I thought the crushing defeat at Anfield last month meant that Arsenal’s whole season would implode within the space of a week or so. Although the reigning European Champions all but knocked us out of the Champions League, we got sweet revenge on Liverpool and progressed to the Quarter Final of the FA Cup so all was not lost. We also bounced back well in the league and was only a point off 1st position going into our match at Stoke. However, a flat performance from the Gunners resulted in a 1-0 loss at the Britannia and proved to me that Arsene Wenger’s men cannot collect the Premier League crown in May.
I went to the Emirates on Saturday knowing that a win for Arsenal was now more than ever a definite must. I was desperate for Wenger and co. to put all of our eggs in the FA Cup basket because we are virtually out of Europe (barring a miracle on Tuesday night) and overtaking Chelsea, who could be 10 points clear of us before we play our next league fixture, will be extremely difficult. That was the case as we fielded nearly our strongest side available and dispatched a very impressive Everton side 4-1.
Obviously, the team knew how much progression in the Cup would mean to both Arsenal fans and the club as a whole because players like Mesut Özil, who have dipped in form of late, stepped up to the plate. The German playmaker was very impressive with a goal and yet another assist. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla also were influential but if I’m being honest, nobody had a poor game. The win was, like the name of this blog, A Team Effort.
With Manchester City being dumped out, we now have an even bigger opportunity at ending our trophy drought. However, the job isn’t done yet as there are three potential banana skins left in Sheffield United, Hull City and Wigan Athletic. Our shock defeat in the 2011 League Cup final to Birmingham City proves that nothing can be taken for granted. Having said that, if we don’t leave Wembley with the trophy in May, I’ll be expecting resignations from Wenger and players alike.
By Glen Shorey