Where the Gunners Won the Final -The Little Moments that made a Big Difference

The Arsenal we know and love was on full display Saturday. They showed a blend of industry, guile, and fluid attacking football that helped me fall in love with this team over a decade ago. Regardless of whether or not you feel Alexis’ early goal should have stood, you can’t argue that we were the better team on the pitch and well deserved the title of FA Cup Winners.

Football games are generally analyzed and eventually remembered through the prism of big moments, usually goals and assists. But football is so much more than just these macro moments, as so many other critical moments were on display during the Cup Final. Here is a visual look at 5 of the smaller moments that helped Arsenal exert its superiority over Chelsea.

10’: Xhaka Support

Our new system has led to the instillation of many team values, one of which is the extra support Xhaka has around him. Just as Cazorla, Arteta, and Fabregas have been in recent years, Xhaka is now our structural base and we need to play to his strengths.

This example shows how Xhaka is allowed to sit centrally due to viable options around him: 

He wins the header from a central area and later receives the ball in the same spot, allowing us to transition and attack without having to cover too much ground. He now has bodies around him to do his running for him.

11’: Ozil as the 3rd Midfield Body

It was beautiful to watch Arsenal personnel interchange and take turns providing an extra midfield body to constantly outnumber Chelsea in that area of the pitch. Our wingbacks, Alexis, Ramsey, and Ozil, made it very tough for Matic and Kante to decipher where the next option would come from. This clip shows Ozil coming deeper, dropping a shoulder, and helping transition us into the attacking 3rd: 

26’: The Welbz Outlet

Upon rewatching the game, I lost count after 10 instances of Danny Welbeck being used as an outlet and/or holdup option. This example is just one of many I had to choose from: 

His ability to hold the ball under duress and at a numerical disadvantage was immense. Even when he wasn’t able to keep the ball, Welbeck was a threat running channels and stretching the Chelsea back line. Furthermore, his closing down of the goalkeeper and defenders made Chelsea really struggle to build play from the back. For these reasons, Danny Welbeck was my man of the match.

30’: Defending as a Unit

Hazard receives the ball in space on the left flank and we proceed to get numbers behind the ball and defend him as a team. The awareness of defensive distances and shifting of responsibility from one player to the next is evident as we force him horizontally across the pitch and into a back pass to Matic. We rotationally man-marked him for large chunks of the game to help neutralize his threat. We handled Hazard so well throughout the whole game: 

37’: Winning the Central Midfield Battle

Our improved team shape of the last few months has led to players being in better positions to win balls in the heart of the pitch. It was very much a collective effort on Saturday as the likes of Ramsey, Xhaka, Welbeck, Sanchez, and even Ozil helped dominate centrally. Xhaka’s win here leads to a free-kick in a dangerous area: 

When we look back on this game we’ll remember big moments like the contentious Alexis goal, the Holding head tap towards Costa, the Moses dive, the Ozil slide tackle on Hazard, and the Ramsey winner. These moments will resonate forever and deservedly so. While this triumph is still fresh in our memories, I urge you to take a step back and appreciate the little moments. The moments that may not endure the test of time but were just as vital to this immense result.



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5 Responses to Where the Gunners Won the Final -The Little Moments that made a Big Difference

  1. ANAND May 30, 2017 at 8:18 am #

    You guys have analysed our FA cup win as though we have won The Champions League Final defeating Barcelona or Real Madrid. The performance was just a flash in a pan. People like Ramsey perform in fits and earn huge salary because of useless Manager like Wenger. Because of fans like you we are just a bunch of looser and will have 2 more years of average football because Idiot Wenger will get re-appointed. Do not waste your time and move on in Life. Look beyond 2020 for arsenal to achieve any provided we do not have filtered idiots like Wenger & Kroenke running the club.

    • Dougie Cazorla June 2, 2017 at 2:26 am #

      I appreciate the read ANAND. I hope you get a few more hugs from here on out in life!

  2. Big Raddy May 30, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    What a shame Anand comes to such a stupid conclusion having read a fine analytical post about a wonderful AFC victory over the PL Champions in a major Final.

    Keep up the good work Mr Cazorla

    • Dougie Cazorla June 2, 2017 at 2:30 am #

      Really appreciate it Big Raddy. If you can’t appreciate a performance like that and the shift our boys put in, there is no point in supporting a team in this beautiful game. Let’s just hope this momentum carries into next year and we keep catering to the strengths of our players. COYG!

  3. moemedi May 30, 2017 at 10:21 am #

    Excellent response ANAND. Especially how you call the team yours when you clearly don’t even support them. are you not the one in need of moving on in life because Ramsey is sure staying at Arsenal so is Arsene. that’s definitely not your team, maybe you r a Spud eh, done very well for getting second position once in 30 years yet you vilify someone who actually won something.

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