As an Arsenal fan, the majority of the time I spend rooting for my team is split between pure goal-scoring joy and crippling anxiety. Every season seemingly goes the same: we have a good run that is always balanced out with a seemingly unexplainable drop in form, resulting in a 4th place finish in the Premier League, a round-of-16 Champions League exit, and various other forms of anticlimactic failure. This seasonal habit had led my team to win a grand total of zero trophies in almost a decade, and many, many Arsenal fans felt that it would never end. I never exactly lost faith in the Gunners, but let’s just say I was just as happy as the next fan when they finally lifted the FA Cup last year. It was monkey off of our collective backs, to say the least.
As great as seeing my team lift that trophy was, here we are one year later with a team that by any measure is more talented than last year’s, yet seems to be in the same position. Yes, they are in second place in the league, but that doesn’t really feel like an accomplishment. So for the second year running the FA Cup is Arsenal’s lone chance of pulling success out of this season. And, color me shocked, today’s semi-final against Reading had all of the goal scoring glory and crippling anxiety I could ask for.
First, there was Alexis “Thank God for the Country of Chile” Sanchez latching onto a Mesut “This Is What I Do” Ozil pass, and putting the Gunners ahead 1-0. Glorious composure, if I do say so myself.
Then came the aforementioned anxiety, as Reading refused to go out quietly, and equalized with this finish. A very good finish, it must be said.
Thankfully, the soccer gods felt like making Reading the butt of a cruel joke, and not Arsenal. Reading’s keeper, Adam Federici, had a really good game, at one point saving a Gabriel header that was bound for the top corner. His overall performance made the way he let in Sanchez’ second, game winning goal all the more unfortunate. Look for yourself.
I felt for Federici, I really did, but, and I think I am speaking for Gunners around the world when I say this, I just didn’t care. The score read 2-1, we were going through to the final, and I couldn’t be bothered by pity.
Arsenal will face off in the FA Cup final against whoever wins tomorrow’s Liverpool vs Aston Villa match. You can catch it live on TV in the U.S. at 10 a.m. EST on FOX.