The vast majority of Arsenal supporters and critics alike were expecting a routine victory for Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final clash.
Naturally, the lack of expectation helped boost the players as they battled hard and showed resilience to win 2-1 after extra-time at Wembley.
Goals from Nacho Monreal and Alexis Sanchez sealed Arsenal’s third FA Cup final place in four seasons, after Sergio Aguero broke the deadlock in the second-half.
Aaron Ramsey, who crucially lost possession in the build-up to City’s opener, was passionate when addressing the media after the game.
As quoted by the Evening Standard he said, “We’ve shown the character we have in this team. We’ve shown what we’re all about. We stood up to the test when we went a goal behind.
“We stuck at it as a team and got our rewards. Going a goal behind, the fans stuck with us. We felt them behind us.”
Even though they were sluggish in the early exchanges, Arsenal players responded well and worked harder to ensure they didn’t throw the fixture away with sloppy mistakes that have otherwise ruined their aspirations of a Premier League title charge.
The Welsh midfielder admitted that the team as a whole have let Arsene Wenger down this season and because of this, want to win the FA Cup at the very least.
“We have let him down at times but he kept believing in us and the quality we have. It was important for us to get to the final for him, for ourselves, for the fans, and to have a bit of positivity around the club again,” Ramsey continued.
It’s been an unpredictable 2017 so far which has seen Arsenal’s league campaign crash and burn in typical fashion – supporters’ criticism of Wenger, his managerial approach and the team themselves have continually worsened as a result.
“The manager was over the moon for us but we are delighted that we have got to a final for him,” Ramsey added. “He deserves that and hopefully now we can go on and win it for him.”
It’s yet to be confirmed, as to whether Wenger will sign a new contract extension or not. If the answer is no and he departs this summer, a piece of silverware and a top-four finish would be a good way to end, especially given how things have accelerated negatively in recent months.
Arsenal find themselves seven points off Manchester City with a further seven matches remaining. Ramsey had this to say about their approach to the remainder of the league campaign: “Now, we have seven finals in the Premier League to try to get into that fourth position.”
We can only hope it’s a successful finish to a forgettable campaign.