Re-living Arsenal’s FA cup semi final against Wigan at Wembley last year. by MAA
It was a day full of mixed emotions as we were playing Wigan, a team that had eliminated Man City in the quarter final at the Etihad stadium. Its still fresh in my mind how our rival fans were mocking us singing their (at that time) favourite song of “trophyless Gunners” they were
sounding so worryingly confident that the cup holders (Wigan) were going to eliminate us.
This was not helped by the commentators of the day who kept on stressing the importance of the tie, “the season decider” they kept on referring to it as, and the fact that Everton won
that weekend against Sunderland to move above us in the League table. I was fairly confident – but visibly worried too.
The line up then came up and this was it:
Sagna, Per, Vermalen, Nacho
Ox, Cazorla, Podolski.
This line up was not that reassuring especially with the four of Verminator and Nacho on the left side Add the fact that Podolski wasn’t that good going back, my worries were legitimate at that time.
The game kicked off and it was a tense affair as the first half finished as a scoreless draw. I was still confident as my worst fear was Wigan taking the lead, because i knew how hard it would be for us to get back to the game, and actualy my worst fear was confirmed on the 63rd minute when BFG gave away a penalty – which was calmly converted by Gomez. I still remember the cheers and jubilations of our rivals. Some were even touching my head celebrating. I almost lost it but there was still worse to come from our genius Wenger. His reaction to this was to take off our best chance of scoring and our best finisher in Podolski leaving on the struggling Sanogo and replacing him with another idiot (at that time at least) Giroud. This was like my worst nightmare
and the jeers from anxious Arsenal fans around Wembley confirmed that I was not the only one who failed to understand that decision. The game continued with a missed chance after another and I was almost accepting the fate that actually Arsenal couldn’t win at Wembley.
Memories of the Capital One final loss against Birmingham started to creep in my mind. Add to the noise of cheers that kept on getting louder, I was almost saying ‘enough is enough’ and tears were not far away when a corner was flown in and Sagna’s attempt was blocked, and suddenly Per scored an equalizer in the 82nd minute. You should have seen the faces of our rivals at that time. The joy and relief in my heart couldn’t even allow me to celebrate as I planned to. There it was 1-1 at last. But that was not it, we still needed the second goal which never came.
Then on the 113th minute Wenger made a sub that was all but confirming that he was prepared for penalties. Our hero, Player of the Season-elect, Ramsey, was replaced by Kim Kallstrom and that was it.
Penalties were to decide the FA cup finalists who were to face Hull in the final. I remember
our first 3 penalties scored, one by Kim, and Fabianski saved his first two. When Santiago Cazorla converted what was the deciding penalty my shirt was off and you could feel as if our name was already written on the trophy. I cant stop smiling with that memory on my mind. All
this came to my mind after i read the interview by Per on our official website.
At least it gave my face a brighter look as i am writing, while lying on a hospital bed after being admitted last night with a possible heart problem. So as we look forward to this weekend against Reading, lets hope for a better memory and remember me in your prayers.
muhaankoanko from Kenya.