This time last year, Arsene Wenger claimed that whilst he was desperate to end Arsenal’s trophy drought, stretching all the way back to 2005, he didn’t regard the League Cup as a trophy.
“It’s very important that we win something,” Wenger said. “We’re here to win trophies. But it depends on what you call trophies. Is it the Champions League, the Premier League, the League Cup? If you win the League Cup, for me, you cannot say that you win trophies.”
As grown men stood inside Wembley stadium crying today, after watching Birmingham score a late winner thanks to a monumental fuck up from Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny, it’s hard to believe they shared the opinion of their manager.
It was an odd day, starting with Arsenal players showing up at Wembley in their trackies, rather the customary suits.
Then, a few minutes in to the game Lee Bowyer beat the offside trap and was one on one with the keeper. Szczesny brought him down and didn’t win the ball but was saved by the linesman who incorrectly flagged Bowyer as offside. Replays showed he was a good two yards onside. Had the linesman got the decision right, Birmingham would have been awarded a penalty and Arsenal would have gone down to ten men. This decision was the latest of a long line which make a mockery of Szczesny’s claim earlier this season that it is Manchester United who always got the decisions.
From that point on, you couldn’t see past an Arsenal win, particularly when considering the 14 places that separate them in the league. But Arsenal failed to pick up Zigic to make it 1-0 and after a cracking Robin van Persie equaliser, the best striker in the world couldn’t save them, and then threw away the trophy thanks to a bizarre lack of communication at the back.
Szczesny has been very vocal on Twitter, most recently trying to take the piss out of Ashley Cole for his penalty miss against Everton in the FA Cup. “Is it a plane? Is it an aeroplane? No, its just ashley throwing chelsea out of the fa cup.” It’s safe to say he deserves all the piss taking which will now come his way after throwing Arsenal out of the League Cup final.
Ben Foster was Man of the Match for United when we won the competition back in 2009 and was Man of the Match again today for Birmingham. Ahead of the game he claimed that United didn’t even bother celebrating the trophy then, that is was business as usual in training the next day, but there’s no doubt Birmingham will be celebrating this one.
As for Arsenal, yet another opportunity to win a trophy passes them by and despite what Wenger believed last week, they now can’t win the quadruple. At least they don’t spend a lot of money in the transfer market though. That’s a real achievement.