If anyone needed convincing that Arsene Wenger was going in the right direction with his young project then this surely was the answer.
Although Arsenal lost the match the club is looking well on the way to winning the war with a very healthy looking future ahead of us.
I'm not bothered about us not winning the Carling cup but I am disappointed that our young players looked so good against a full strength Chelsea team and managed to out play them for such long periods of the game, take the lead and not come away with victory.
Wenger seems to have created a mirror image from the first team with the young players having all the exact strengths and weaknesses. Diaby, Denilson, Aliadiere etc are all good at moving the ball around, getting into positions to receive the ball pretty much what you find with Rosicky, Hleb, Cesc. The trouble is that we don't have enough goal threat.
We don't have players who are born to score goals, anyone with a natural instinct.
Julio Baptista who I think has some of that natural instinct looked out of his depth once again. He is a powerful, clumsy goalscorer who is bang in the middle of a very high level technical team who play at speed. And it looks as if he is finding it difficult to fit in. I was very surprised and not best pleased to see Baptista stay on the pitch ahead of Aliadiere to make way for Adebayor.
Arsenal's central midfield is looking like it could be the very best in Europe in a year or two.
Abou Diaby who has been in and out since that terrible ankle injury from that lovely fella Dan Smith at Sunderland was best midfielder on the pitch against the likes of Lampard, Ballack, Essien and Makelele. The one thing he brings to our midfield is real drive with the ball as Patrick Vieira used to do before him.
It was Diaby's quick feet that played a major part in the first goal of this enthralling match. Walcott picked up the ball about 35 yards from goal and fed the ball across to Diaby who side stepped Drogba and played a perfect through ball to Walcott.
If Diaby can continue improving and producing displays like that then Wenger is really going to have to start scratching his head about how he is going to fit our midfield together.
Theo Walcott opened his account for Arsenal in true Walcott fashion. He has already shown this kind of finishing ability for the England u21's and for his former club Southampton.
In recent weeks Walcott's form has really dipped and he has lacked confidence. He is playing out wide on the right and he is not beating fullbacks. He was currently playing everything very simple and even that was proving a little difficult. This time Theo broke away from the right wing and drifted inside to the center. It was from there that we saw what Theo Walcott is all about. There has been alot of comparisons to Thierry Henry since he arrived but like Jamie Redknapp pointed out I think he looks alot like a young Michael Owen.
Walcott is not the most technically gifted player, he is not Messi, Ronaldo or Fabregas. But he is one of those players who knows how to slip the ball past the goalkeeper. We may not see this on a consistent basis until Wenger decides Theo is ready to be a first team regular upfront. For now he has to improve the part of the game that is lacking.
Phillip Senderos had another tough game against the inform Drogba who was played onside by the Swiss international to equalise then out jumped him to head the winner with a fantastic header. Senderos is either fantastic or shaky, but I guess that is his age. Tony Adams was very clumsy and 'donkey' like in his teens and look what he became. Not saying for one moment that Senderos will be another Adams but he could be the closest thing to him in the future.
The so called brawl was nothing to get carried away with. Kolo Toure should have known better, maybe being captain for the day made him overreact the way he did. The rest was handbags. Eboue and Bridge were both wrong, 1 for raising his hands the other for being a cheat. I hate when people talk about 'foreign' players diving and cheating when there is plenty of it from the likes of Bridge, Rooney, Owen etc.
Basically the final was changed by Diaby going off injured and Robben coming on for Chelsea. Its quite clear that he makes so much more of an impact than Shevchenko will ever make in a Chelsea shirt. Arsenal could not quite pull off the fairy tell ending, Drogba was the difference. The good news is that we should see alot more finals with this group of players. Maybe next year we will be talking about Fran Merida, Henri Lansbury and the rest of the next production line of talent who may go on to win the final.