Arsenal (1) – (2) Birmingham City
van Persie (39′)
Wembley Stadium, London
What a f*cking joke of a final.
How do you put that into words?
For weeks now Arsenal have been telling us that the Carling Cup will be the first major step to bigger things. And what happens, we f*ck it up.
As it stands now, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that losing the Carling Cup Final could be the turning point of our season where we collapse and go into free-fall.
The problem is the final today didn’t just represent a trophy for Arsenal. Winning the cup would (to a certain degree) justify Arsene’s whole ethos on football which is based on youth and a beautiful style of football. This was the first stepping stone of honours after 7 baron years at the club. It represented the faith Arsene had in his players and most importantly would have given the fans what they had been yearning for over the last 7 seasons – winning something.
But all that was literally tossed away in a performance which will leave the vast majority of Arsenal fans feeling angry, confused, disappointed and if you’re like me, in a state of despair.
You can talk about mistakes and blame but the bottom line is football is team game and collectively, Arsenal were not good enough and I hate to say it, but Birmingham were worthy winners. With all due respect to Birmingham, on paper we should have lifted the Carling Cup but the fact was they had more desire, discipline and intelligence in their play.
We lost the contest, and therefore the final, in every department. The facts are that:
- Without Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal are useless.
- Jack Wilshere, a player that has only just turned 19, is our best player and has been carrying the team recently.
- Andrei Arshavin should have never started ahead of Bendtner.
- Arsenal bottled it. The pressure of winning their first trophy got to the players and they performed well below par.
- This Arsenal team is full of losers. The players are rewarded for failure and they don’t know how to win. New and improved contracts year after year for not actually delivering trophies.
- Samir Nasri is wasted wide and should have played in the Fabregas position.
- Arsene Wenger should have “bollocked” the players a la Anfield but obviously never did.
- Birmingham never had to play well to beat us.
The players performed like they were scared. In the big games, Arsenal blow it, and that’s why they’ve been trophy-less for the last 7 seasons. In the Carling Cup Final, a competition that you would refer to as the least prestigious they couldn’t get the job done. You seriously have to ask whether a team with this kind of mental fragility can really win any of the major honours. If this Arsenal team can’t beat Birmingham to win the Carling Cup, do you honestly believe that they have the balls to win a Champions League Final? Or that they can win on a cold Saturday afternoon and pick up the vital 3 points they need to seal the Premiership? When the pressure is on, this Arsenal team bottle it.
Arsenal are full of bottlers and losers. They will play pretty football but in the end lose spectacularly. The know how to play good football and score goals, but ask them to get a job done and they can’t. Wenger doesn’t lay into his players and they don’t care if they lose. Losing is acceptable at Arsenal and it’s their culture. People compare us to Barcelona but that team is full of players that know how to win. That’s the biggest difference – we have no winning mentality.
Arsene always talks about mental strength but no-one apart from Cesc and van Persie have it. They are born winners in a squad full of losers. I’ve said before that Manchester United have an uninspiring squad but the fact is that although they probably have the weakest squad they’ve ever had under Alex Ferguson, they’re all winners. From the stars to the regulars, all the way to the reserves, they are mentally all winners. And that is instilled by the manager. You know Fergie wouldn’t think twice about bollocking his players and that’s what these overpaid footballers need from time to time. At Arsenal though, the players are mollycoddled and pampered like little children.
Something major needs to change if Arsenal are ever going to add to their trophy collection.
Wojciech Szczesny: 5/10
Could have done better on the first goal and the less said about the second the better.
Bacary Sagna: 6/10
Made a sloppy pass which lead to Birmingham hitting the post but was up and down the right hand side throughout the game.
Johan Djourou: 6/10
Defended well at times but was bullied by Zigic throughout.
Laurent Koscielny: 5/10
Should have put his foot right through that ball. But collectively the team played poorly so I’m not going to single him out for any specific criticism.
Gael Clichy: 6/10
Got done by Stephen Carr and Sebastian Larsson far too many times.
Alexandre Song: 5/10
Largely ineffective and found it hard to stop the numerous Birmingham attacks.
Jack Wilshere: 8/10
Kept the team ticking and tried to get Arsenal to play. Unlucky with a decent shot from distance but was relied on far too much.
Tomas Rosicky: 5/10
I love Tomas but he was awful today, even worse than Arshavin which is saying something.
Samir Nasri: 7/10
Completely wasted out wide and played like he was out of position. Had glimpses of creativity and was Arsenal’s biggest threat.
Andrei Arshavin: 5/10
Honestly, does he give a shit?
Robin van Persie: 7/10
Great equaliser but had no service.
Nicklas Bendtner (replaced van Persie 69â€²): 6/10
Looked bright when he came on, and gave Foster a couple of saves to make. Should have started.
Marouane Chamakh (replaced Arshavin 77â€²): 6/10
Tried to make a difference but didn’t have a chance to impose himself.