I was finishing up my post on Real Madrid during half-time of the Arsenal/Birmingham City Carling Cup final match and I wrote “my sorry, star-crossed Gunners.” I was mostly referring to their sorry display against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup last weekend; a display made infinitely more sorry in light of their brilliant result and performance against Barcelona, a few days prior. But there were definitely some vague unsettling feelings and faint stirrings of nausea and nerves after the first half of today’s Carling Cup final, even though Arsenal had finished strongly. Sports are funny like that. Sometimes, as a spectator, you seem to sense disasters looming in the distance in ways that the participants aren’t able to. But never in my wildest egocentric dreams could I have imagined how prophetic the sentence “my sorry, star-crossed Gunners” would be now that Birmingham City is celebrating with the Carling Cup. “Star-crossed” doesn’t even begin to describe the manner and magnitude of this loss or the surreal quality of the gaffe between Laurent Koscielny and keeper Wojciech Szczesny that gifted Birmingham the cup in the 89th minute. Maybe the suspicions and criticisms about this team are true and they simply don’t have the resolve and killer instinct needed to consistently win big matches. All I know is that my own shock and sorrow transformed into outright heartsickness and pity when I saw the tears in Jack Wilshere’s eyes. It was heartbreaking because he played about as hard and as well as a human being possibly could today. If there is any silver lining in this mess, and these puzzling past few weeks, it’s the drastic, damn-near frantic development of Wilshere into a gamechanging talent/presence. Maybe this loss will be the catalyst that transforms him into the leader Arsenal seems to lack.
Keith J. on Soccer: gnawing at the fragile… Barry Chad on Wedontknowitasfootball’s… West Ham United… on West Ham United — No Sle… Wedontknowitasfootba… on FA Cup: 3rd Round Madness Part… Mr WordPress on Into the Crypts of Copa del…