Arsenal fans need to keep the faith amid the gloom and despair

By Avenell Dave

So how do you feel this morning, fellow Addicts?

I didn't sleep, feel like there's been a death in the family and have lost my job and home all rolled into one. It's just not logical but there you are.

I'm shattered, having gone over the game again and again in my head and wondered what on earth meant that such a calamitous mistake would happen to us in a cup final.

Since I started watching football in the 1970s, due to the unavailability of tickets, unavoidable work commitments or being abroad, I've missed more Arsenal finals than I've attended.

And every single one I've been to, from Old Wembley to Copenhagen to Cardiff and now New Wembley has resulted in either a replay or defeat.

I read that we've lost 10 finals in the last 30 years - which is only put into perspective when you see than M*nure have lost as many. The difference is, in that time, M*nure have won so much more.

I was never confident about yesterday.

An Arsenal side without Theo Walcott to stretch defences and Cesc Fabregas to pull the strings never has quite the same rythmn as a side in which they feature.

What Cesc must thing when he sees how predictable the side is without him is anyone's guess. I can't imagine Barca would let a game slip like that and I wouldn't blame him for thinking that as well.

But in England, a cup final isn't just a day out for a minnow to get brushed aside by the opposition.

Remember that against a far worse Southampton side when we had a far stronger team, we only scraped to a 1-0 FA Cup inal win a few years ago.

Games are never cut and dried and often draw from players performances that they rarely exhibit in regular games.

Take Birmingham's Ben Foster, who had the game of his life and repelled Arsenal attacks when it looked only a matter of time before we scored.

While RvP and Andrey Arshavin showed glimpses of flair, Tomas Rosicky never took control of the game in midfield in the way he might have done five years ago.

When his name came up on the teamsheet in place of Nik Bendtner, who at least puts in a shift on the right when Samir Nasri directs the game from the centre, I feared for how we would cope.

Yes, Laurent Koscielny, who has been very good of late, will ask himself a thousand times why he didn't just put his foot through the ball and clear it, regardless of Wojciech Szczesny's call - while the Polish goalkeeper will dust himself down and showed great character in consoling his team mates when he must have been hurting more than most.

What should have shocked me though, was how many Arsenal 'fans' sped for the exits as soon as Birmingham scored.

What is it with some of our so-called fans? As I walked out of Wembley, my heart shattered once more, the chants of 'Wenger out' and 'get your chequebook out' broke the silence.

How many of those fickle, pathetic fans would have been chanting something different if we'd hung on and won the game in extra time?

Yes, we have a squad which is nowhere near as good as the first eleven.

Yes, we make elementary mistakes and beat ourselves sometimes.

Yes, there is doubt in every one of us about how long this 'project' can continue before it begins a reign of success.

But we're second in the table, in the FA Cup and going to Barcelona with a lead.

I read last night plenty of fans saying they won't turn up to the Orient game on Wednesday - well that's just the lack of character that they accuse the players of showing!

Maybe we'll fall by the wayside in every compeition and wonder once more what it will take to make the jump from also-rans to trophy winners.

But I'm going to be there for the ride, cheering on the team every step of the way.

If you don't feel the same, give your ticket to someone who will.