promise that he will sign a new contract seems potentially premature.

Like many, my standpoint on his future is rather torn, but should the FA Cup slip away from us, the climate amongst Gooners will surely make it very difficult for him to follow through on his promise without a major backlash. Let’s just hope that scenario never materialises.

Finally, a word for Bacary Sagna, whose appearance on Sunday looked to be his last at the Emirates. Much like his career in the famous red and white, his goodbye was understated and professional, but I struggle to think of a single right-back in the league who has been as consistently effective over the last seven years.

In an age where it’s become the vogue for full-backs to mask their defensive inefficiencies with pacy, attacking instincts, his ability to combine both arts to a high level really does make him difficult to replace. While it would be a shame to see him at a Premier League rival, such has been his prior commitment to the Gunners that you couldn’t even begrudge him then. Goodbye Bacary and good luck.

Follow me @AlexBellotti

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Sport Stories

Mauricio Pochettino. Pic: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Mauricio Pochettino admits his Tottenham tenure has not started as smoothly as he imagined in the summer, but he insists he has the support of chairman Daniel Levy.

Kyle Walker of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Mauricio Pochettino says Kyle Walker has returned to training and could return in December – but the Spurs boss has injury concerns ahead of Sunday’s trip to Hull.

Thu, 09:00
Highgate Harriers' Ryan McKinlay (right) finishes in a dead heat with his good friend Tom Beedell. Pic: Martyn Loach

Highgate Harriers’ Ryan McKinlay made a passionate plea to be allowed to enter a “historically significant race” on Sunday – and he ended up coming joint first after a dead heat with his good friend Tom Beedell.

Most read sport

The final GP in the UAE may not have been a thriller, but it did kind of sum up the season for a lot of drivers.

Protesters have been warned they are banned from setting up camp at the landmark.

John Cantlie features in the new IS video, in which he talks about a recent failed military attack.

From Britain First’s Facebook posts, you would assume they’d won the Rochester by-election. They didn’t, but they’re claiming it anyway.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition