Big team focus blurs the real picture
It’s been five years since Arsenal won a trophy. Although I expect you already knew that. It’s a statistic that’s been knocked around in the media with the same gusto as an Arsenal counter attack.
It was meant to come to an end on Sunday against Birmingham, and Arsenal could move forward without dragging this weighty statistic with them into every competition. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had admitted his desire to win the Carling Cup, and confirmed his intentions be selecting his strongest team for this year’s competition. In the past the Frenchman has used the competition as a platform to test his young, emerging talents.
The focus was on Arsenal’s ‘inevitable’ victory – before the match Wenger had even said that the injured Cesc Fabregas would collect the trophy alongside stand-in skipper Robin van Persie. It was fair to say the Gunners were confident, and that few had reason to doubt them.
But a dreadful mix-up between Laurent Koscielny and the keeper Wojciech Szczesny allowed Obafemi Martins to put the ball in the back of the Wembley net for Birmingham. With the goal so late in the game, Arsenal hadn’t a chance to respond.
It was only then that the focus reluctantly turned to the day’s victors, and with it a statistic that hadn’t been so readily mentioned in the build up to the final. This trophy was just Birmingham’s second in their long history. Forget five years, Birmingham and their fans had waited 48 years to taste success. Their victory over Aston Villa in the 1963 League Cup final was the last time a Blues player had held a trophy aloft.
48 years seems far more significant than five. Almost 10 times more significant if looking at it in purely mathematical terms. But that’s not how it works is it. The focus is on the big teams, and the likes of Birmingham and their fellow ‘lesser’ sides have to make do with filling in the background as the stars take centre stage.
It seems befitting that with the final taking place on the same day as the Oscars, a ceremony that celebrates and lavishes praise upon the stars, at Wembley it was the understudy that stole the show and in doing so reminded football fans of the bigger picture.Tagged in: Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Birmingham, carling cup, football, Obafemi Martins
Recent Posts on Sport
- iBet: A tight game between Northampton and Bradford
- On The Road at the Giro d'Italia: Feeling ill and racing in the rain must be pretty grim
- PSG and the French league must be more proactive in dealing with hooliganism
- The ghost at the feast: Luiz Felipe Scolari hopes that dropping Ronaldinho for the Confederations Cup won't come back to haunt Brazil
- iBet: Chelsea and Benfica to continue scoring runs
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter