Is Anyone Contemplating The Consequences Of Failure

This has been a strange season in some ways. The games that I thought, and I’m sure many would agree, to be bankers turned into surprise defeats; Newcastle and West Brom at home for instance. On the other hand, the Gunners have pulled of some inspiring victories in tough games where only the most optimistic of supporters would have expected a win; Barcelona at home and City away are two good examples.

So please forgive my consternation when this thought popped into my head – “The Carling Cup final should be a comfortable win!” I don’t think I can explain this to anyone who hasn’t experienced it on their own but feeling nervous because you’re confident can be a really crazy state to be in.

One thought led to another and finally I arrived at the question that has been ignored by many – What if Arsenal don’t win the Carling Cup?

Not a pleasant thought I know but one that has passed through many fans’ minds, no?

Arsenal have been projected as overwhelming favourites for this game and even the Misery Brigade seem to have taken this title for granted. A cynic would say it’s all set up for one giant humpty-dumptyesque fall.

But we all know Cup ties can be a difficult beast to conquer at the best of times. Throw in a pantomime villain like Dean into the picture and the real odds for success do look different from the peanuts that the bookmakers are offering.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to discourage the believers or predicting a loss. I’m just wondering what if.

Personally speaking, I don’t really mind whether Arsenal get silverware or not. That will never be the priority in my way of thinking. As long as the players give everything I’ll happily take the result. Well not exactly gleefully, for if the ref steals if from Arsenal and hands it over to Birmingham it would be very hard to take, but what I mean is that I’d not blame the Gunners for not winning silverware.

Arsene had similar thoughts.

In football, when you lose you have to accept defeat. But what is important when you go into a Final is that you give absolutely everything.

You do not want to go into a Final with fear that if you lose it will be dramatic. What you want is to go into the final and give everything to win it and that is how we approach the game.

For a man of Wenger’s abilities and experience these words make a lot of sense and I agree with that approach to the game wholeheartedly. But will the players be able to show the same level of maturity, especially when sections of the fans and almost the entire media will turn on them in the event of a failure?

Ideally we would want to see a positive result leading to a turbo charged run-in. Winning the final will certainly provide that. There is not much to think in such a case. It’d be a positive emotional drive that will carry the players onwards and upwards.

In contrast, one would need incredible mental resilience to counter the negativity in case of an adverse result. The team would still have to move forward but it will have to be against the direction of the emotional pull.

The mental strength of the fans will also be tested. If people can actually criticize the team after such a hard fought win over Stoke I shudder at the thought of the mindless reactions a loss will evoke.

Of course, the best way for the players to respond will be to go out and perform in the next game. The atmosphere for that will be negatively charged but the Gunners will just have to see it as an additional challenge.

So far this season I have been incensed by some performances and results but on the whole I’m really proud of the way this squad has performed. If the players feel the same way they’ll be able to overcome any negativity surrounding a loss.

I could go on for a while but I don’t want to dampen the mood any further. These were just some thoughts I had as my confidence made me anxious. Here’s hoping this is all just in my mind and will not turn into reality.

25 Responses to Is Anyone Contemplating The Consequences Of Failure

  1. CharlieGooner says:

    Desi, you’re not the only one contemplating this possibility.

    Although, I personally am not going to be too broken over a loss that would almost certainly be a result from Dean’s awful calls, I worry about how it will affect the team. There’s a lot of hype and expectation, and although I appreciate Wenger’s sound perspective, I hope it translates. A loss could be incredibly detrimental to the overall positive mentality that’s been growing and frankly, I’m not sure what will put Fab in a good mood right now. A win would be great, but I’m sure he’ll be inwardly fuming that he wasn’t out there to give his all and lift the trophy without any guilt for not contributing in the last stages. What I’m saying is, I won’t care about the lack of silverware (too much), but I care about how such a high-profile loss could do to the team.

    Nevertheless, I believe so much in this team and am excited that they’ll have a chance to be on an even bigger stage at Wembley than the typical 60,000 Emirates games. A win in front of 90,000 divided fans will provide the positivity and confidence needed to perform in front of the same number at Camp Nou. My final thought: I hope to god they’ve finally fixed that damn Wembley pitch because if they haven’t and any one of our players tweaks anything as a result… I will fly myself from Seattle, WA, USA to London and dropkick the entire board of directors nuts.

    Desi, love the articles. Keep it up!

  2. desigooner says:

    Yes, this thought has crossed my mind and I am sure, most of us gooners. Yes, we are the favourites among the bookies and media. It is the bounden duty of every gooner going to Wembley to carry these positive vibes with them. I am sure our lads will synchronise with our vibes and know we are behinds them all the way. It will help if all of us vocalise our feelings and shout the brummies down. In my own little way I have already been to our temple to pray for Arsenal. God forbid, if we dont win, I will still always support my Club, the team and Arsene Wenger! BTW, I will renew my season ticket whether we win any silverware or not!

    • Chowdury says:

      With Dean calling the game, there is bound to be a penalty against us. Put you money on it. I hope you’ve read the Untold’s Ref Review for this game.
      I don’t care win or lose, all I care is we get a “fair” game. If that happens, we all know what we are looking into. 🙂

  3. Seun nafiu says:

    I’m not a sayer bt d match had been rounded off in my mind already. Arsenal won. (I dont want to know by what goal margin). The cup is ours. The first for this season. Just keep counting and dont stop till may. Up gunners.

  4. clockendrider says:

    Upside of winning – “Arsenal have now won a minor trophy, but really bees to deliver a major”.
    Downside if winning – as per above.

    Either way the media scum will move the goalposts.

    Answer: ignore the talentless soon to be jobless press halfwits, see the bigger picture.

  5. Armory says:

    Desi, this Arsenal team is a different beast from the team of last few seasons. Yeas we have sometimes failed miserably when 3 points where at stake alas WBA, Newcastle home and away to name couple but none of these games where cub finals. Last week we saw a matured display from an Arsenal side at home against stoke, defending a 1 nil lead for 80 minutes where a year ago we would have let in a goal. Sunday will be another test but I for one am optimistic, not taking anything for granted but optimistic.

    • Claver says:

      For sure. JD and Kozzy are a mean pair, along with Sagna and Clichy. If Diaby and Song play defensively we WILL win, I think.

  6. santori says:

    I agree with desi on this.

    We need to not take things for granted because it can have a negative slalom effect for the rest of the season.

    This is a cup final and Birmingham have every likelyhood of coming up with a shock surprise so I hope we take our chances well and give them a good drubbing to send a clear message to the naysayers.

  7. SoCal_Gun says:

    I’ve thought about it……especially with the way this team plays

    This is a must win. The mental strength of this team is at an all time high, and a loss on such a big stage could have a crippling effect on the team


  8. Gavin says:

    It has definetly crossed my mind, If we were to lose after being overwelming favourites it could really dent the morale of the team. Birmingham have twice in the last few years messed up our seasons, The eduardo injury which in turn caused us to collapse and lose the league and last season the 1-1 killed off any hope for the league IMO.

    Personally I hate seeing Arsenal fans thinking this is in the bag, for the Brum players it could be their only chance for silverware for a long time so they will be completly up for this and we need to turn up prepared.

  9. JJ Pittman says:

    Have many “friends”, also New York Yankee fans and Chelski front runners who will give no credit at all to “careless cup ” win. No credit to us when we win, bur big $hit to us if we lose. There is great romance for FA cup, most of it based on longevity and sentimentality, and we will go head-to-head against the” greatest side ever” on march 12. Hate them more than even the. Yankees, but can’t wait for that match even at their revered ground.
    We have a goal lead against Barca, and can pursue vigorously. Think we are better suited for premiership as well. Never thought I would ever root for Chelski, but against ManUre, no question.
    Conclusion: win or lose v. Brummie thugs, we must still win Premiership, Champions and/or FA Cup to get any credit. “Silverware” alone is not enough, we need one of the other three to claim any credit. Technicalities don’t count.

  10. Archimedes says:

    It is a cup which no one really cares about. How many Arsenal fans remember the previous final defeat before the final against Chelsea in 2007? Arsenal was heavy favorites in the 1988 Littlewoods Cup Final but lost 3-2 to Luton Town. Arsenal went on and won the First Division Title in 1988-89 season so is defeat this time also an omen? Arsenal win loss record is 2 v 4. It has the record of losing most finals shared with Man U. A win this time means much for title starved club and fans and will remove the shoulder burden and be a major confidence booster as was the First CL win v Barca. But team managed to shrug off loss in 1988 and still move on to greater things.

