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All Guns Blazing: Success tastes sweet, now Arsenal must build on it

12:21 21 May 2014

Arsenal

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla (left), Tomas Rosicky (second left), Mathieu Flamini (second right) and Lukas Podolski (right) celebrate with the FA Cup

EMPICS Sport

In the last of this season’s Arsenal fan columns, Alex Bellotti reflects on the topsy-turvy FA Cup final and the Gunner’s season as a whole

As Layth Yousif noted last week, Arsenal FA Cup finals are rarely dull – but my God, how many of us were expecting that?

Ten minutes in, 25,000 fans and I were watching the match on the Emirates big screens and the atmosphere was poisonous.

“Just shut up, you don’t have a clue, you stupid ****,” cried one fan behind us. We turned around, terrified a fight was breaking out between the Wenger Knows Best and the Wenger Out Brigades. “Oh it’s all right everyone,” he quickly mediated, “I was just shouting at Michael Owen’s commentary.”

In the end of course, it was an incredible turnaround and a classic final. All three goals were telling: the quality of Santi Cazorla’s free kick, Laurent Koscielny’s knack for scoring on the big occasion and who better to decide the contest than our undoubted player of the season, Aaron Ramsey?

Though I couldn’t make the parade – unlike a quarter of million fans, kudos – the celebrations that spilled immediately into Islington were incredible. The sheer relief of it all made for an atmosphere close to those closing scenes in Fever Pitch, and it was quite special talking with Gooners from all over the world as others climbed traffic lights and rode the tops of moving buses.

Considering the ever-increasing competition within the Premier League, it was always going to take a bit of luck (we never left London in the FA Cup) alongside skill and character to end our drought, but who’s complaining?

The season as a whole has been, I suppose, one of a ‘valley’ shape; it started high, dipped considerably, but ultimately rose again. It makes a change from the usual ‘cliff’ shape and, while not hinting at full redemption, certainly marks progress that we haven’t seen for a long time.

A few inevitable departures will need replacing, but as a whole, the core of our squad is tied down and we need to capitalise on that with a solid summer in the transfer market.

At the helm of it, seemingly, will be Arsene Wenger and while the jury will still be out on him, he is undoubtedly one of the world’s most respected managers and a major draw for the pedigree of talent we need to pursue.

We’ve got him, some seriously talented ‘winners’ and finally some silver to sit amongst the gold at the Emirates. That to me is a decent list of ingredients, so here’s hoping everyone’s got a taste for success going forward. See you for the Community Shield!

Follow me @AlexBellotti

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