Ahead of the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea this Saturday, Jack decided to cross no-mans land and enter the trenches of the opposition. He sat down with Ben (@BenBrowning3) from You Are My Arsenal to understand his views on the upcoming fixture and how he sees the final panning out.
Without further ado, what are your honest thoughts on Arsenal’s season so far?
If i’m honest, most of me is just glad it’s over. This is the worst I have seen the club perform in living memory and the first time I have really had to force myself to sit through watching games, especially before Arteta took over. Missing out on Europe would be a huge blow but equally getting it would not be a huge redemption from what, by all accounts, has been a disastrous season.
What does this game mean to Arsenal Football Club?
“Although it might seem a bit hypocritical given I have literally just said it will not redeem this season, I don’t think that you can overestimate just how important this game can be to us. European football is a huge incentive for players, not to mention the £30m that would accompany it. For future seasons then, it is a huge game even if it will have little bearing on how this season is remembered.”
The importance of Saturday cannot be underestimated for Arsenal Football Club, how do you see it playing out?
I think both sides are as unpredictable as each other. Will we get the Arsenal that beat Manchester City and Liverpool or the side that lost to Villa and edged past Watford? In the same vein, will we get the Chelsea side that dispatched Wolves or the team that looked clueless against Sheffield United? Trying to predict this is hopeless, so I will revert to what my heart says and (sorry readers) back Arsenal to pull through 2-1 winners.
Looking at the Chelsea side that has finished the season out, what scares you most?
It would be unfair for this to go to anyone but Christian Pulisic. The aerial threat of Giroud will certainly be a threat, and it is unfortunate that Kepa looks unlikely to play, but the American certainly offers the most creative threat in that Chelsea side and as we saw against Liverpool, can produce something out of nothing. Operating in the space between our centre-backs he could be a real menace.
Which Arsenal player could you see having a surprising impact on the game?
Surprising? I guess David Luiz, because not even he will know how he is going to play! Against Manchester City in the semi-final he was dominant, but you only have to look at the incredible 5 penalties he has conceded in the Premier League this season to see that he is an accident waiting to happen. As a Chelsea fan, I guess this is something you know a lot about from his time at the bridge!
When there’s no bad blood, you always wish the best for a player departing your club. Still, it must be somewhat bittersweet seeing a player like Olivier Giroud age like fine wine, and being such a huge part of this Chelsea side achieving Top 4?
Giroud is a difficult one for me. Selling him to sign Aubameyang is undoubtedly some of the best business Arsenal have done in recent years, and I think that if you were to rely on him for a full season he wouldn’t be able to sustain his output. That being said, he has been truly remarkable since the restart and is certainly someone I wouldn’t want to be playing against in a final.
Last but not least, although not strictly final related, how do you feel about the rumours floating around linking Chelsea’s Number 10 Willian, to Arsenal?
I think it all depends on the length of contract and wages. I have a problem with it if it’s a three year deal on high wages like the rumours suggest, because Arsenal have handed out too many “comfort” contracts recently to see players through to retirement, and it has contributed to their current predicament. However, two years on cut wages would save money and allow the likes of Saka and Martinelli to learn from a brilliant winger, which I wouldn’t be against.
We would like to thank Ben Browning very much for his time and wish him (not too much) good luck on Saturday.
*The core of this article comes from an FA Cup preview podcast by The Dubious Goals Panel, which is available here for those wanting a more in depth preview.
What do you think will happen on Saturday? Will we take home the cup? Let us know in the comments below!