  11. Greencard usa says:

    Desi, a loss will is never that destructive but a defeat is often corrosively destructive. This is where I have a slight difference with Arsene. It is never a good idea to accept defeat! Any final arouses a different mentality to ordinary games, even the ones leading up to the final. Here the mental toughness and desire to win is paramount. Any wavering signals the defeatist mentality. If Arsenal never waver but loses despite this it cannot be a defeat. This team needs to experience that mentality of being in a final and facing it unflinchingly. Win or lose having that strength is always a rite of passage and Arsenal can only come through it for the better.
    All said, I still hope and wish for an arsenal victory. Good luck.

  12. Arsenal4 says:

    If it’s god given right for Arsenal to win this, the bet shop will close this Sunday won’t they? Might as well skip the game and rest the player, shouldn’t we? Well the answer is no. Losing is a chance but we shouldnt accept it unless freak accident or playing an opponent 4x more superior than us.

    I have no doubt that Arsenal will win tomorrow despite missing Theo & Fab, this is the level that Arsenal should be, & it’s not matter of right but earn.

    Should we crash & burn if we lose? Nope, not at this time for this. We learned our lesson from Birmingham game as well a few years back ( what an irony to think about it).

    U can’t deny win will mean much more than to lose.

    However, for the player, the mindset should be ‘we are going to win this game, we are going to stamp authority to Birmingham till the last second!’
    And not even a smallest hint that losing is a Possibility.

  13. Mark says:

    if Arsenal lost it would be a blow to the morale because this is a great chance to get the monkey off the back. Also, we are expected to win this; There is no excuse not to.

  14. Joe says:

    You better not have jinxed us with this article!

    If we lose, I know who I’m going to blame!

  15. afo says:

    We have all long and look forward to such an occasion like this. Now that we have earned ourselve a place in the final, what we needed to do is go into the game with focus,believe, n determination and cross the line. I believe this team would come victorious in the carling cup final.Let us support the team and not get divided. United we stand. Up Gunners!!!!!!

  16. *sigh* Fingers crossed.

  17. Irish Desi Gooner says:

    That thought has crossed my mind, and I’m sure it has crossed nearly every other true Gooner fans. However, I do believe that should we lose on Sunday, we would be mentally strong enough to bounce back and push on. Why? Because after the Newcastle draw, I was genuinely worried that I was witnessing a “Birmingham 08” style collapse but the team showed strength to bounce back.

    Keep the faith going Gooners.

    • Irish Desi Gooner says:


      On another note, do you think that AW was quite naive in saying that most of our play will go through Wilshere? Although that may be obvious in the absence of King Cesc, openly pointing that out will only make the Brummies systematically target JW and resort to more “calculated violence” as you quite rightly pointed out in another brilliant article.

      Does anyone else share the same thoughts or am I just being paranoid?

      • desigunner says:

        I hope Wilshere gets better protection, if not for anything else then just for being English. I don’t think Wenger’s saying anything will make a difference. The opposition players will soon figure it out on the pitch.

  18. Claver says:

    We have to imagine that we will win without any doubt. The challenges we face have increased because of the type of Ref appointed.

    Same ref who was in charge when Eduardo was injured.

    The combination of ref and the Wembley pitch is a bookies’ bias for an upset. I suppose it will also rain.

    If the youngsters understand that this is going to be like the game against Stoke, then we will win. Birmingham do not have enough quality to win.

    As long as we understand that the system is set up for an upset then we will win.

    The only important thing is for the youngsters to be alert to dodgy calls from the ref (eg incremental foul calls after the halfway line), a surface that will cut up as the game nears the end, and of-course, illegal challenges from Birmingham that will go unpunished.

    Generally speaking, the level of football will be controlled to produce a level at which Birmingham will appear better than they are.

    If we manage these risks, as we have done so many times this season, I expect us to have enough to win.

  19. Claver says:

    PS; The biggest surprise would be if Birmingham set themselves up to attack, at which they will lose badly.

  20. Rohit says:

    Grrrrrrrrr desi….you jinxed it man!!!

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