In 2005 as Patrick Vieira stroked in the winning penalty I breathed a sigh of relief, punched the air a little and headed quickly out of the Euston Flyer pub. My emotions quickly switched to disappointment as I looked back on a game where it felt like we were a mid-table team 'doing a job' on one of the best teams in world football. It certainly didn't feel like two evenly matched sides as they had been for at least 6 years prior. I didn't enjoy us getting battered and found it difficult to celebrate the victory. Looking back on it now I bet I became a little used to winning and winning in style. While the aim of the game is to win you may find me disagreeing with you if your view is that winning is more important than entertainment.
But my Gooner friends, there are exceptions. Take the final ten games of season 2012/13 those grinding victories were horrible viewing but making those final strides to reach the end of transition was the most important. I certainly wouldn't have been leaving the pub in a spoilt and grumpy mood had I have watched our '1-1' victory at Newcastle.
So while I am begging to the footballing gods that we score early and play Hull City off the pitch I would not turn my nose up at a 1-0 win with a goal bouncing off Mertesacker's left buttock and over the line as long as we win the cup today. Today winning is all that matters.
The players all seem to be pretty focused, driven and confident when interviewed which is good but talk is just talk. We will see how they do on the pitch. We froze a little in the semi final and did not have the freedom to express ourselves. We are in much better shape today though and Özil and Ramsey should be totally fit and sharp, which makes a huge difference.
I say this pretty much before every game and I'll say so again. I'd like us to start the game aggressively with and without the ball. Closing down at speed when we do not have it and when we do, move the ball quickly and inventively.
I am banking on Mesut Özil to make a big difference on the large Wembley pitch. The Hull City players will want to defend tightly but they will have to deal with Mesut who likes to find weak points in a parked bus and deflate the tires. Ok, that didn't quite work but you catch my drift I'm sure. I'd go as far as to say he will smash this world cup into pieces, well worth a cheeky punt at World Cup freebets.
So what of the team? Walcott aside we are pretty much at full strength so we have plenty of competition for places yet the team seems pretty set in stone. The only questions or part questions would be that of the leaving duo. The fanbase seems to be pretty split about Fabianski or Szczesny starting in goal. Fabianski has his bags packed ready go at the full time whistle while Bacary Sagna has his eyes set firmly on the blue half of Manchester if reports are to be believed. Yet it still seems as if both are most likely to start.
I'd be surprised to see Carl Jenkinson start but in some ways I'd like the stance and the thinking behind it, well as long as we won because we would be weaker without Sagna that is for sure so selecting the best team has got to be the short term and immediate choice.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
I hope Monsieur Ox is on the bench for this one if he can get over his injury concerns. If things were not going our way then his pace from the bench could be very important but hey, let's hope it doesn't come to that shall we.
I didn't manage to get a ticket for the final but we got quite a few of us going to a friends place for food, drinks and the football so it should be a fun day. It's funny when you think about it, there will be Gooners all around the world doing the same thing as I will be. Some will be lucky enough to be going to the game. To those lucky people I hope you make good use of your presence and encourage the lads. If the Arsenal voices are anywhere near to the Carrow Road display then Hull will not stand a chance.
Enjoy the game all, I hope we will all be celebrating by the end of this, it's been a long time coming.
Here are two excellent videos that should get you in the mood if you are strangely not in it already.
Up the Arsenal!