Surprises and Milestones – Part and Parcel of the Beautiful Game
In the past three seasons, the FA Cup has been won by Roberto M’s…
Roberto Mancini in 2011…
Roberto Di Matteo in 2012…
Roberto Martinez in 2013…
And probably Roberto M-Wenger in 2014 😀
With no Arsenal football yesterday, I was spoilt with a plethora of options on what to do with my day. I was this close to calling a female friend of mine for us to watch a movie in Genesis Deluxe Cinemas, when I realized that there were two matches that would be of particular interest to me.
Following their welcome draw against Tottenham, Chelsea had been on my good books albiet temporarily and I wanted to see how they would pan out against an Aston Villa side on the rise. There was also the FA Cup final to watch as Wigan’s participation in the tournament ensured that Arsenal was going to wait till Tuesday to host them.
With Chelsea on the driving seat to end the season as the best London team in the land despite harboring Europa League aspirations, Arsenal still stood an outside chance of leapfrogging their West London rivals provided they dropped points at Villa Park.
Aston Villa’s top scorer, Christian Benteke didn’t help his team’s cause when he received his marching orders but the resilient Villa side was this close to salvaging an unlikely draw…then Super Frankie popped up with the goods yet again.
Frank Lampard began his career in West Ham and was a vital cog in the engine of that Hammers side that boasted of raw talent like Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Frederic Kanoute and Jermaine Defoe. When that team suffered the ignominy of relegation, they were bound to lose a considerable chunk of their key players, and Chelsea swooped for Lampard, a move worth its weight in gold.
Since then, the hunchback of Stamford Bridge has been downright consistent, averaging at least 20 goals in every season he played. If that’s not amazing, then I don’t know what the word means. To top it all off, people tend to forget that Lamps is a frigging attacking midfielder blasting in more goals than your present day center forward.
In the closing moments of yesterday’s game, Lampard equalled the all-time goalscoring record for Chelsea which stood at 203 goals and if he manages to spoil David Moyes farewell party next week with a goal, he will put his name in the history books as Chelsea Football Club’s highest goalscorer of all time.
In as much as I don’t give two *coughs* about Chelsea, their trigger-happy manager-sacking chairman, Roman Abramovich, and fans, I’m a lover of the beautiful game and I’m paying my respects to a model professional for the young midfielders coming up.
Despite all the great things Frank Lampard has achieved in his trophy-laden glittering career, it’s astonishing to know that he and Steven Gerrard didn’t achieve things with the English National team.
As the saying goes, there are three certain things in life – Death, taxes and England losing on penalties.
Speaking of penalties, that would have been a way to settle the FA Cup final but judging from the lineups of both sides, everybody (me included) had already written off the relegation-threatened Latics.
This season’s FA Cup has seen its fair share of giant killing with the likes of Luton Town easing past Norwich, Oldham knocking Liverpool out and Arsenal shamefully losing at home to Blackburn.
The FA Cup is a very unforgiving tournament where you can have all the attacking verve and possession but when a ‘lesser opposition’ takes the initiative, it’s usually to devastating effect.
For instance, take Arsenal’s FA Cup campaign this season. After going a goal down through a decisive Miguel Michu finish, Arsenal had to summon Lukas Podolski from the bench and he leveled the contest with a well taken goal. Just when we all thought that Kieran Gibbs’ brilliant volley was enough to send Arsenal to the fourth round, a lapse in concentration allowed Danny Graham to earn his side a replay at the Emirates.
In the fourth round, Arsenal visited lowly Brighton and Hove Albion but they had to come back from behind twice before sealing the tie afterwards. When Blackburn came visiting, Wenger had half an eye on the Champions League encounter with Bayern Munich, so he decided to rest some of his big guns and was duly punished.
That’s the spirit of the FA Cup.
Congratulations to Wigan for tearing the script and securing an unlikely success while the club still floats in relegation waters. I sincerely hope the Arsenal should send them some more Champagne because I certainly wouldn’t mind to see some drunk and hungover players wearing a blue striped outfit on Tuesday night.
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