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A few thoughts on the Reading FA Cup Semi-Final

April 19, 2015

The weather was all good for the match. Harlow-Epping-Wembley Park-Green Man-Nosebag-Stadium.

The Green Man

Very good atmosphere in the grounds of the pub/hotel. Always enjoy the Away Boyz on big match days and the tent was full with supporters singing along. Many dancing with beer in hand that was ending up on the floor and at £4 a pint :).  As I don’t drink or at least one/two max on a blue moon or special occasions, I took two pints in and a Burger at the stall. The queues to get a beer were awful and you would have had to stock up on each visit to the bar to get drunk. The toilets had long queues. There were even bouncers dotted around to stop fans pissing in the bushes. Piss patrol bouncers, a new low in their industry. I think each visit to Wembley in such as short time has created the Green man as the place to be and while it’s great to be in amongst so many Arsenal supporters the place was packed solid. Not sure I’d visit there again.

The match.

I must admit I did expect Arsenal to win this one easy and by at  least by fours goals, but this was more about Arsenal’s poor play than anything Reading did to stop Arsenal.

On taking my seat about 25000 feet above sea level with my Son and waiting for the clouds to dissipate so I could see the pitch (I was flying lower in the plane on the way to Barcelona last weekend) I had most of the match blocked by people in our row getting up and going to the toilet or get food during the match. One guy got up five times during the full match. On top of this in all my years of attending football matches, I have never, I say never! Seen so many people getting up and down to go to the toilet of food stalls during a football match, it was constant. As I looked around the Arsenal end it was going on everywhere. How can any atmosphere be created at our end when this is going on?

Around five minutes before kick off twenty-two ants Players walked out of the tunnel for the first 2014/15 FA cup Semi-Final. Arsenal hardly set the match alight. I did think before game that only changing the team would give Reading any hope (and that was small) of gaining a victory. Well Szczesny was installed in-goal. Debuchy brought back at right back and Gibbs in at left back. Welbeck was also chosen ahead of Giroud. I like Danny he is a fighter and at times you need that in tough games. I also think Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez and Ramsey play better with the one touch stuff when the have Giroud linking their play together. Once Giroud came on Arsenal looked a much better shape.

Arsenal had many good passages of play that failed to come to anything and much of the play in the first half, but apart from a Mertesacker header well saved by the keeper there was not much else to threaten Reading save a glorious Ozil pass and take by Sanchez who finished well. The second half was pretty much hum-drum and then Reading scored their equaliser. You could argue that both full backs were in some way at fault. Gabriel had a good header saved by the keeper. A good cross by Ozil saw at least three Arsenal players in place to head home, but somehow Gabriel header over. Ramsey I felt, like Sanchez were just holding onto the ball for too long. While others were in the first time pass mode, the moves slowed down when the ball reached either of Sanchez or Ramsey. Both wanted too much time and too many twists and turns. However Ramsey then battled his was though, couldn’t beat the keeper, the ball ran loose and Ramsey’s second shot hit the upright.

Once Giroud came on to replace Welbeck Arsenal’s play changed and suddenly our play makers had a player who could link it all up. Giroud played very well and along with Ozil and Coquelin would be my men of the match.

Sanchez collected the ball on the edge of the box, came inside his man and hit a low hard shot and it looked for all the world that the keeper had it covered and saved the shot, however the ball slide underneath him and squirmed into the net 2-1 Arsenal!

A BBC report said this.

Hold on

Which sort of surprised me as after Sanchez scored Arsenal had the better chances. Not sure how Reading did not get more bookings during the match either. Not the best football match you will see that’s for sure, but none the less there can be no doubt (taking aside sympathy for underdogs) Arsenal fully deserved their victory. Commentators, their sidekicks, experts, Journo’s love the underdog, which is fair enough, but at least tell the game as it was, not through some fairy tale story of what they would have liked to see happen.

Hold on or not though, Arsenal won their record 28th FA Cup Semi-Final and are now in their record 19th FA Cup Final. It would seem only right that when Spurs reach their first domestic final for years, Arsenal go and reach the FA Cup Final. What was that they say about shadows?

Chelsea beat United in the Premier League and went ten points clear of Arsenal in the table having both played same number of matches. While I hoped United could have beaten Chelsea or draw to at least to give Arsenal some (albeit small) hope of winning the title, Chelsea’s win did keep Arsenal second, one point in front of United with a game in hand and finishing second would be no mean feat after the start to the season.



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