It seems a long time since we had a techno problem on Untold Arsenal, but here we are on cup semi-final day, and it is down. There’s a note popping up if you try to log on saying there is a loop. I’ve asked a colleague to look at it, but it is saturday, and so this might not be possible today.
There is good news though. Stefan, called to say he had a spare ticket as his wife couldn’t go to the game at Wembley. Blacksheep didn’t get a ticket in the raffle, so he’s got Mrs Stefan’s, and that means the gang of us can go. Which stops me being too annoyed about Untold being down.
If the site does come up, I am hoping Walter might be able to write up a commentary.
Meanwhile, here’s what I was thinking of saying if I had been able to get onto Untold.
Last year on this day was a day of nerves for me and the players (we equalised 12 minutes from time) but we have grown as a team since then, and this is the fourth trip to Wembley in the year, so it should have none of the newness of a year ago.
The issue of whether there will be changes to the regular team, other than in goal, is one that is still open, but I think it has swung in the direction of pretty much the regular side. They are, after all, winning everything, and its our best chance of a trophy.
Bellerin Mert Kos Monreal
Ramsey Ozil Sanchez
With an incredibly overcrowded beach… Ospina, Debuchy, Chambers, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Wilshere, Rosicky, Gnabry, Walcott, Welbeck could all be on the list of possibles, and we can have seven so I’d go for…
Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Gabriel, Flamini, Wilshere, Walcott, Welbeck, but maybe Rosicky should be in and Gibbs out.
I’d suggest Jack and Theo might get a game if we are motoring well and easily ahead with half an hour to go.
Arteta and the Ox are still injured, but no one else.
Pavel Pogrebnyak is ok for Reading, Nathan Ake and Kwesi Appiah are cup-tied but Nathaniel Chalobah and Jamie Mackie who like the aforementioned pair are at Reading on loan, can play.
Although you can’t read them at the moment, Untold is full of stats about the history between the two clubs, while the rest of the media has alternated between Reading never have beaten Arsenal, Reading having beaten Arsenal once, and Reading having beaten Arsenal twice. And they’ve woken up to the fact that the only time before Reading made the semi-finals, Arsenal were there too. We got through, and they didn’t, but we lost to Cardiff in the final, in 1927. Our first cup final.
There have been 24 goals in the last three games between Reading and Arsenal, and 37 in the last 12, and we are the all time champions of the cup, with top equal number of wins and final appearances, but the largest number of semi-finals.
This time a year ago it was four without a win, including the 6-0 battering at Chelsea. And a year ago the front line was Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo not Olivier Giroud with Sanchez, Ozil, Cazorla, and Ramsey pushing up behind.
Reading as I noted in one of the preview reports have not played a Premier League club, which says something about their run in, and they are in the bottom part of the Championship table. And while we have won game after game, they haven’t won since beating Bradford City in the last round.
But Reading have only let in two goals in the FA Cup this season, which is promising for them, but they have only won two of their last 13 league games which isn’t. They have drawn four and lost the rest.
And so for Arsenal… 10 semi-finals in 18 seasons, and this second semi in a row takes me back to the earlier part of the century when we were there each year. Eight league wins in a row means nothing because all runs come to an end, but if I had to choose between this year’s record going into the semi and last year’s I’d have this years. It is easier on the nerves.
The BBC helpfully tell us today that “The last time Arsenal lost an FA Cup semi-final to a team from outside the top flight was in 1973 against Sunderland.” What they don’t tell us is that this is the ONLY time this has ever happened, although they do admit that we have lost just one of the last 38 FA Cup games against lower league sides (W29, D8, L1).
Of course we can go out to lower league teams, but a defeat today, given our recent form, would be an equivalent to Herbert Chapman’s last ever FA Cup match in which top of the league Arsenal, who were also league champions, lost to Walsall of the third division.
But let’s end on a more positive note. We have scored nine goals in the four rounds we have contested thus far. Olivier Giroud got two of those, the rest come from different players. Which suggests that even if one player is off form or marked out of the game or even injured with a nasty tackle, we’ve got a whole load more who can pop up and score.
Hopefully Untold will return anon. I’m sorry about its vanishing.
Since there isn’t any of the normal Untold stuff available here is the complete anniversary file for today, just in case you have nothing else to read
18 April 1884: Gordon Rahere Hoare born. In his footballing life he had 13 clubs – two of those were Woolwich Arsenal, and one was Arsenal! He also seems to have been connected with the Hill-Wood family who ran Glossop NE, as he move between the clubs.
18 April 1903: Arsenal 0 Millwall Athletic 2. The last game against Millwall under its Athletic guise. 4000 saw the game – after this our local rivals became just “Millwall”.
18 April 1914: Arsenal 2 Clapton Orient 2. 35,000 attended – the biggest crowd thus far at Highbury, but the draw meant Arsenal were not promoted. It was also the last ever game of Woolwich Arsenal.
18 April 1925: Arsenal 5 Burnley 0. Knighton’s last victory. He oversaw two more games (both defeats) and was then sacked to make way for Chapman. He won 34.33% of the games in total, the worst of any long-term manager.
18 April 1927: First league game for Herbie Roberts. He became the first brilliant exponent of the “stopper” system, and a regular all the way through the 1930s era.
18 April 1930: Arsenal 1 Leicester 1; relegation looked possible for Chapman. Arsenal won the cup for the first time and avoided the drop, but only by three points.
18 April 1931: Having come 14th in 1930, Arsenal won the League for the very first time with two games spare, by beating Liverpool 3-1 at home during a nine match unbeaten run to the end of the season.
18 April 1936: Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 0. It was Arsenal’s only win in the last six games of the season and one of only two in the last 14 as the 3 times champions fall from grace.
18 April 1953: Arsenal 3 Stoke 1 – all three goals from Lishman, making it five wins in a row scoring 18 goals to go top of the league.
18 April 1960: Last league game for Gordon Nutt. He then moved to Southend had a year with PSV Eindhoven, and after playing non-league moved to Australia where he played, set up a film lighting company in Sydney and was head coach of the Tasmanian Soccer Schools for ten years.
18 April 1964: The season ends Liverpool 5 Arsenal 0 with Arsenal having two wins in the last 11 games – and an exit to Liverpool in the 5th round of the cup. Despite ending 8th Wright is given more time, but the worst is yet to come.
18 April 1969: Stefan Schwarz born. He came to Arsenal from Benfica, and played 34 games in 1994/5 before moving on to Fiorentina.
18 April 1979: Matthew Upson born. He came through the Ipswich Academy, went to Luton Town for whom he played just four minutes as a substitute, and then to Arsenal for £2m in May 1997
18 April 1993: Tony Adams dropped Steve Morrow as Arsenal won the league cup 2-1. This was the first of three games against Sheffield Wed at Wembley and was Cup match 15 of the Cup Double season. The FA Cup was also won 2-1.
18 April 2007: David Dein sacked as director of Arsenal. He had preferred an Arsenal move to Wembley instead of building the Emirates, and it is said he continued to speak in favour of this move, even after the board voted against.
18 April 2009: Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1, FA Cup semi final. It was the 26th Arsenal semi-final in the FA Cup, and the sixth semi-final in the first decade of the 21st century.