Will Arsenal’s Three Millionth Trophyless Minute Be Their Last?

Chris Wright

25th, February 2011


By Chris Wright

By the time that the Carling Cup final kicks-off this Sunday afternoon, 5 years, 9 months, 6 days and 15 hours will have elapsed since Patrick Vieira sidled up and stroked his penalty past Roy Carroll to win the FA Cup for Arsenal.

It would prove to be Vieira’s last act as Arsenal’s standard-bearer and captain, as the Frenchman duly departed for Juventus a month later – a move which, with the application of perfect 20/20 hindsight, effectively brought down the curtain on the club’s glorious domination over domestic proceedings during the first half-decade of the 21st century.

Over three million minutes have drifted away, up and out into the cosmos since that final in Cardiff back in May of 2005.

Vieira is a spent-force conversely winding down with newly-aspirational Manchester City, Arsenal have hauled up their roots, converted the site of their old library into people storage and moved into a bigger place down the road, Arsene Wenger’s hair has passed through the ‘greys’ and is now approaching the ‘silvers’ and yet that darned FA Cup is still the most recent addition to their groaning trophy cabinet.

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably have say it again at some point in the near future: I’m no expert.

There are several hundred Arsenal-centric bloggers out there that will have picked through the reasons in greater detail than I will ever be prepared to, but it’s surely no coincidence that Wenger’s barren streak just so happens to run parallel with his self-imposed, youth-orientated squad regeneration.

The revolution obviously didn’t begin with Vieira’s departure as the sole epicentre (Wenger had assembled a decent enough undercurrent of young talent at Arsenal long before that) but the fact that the then-17-year-old Cesc Fabregas pulled on his predecessor’s shirt and smoothed over the ruction in the squad with such amiable ease duly allowed Arsene to begin refitting from the fringes inwards, whilst still maintaining a core stable enough to keep the club ‘there or thereabouts’ when it came to competing with their perennial domestic and European rivals – an amazing feat in itself.

Only Fabregas (23), Johan Djourou (24), Gael Clichy (25), Robin van Persie (27), Emmanuel Eboue (27) and Manuel Almunia (an goalkeeping anomaly at 33) remain from Arsenal’s 2004/05 squad and the fact that they are tentatively regarded as being the ‘elder statesman’ of the Gunners current squad is testament to the sheer amount of young talent that Wenger has absorbed and tended to during the past five or six years.

Earlier in the season, Wenger raised eyebrows by vowing (at Arsenal’s AGM if memory serves) to abandon his policy of merely using the Carling Cup to blood various members of his ever-swelling creche in lieu of making a concerted effort to win something again – thus ending the club’s five-year dry-hump and validating the progression and maturity of his youngsters with a trinket to attribute to them and them alone.

For a man who once claimed that winning the Carling Cup ‘wouldn’t even warrant a trophy parade’, this represented a significant sea-change for Wenger and, it’s fair to suggest, the descension of a couple of rungs from atop his once-haughty pedestal.

While there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with ‘going ugly early’, so to speak, there was something resolutely cockle-warming about watching Arsene finally accept that he may have to start lowering his standards if he wanted to win anything this year – especially after sitting through years of his ‘holier than thou’ spiel, even if his post-match diatribes were nothing more than a strategical defense mechanism to protect his vulnerable fledglings.

Since that AGM was held in October, it just so happens that Arsenal are still competing for honours on four fronts this season – a scenario that many wouldn’t have predicted before the season began – with the Carling Cup being the least illustrious of the quartet.

There may well be bigger prizes in store for Wenger’s band of tyros this season, though it’s an indisputable fact that a single, one-off win over Birmingham (a team they have already beaten twice in the Premier League so far this campaign) on Sunday will mean that Arsenal’s 182,185,200th sec0nd of fruitless toil since Vieira’s heroic swansong will also be their last.

One question: Do you fancy them?

Posted in Arsenal, Birmingham City, Opinion

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  1. Iceman says:

    How boring! Another Arsenal hater who jumped on the bandwagon. How many minutes and seconds? You sad bell-end! Strange that such a no-hope trophyless club gets such attention for every game. Every commentator and pundit rolls out the ‘It’s been nearly six years now…’ Why don’t you go and support the Yids (unless you already do) and see how long it is since they won the league, or Citeh, Liverpool and a whole host of other teams. Arsenal and their so-called crap defence and keeper have got 56 points and are still in 4 competitions. SO SUCK IT UP!!!!!

  2. tomas says:

    but its true :) chill out idiot

  3. PurpleSteve says:

    @Iceman Did you read the article? Take your head out the cannon barrel and look again; it’s an honest, fair, and not at all negative analysis of Arsenal’s recent history.

    On topic: I think the Gunners will win on Sunday. I don’t think they’ll make easy work of it, but I think they’ll take home the trophy.

  4. Conor O Riordan says:

    Birmingham have always been a bogey team for Arsenal. They drew 0-0 at St.Andrews last year if my memory serves me correctly and who can forget Eduardo-gate? The Arse will still probably win through, mind. Ho-hum.

  5. Sam says:

    Actually look at the Arsenal teams that have played in the carling cup this season and you’ll see that they were all second teams with 7-9 changes from the league games played either side. Even in the Spurs game. Yes he’ll probably play the first 11 in the final, just as he did against Chelsea a few seasons back. This isn’t news.

    Arsenal have a fantastic recent record in the league cup, so rather than writing tired articles that have been done 100 times before by other hacks why don’t you discuss the coming 50 year anniversary of Spurs last winning the league?

  6. Del says:


    Birmingham to win the trophy!!!

    How boring would it be if another year passed where the League Title, FA Cup trophy and Carling cup trophy just get shared out between the same 2/3 teams? BORING!!! -_-

    One of the best feelings in the world is when an underdog does something amazing! Like Switzerland beating Spain 1-0 at the world cup and Newcaslte coming back up from being 4-0 down!

    Those are the victories that stay with you!!

  7. Jesus says:

    I thought you made some fair points. Decent read for a neutral.

  8. dc says:

    you clearly did not read the “about us” section on the right side of the page

  9. Montesquieu says:

    Chris Wright is a tragic contributor, often using forced humour and equally horrendous metaphors for generally unfunny banter.

    In other words, don’t quit your day-job.

  10. Barrie says:

    I cannot see past Arsenal tomorrow. They appear to have matured this season and they look like dead-certs for tomorrow’s final.

  11. BettySwollocks says:

    @montesquieu Whats all the bitterness for? Did he get the job ahead of you or something? Cunt

  12. Bottlers says:

    and it will be another 3million. ha ye fuckin bottlers. koscielny strikes again.

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