That is the task that is faced by Arsene Wenger and his coaching staff. They need to lift the players again after such an emotional defeat. Don’t give me that crap about us not caring about the cup, that it is only the Mickey Mouse club. We’ll think that way when we go out in the Fourth Round or the Quarterfinals. But when we’re in the final of the competition, playing in Wembley and putting out the best side that we can, a defeat hurts.
The best way to do that is to immediately put the doubts out. That can only happen with competitive matches. Luckily for us, Arsenal has fixture congestion. That means we play just 3 days after the Carling Cup final. For the players, it means that they return to training today with the focus on another game. When you’ve got to work hard in training in preparation for the next game, it helps to turn our attention away from the defeat.
It’s over now, the final. Let’s move on from there because we are still in 3 other competition and must beat Leyton Orient tomorrow to retain our hopes of winning the FA Cup. The Arsenal side has done tremendously well up to this point. Of course there are the occasional bloopers here and there. Significantly enough, it happened in a cup final. But we must not forget the great strides that the team has taken this season.
They say we can longer use the term young players without experience, when referring to this Arsenal side. How we perform from now until the end of the season will determine whether it is right to disregard that fact. Latest financial results has shown that we made small operating loss in the first half of the season. Mainly due to the fact that we sold none of our players in the summer or in January. The team has grown up together and has now at least 2-3 seasons of being first team in a highly demanding surrounding.
Has our patience wore off? Not for me. I still retain great belief in our team and that of the managerial capacity of Wenger. We have to look at it with some perspective. Even though we were only mathematically out the title race by end of April, we all knew the chances are slim very early on, despite the countless times we managed to reign in on Chelsea.
This season up to this point, we are doing much much better than last season. I’m not sure whether the statistics will back me up but surely you also great with me when I say that we can take much pride from what we have achieved thus far. We have not have weeks of downward slides unlike seasons before. Those defeats to Newcastle and WBA are one-off. The squad is looking far more solid than it did last season.
Although that last point might chance with the latest available news. Robin Van Persie has been declared to be out for 3 weeks with a knee problem. That came when he scored the equaliser on Sunday. It is a big blow to the team, considering that RvP is the most in form striker in this league since the turn of the year. I’m not kidding you when I say we could’ve used in at Nou Camp next week. On the flip side, Cesc Fabregas might be able to make that match.
While we were grudging being forced into a replay against Orient, the way things stand at the moment, I’m glad we have a match to play tomorrow. It’s time for the players (whether they played on Sunday or not) to show us that they are still up for it this season, mentally and psychically. Match preview tomorrow.