By Avenell Dave
If there's one thing I've come to realise over the years. it's that Arsenal fans are pessimists.
I remember sitting at Villa Park in 1999 saying to a fellow Addict that I was gutted we were going to penalties in the FA Cup final replay.
There were five minutes left and Dennis Bergkamp's penalty miss at the end of normal time was a memory, and my friend said he'd happily take penalties now.
Moments later Ryan Giggs ran through and the M*nure treble was on.
It was as if he knew, being a few years older than me, that we were likely to mess it up.
Let's be honest, few of us are old enough to remember the glory years of the 1930s when we won trophies so regularly that it could be called an era of domination.
When George Graham started winning trophies in the late 1980s and then under Le Boss, we've always been a contender but never the side who sweeps all aside them in the way Liverpool or M*nure have done in recent decades.
In one respect, that makes winning trophies all the more pleasurable for us Addicts, but it also means we don't always build the aura of authority and intimidation that comes with being a great team.
The mitigating factor for Arsene Wenger has been, of course, the new stadium which is expected to lead to the announcement of our first yearly losses when the figures are announced next week.
While we all wish we had signed this one of that one, the fact is, the money has to be spent wisely and that has held us back.
Hopefully resisting the overtures of Barcelona last summer will prove to be a step change for us and we can start building and reinforcing rather than rebuilding every year or so.
Who knows how long Cesc will remain with us? He has been at Arsenal longer than he was at Barca and retains a bond with both clubs without doubt.
It's heartbreaking for our most talented player that he will miss the Carling Cup final this weekend and the chance to start the new era of silverware for the club.
Many journalists and pundits have suggested that winning the trophy could and should be a watershed moment for Arsenal and give the club the confidence and belief to go on and win bigger prizes.
That may be so, even if Wenger could not attest that he has many great leaders in his dressing room in today's press conference.
Reading the tweets from distinguished Arsenal fans on Twitter this morning, it's plain that many of us have a bad feeling about Sunday.
Deprived of two of our first choice players and playing in a final for the first time since the Carling Cup of three years ago against Ch*vski, Birmingham are just the sort of team who could give us a shock.
They may be at the wrong end of the table but in Obafemi Martins and Nikola Zigic they have players who could make our lives difficult.
But, while pre-match nerves are already starting to set in, isn't it about time we started to believe?
We are THE ARSENAL and that has to mean something.
It may not be the same for Cesc to lift the trophy as a spectator but hopefully it will make him hungry for more and give the side a taste of what it's like to put a medal around their necks.
Us fans need to shrug off the shackles that come with being a pessimist and get on with believing in this side and knowing how well we can play.
The real Arsenal will turn up on Sunday and when it does, we will give a display of football that has to brush Birmingham aside.
Let's let Brum fans do the worrying and maintain our own confidence without being arrogant ahead of the big day.
Oh, and let's win this for Cesc - he's our leader and deserves this more than anyone at the club.