Frank Stubbs: The merry month of May

13/14: Arsenal 1-1 Wigan Athletic - Lukasz Fabianski

Saturday was a mighty fine day. A close one but a day to celebrate reaching our first FA Cup final since beating Man United back in 2005. They are the bare facts now the dust has settled but I would be wrong to leave it there!

On a personal level, the day's events could not have gone any better although until Per nodded in our equaliser it looked as though it might just be a complete disaster.

Our huge allocation meant more Gooners than usual could attend and as a result the areas all around Wembley were a sea of red and white. It brought a tingle to the spine and saw the vast majority of us enjoy the lengthy pre-match build-up with a massive smile to accompany the enormous PMT.

Our particular supporters club saw the kind of numbers present where it felt almost like a private party, and boy did we enjoy it.

The game itself will never be described as a classic and proved to be an extremely tense affair, especially after we found ourselves behind. Not in the script, intensely frustrating and more than worrying on the day.

Our support, however, was magnificent, and I'm convinced it played a major part in driving us forward as limbs began to tire.

How we didn't score in the build-up to our equaliser is beyond me. Bac smacked the post and Wigan's goalkeeper made an incredible save from Gibbo, all in the space of a couple of minutes.

When the goal did come, it was graced with a small degree of good fortune. The Ox didn't catch his shot quite right and the BFG was there to nod home. Jostle? You better believe it! Fifty thousand Gooners writhing, full of relief as much as anything else.

Wigan defended admirably all game, just like they did when beating Man City twice in the last 12 months, and despite our dominance throughout the remaining minutes and extra time, we all had to endure the painful experience that is a penalty shoot-out. The Ox came closest to winning the game when his thunderous shot smacked the woodwork as time was running out.

Back in 2005 I remember being nervous beyond belief in the final but for some reason I felt very calm as the players stepped forward on Saturday evening. Fortunately of course, our penalty takers seemed to match that, and with Lukasz playing his part that merry day out in May is ours.

Not our most convincing display but we showed guts and determination to see it through and the best team from the tie has definitely progressed.

Saturday night is all a bit of a blur if I'm honest but with the emotions we all went through I think we can be excused for enjoying the moment.

Tuesday's visit of West Ham means we have absolutely no time to rest. Another enormous game in our season.

As Gooners we can go into the fixture knowing that little yellow ribbon is waiting for that lady to wear in May.

And if that doesn't give us all a massive lift, nothing will.

Come on you mighty reds!


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