Well it had to happen sometime, didn’t it? You win the lottery 20 years in a row, there’s going to come a time when your ticket is a dud.
Arsenal did what they had to against Everton but the problem was never this match. It was always going to be the winter slump that messed us up and as I said in the build up – it’s one thing relying on Tottenham to f**k things up, quite another when it’s Liverpool.
That being said, they needed a massive hand from Martin ‘I don’t know what I’m doing Atkinson’ who should have pointed to the spot for Boro when it was 0-0, sending Lovren off in the process.
He didn’t and it’s off to the Europa League we go on a new adventure. Not that it’s his fault any more than you can blame all officials for seemingly treating Arsenal as an entity apart from all other teams in the Premier League.
We saw it against Everton when Michael Oliver couldn’t wait to send off Laurent Kocielny (correctly) but gave a more considered approach to the cards he flashed in Everon’s direction, especially in his decision to let Ashley Williams stay on the pitch for the most blatant second yellow you’ll ever see. Or Morgan Schneiderlin for the same. It was so bewildering that even the commentators couldn’t understand how they both stayed on the pitch.
Anyway, that’s a whinge for another day when the dust of this season has finally settled.
For now, here are the player ratings from the win over Everton.
Petr Cech 8
I’m so glad that Petr has been good Petr since he returned from injury because the Petr we got for most of the season before that would have seen Arsenal in serious trouble. Again he was called into action far more than he would have liked and his full range of saves were on display.
Has been a player transformed since his return to the side. Put in a brilliant performance against Everton, showing pace, determination and focus to get his flying tackles right unlike his captain. He’s shown flashes of being this sort of player since he arrived at the club, but rarely more. Perhaps this season has been the making of him as an Arsenal player. His injury comes at the cruellest time, both from a team and individual perspective.
Laurent Koscielny 0
We all worried that he’d miss the final because of his Achilles, but never fear, that’s not what will keep him out. He’ll be suspended now after a terrible tackle and a deserved red. Was applauded off the pitch by the fans in the stadium and he shouldn’t have been. It was a completely brainless tackle.
He generally does at least one really stupid thing a season. He got so close to breaking that run this campaign, but, alas…
Rob Holding 8
Quite possibly the best thing about this season was watching this young chap flourish into an Arsenal player. Arriving for just £2m he must surely be up there as one of best buys ever, especially when you consider how much City paid for John Stones. Made more clearances than anyone else from either team.
Hector Bellerin 8
Opened the scoring before 10 minutes were on the clock and was a constant danger down the right flank. Benefiting from Danny Welbeck’s most genius pass in the history of football or miss of the millennium, (you decide) he kept offering an attacking threat throughout the whole game.
Aaron Ramsey 7
Was absolutely flying until the team changed formation after Kos’s red. Just as I was checking his stats for the game he stepped up with the most beautifully curled pearler to make it three. Nothing like getting your cup final eye in ahead of Wembley and his first Premier League goal in over a year. Won the ball back more than any other player – 12 times in total
Granit Xhaka 7
Quietly efficient as he has been for most of the season. He won’t make many headlines, but what he brings to this Arsenal side is vastly underrated
Nacho Monreal 7
Nacho gave away a penalty for handball to ensure that this game was the perfect microcosm of Arsenal’s season – the stupidity and great football, the injuries and awful referee decisions, the self-sabotage and dashed dreams. It was a more restrained performance from the Spaniard, perhaps not surprising given the fact we were down to 10 for most of it.
Alexis Sanchez 8
Typical game from Alexis, apart from the bit where he went off injured. Set it on a plate for Danny with fewer than 2 minutes on the clock, scored his customary goal meaning he’s scored in the last four league games. Will he be at the club to make it five?
Mesut Ozil 9
Worked his nuts off and should be allowed to slap them in the face of anyone who dares say he’s lazy. Led the way in passes, attacking third passes, delivered the ball to Ramsey for his beauty and was just generally awesome. His sad face at the end of the game, when he realised he now has to decide between Arsenal and Champions League football, was heartbreaking
Danny Welbeck 7
Should have opened the scoring before two minutes were on the clock and somehow made a tap-in go backwards. He got an assist for that wonder miss and set up Alexis for a tap-in of his own to calm nerves after Koscielny had seen red.
Could have had a hattrick. Should have had a hattrick. Fell over a lot too. Imagine what he could do if he could control his legs properly. Created more chances than anyone, but I’m not entirely sure that’s what he was meaning to do.
Per Mertesacker 7
He does exist! Will he start at Wembley next week? Not if Mustafi recovers from illness and we don’t lose Monreal and Holding to leprosy or something. Made more blocks than any other Arsenal player and probably did enough to earn a new contract in Wenger’s eyes.
Alex Iwobi 7
Not gonna lie, when Alex came on for Alexis, after watching Kos being sent off, Everton being given immunity to foul at will and seeing Gabriel stretchered off, I checked out of the game. Iwobi, however, pulled me back in.
Set off on a sprawling run only to be stopped by Schneiderlin who shouldn’t have even been on the pitch. Showed some lovely chest control in the box but couldn’t get his shot away in time to stop it being blocked and also had another two great chances that he got a little wrong.