T-minus 57 hours and counting from the FA Cup Final as I type out today’s Arsenal-related nonsense and I have to say I feel just as nervous as I have done all week. As I’ve already said on a podcast and the blog, this could all go very well or very bad and mentally I’m also preparing myself for the latter. Even told the wife last night to help me get over any potential defeat by coming out for dinner and booze after the cup final.
I know, I know, if I was in somebody else’s shoes I’d be saying “cheer up you miserable b*stard, Arsenal are in a cup final after the season we’ve had! How many other teams would love that?” and I get it, but the pain of being within touching distance, then losing it, is worse than not getting near it at all.
I am going to channel aqny ounce of positivity I can on Saturday in the hope that it reaches the footballing gods and they hear my cry, but for now I can’t get rid of that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. Perhaps I just need to listen to the lads who were on our GunnersTown pod last night, as by the sounds of it they were a little more positive than I’ve woken up to as well.
Do you know what it is? As an Arsenal fan I’ve become so used to investing hope and belief, then for that to be thrown in my face (UEFA Cup 1999, Champions League 2006, Premier League Title 2003/4, Newcastle 0 – 4 Arsenal at half time, etc, etc!), that now I just go for the pessimistic approach as some kind of attempt to temper any eventual disappointment and not invest myself too heavily for fear of how depressed it will make me afterwards.
But it is dominating my thoughts at every moment right now. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with such an elation; I’d dreamt that we’d won this weekend’s game 2-0 already, that we’d secured the trophy, that Rob Holding had changed his hair and had dreadlocks fitted along with LED multi-coloured strip lighting embedded, and that Aubameyang had bagged us some goals. You know when you wake up and the dream seems so real that for a few seconds you actually believed it happened?
Yeah, that was me last night.
So now I feel like the universe is just f*cking with me. That it’s trying it’s darndest to get me so invested in this, then it’ll take away that joy, so I don’t really know what to do!
Well, I do, I need to wait. For 56 hours and 45 minutes. An agonising amount of time right now.
The other stuff that’s bubbling under the surface is the noises about Jack Grealish this morning. I think it actually came from last night but I’m reading it this morning, chuckling, then moving on. If Villa want £80million then they’re approaching the situation in the same way Palace did last summer with Zaha, which will surely mean that Grealish will be a Villa player next season too. Nobody will surely be taking an £80million punt in the current climate, least of all Arsenal, who basically have zero money to spend. That will be good for Villa fans, but if it cheeses him off then I suspect he’ll not be looking to sign a new deal at the club again. He signed a five year deal in 2018, which means it’ll be up in three years’ time which will protect his value for this summer, but next summer they’ll probably be looking at it a little more clearly.
The same thing happened with Zaha if you remember. He was attracting interest by a number of clubs and so in 2018 signed a five year deal that takes him to 2023. Last year, knowing they still had four year’s left on the deal, Palace could play hardball and keep him, but it’s clear Zaha wanted out then and this window is the same. But having had a pretty ‘meh’ year this year compared to last season, the suitors may not be as numerous as last season and if Palace try to keep him again they risk having a player a little bit cheesed off with the way they’ve priced him out of a move.
Quite why I’ve wasted two paragraphs on these players is beyond me though, because they won’t be coming to The Arsenal; we’ve not got the cash and those clubs won’t be looking to sell cheap which is the market we’re shopping in. That’s why Willian is so heavily touted, although again I went over that yesterday so won’t bother this morning.
Nor will I talk about Coutinho for more than a sentence or two, because apparently the Spanish press are saying it’s a sale only and no swap deals. Adios amigos, we’d be mental to be splashing on an overrated footballer on megabucks…again…
Sadly that’s all the news that is swimming around today and it’s all familiar stuff. So I might as well hold it there for another one and catch you tomorrow, where you’ll probably not recognise half the words I write, on account of me being a quivering wreck, just over 30 hours until the final.