Thank you, random social media intern at UEFA! That's what we needed today, shade thrown at us from some kid making like 12 Euros an hour. Fantastic. Anyway, this is going to be short as there's not much point dissecting this in detail, and I have a weapons-grade hangover anyway.
1. Not that we should have ever needed to rely on them, but I'm going to say it anyway: Middlesbrough, you absolutely useless bastards. Good riddance.
2. Our capacity to make thoroughly average (or worse) goalkeepers continued today, as this oddly enough would have been a cricket score had Joel Robles not put up his best performance of the season. Of course he did, even if he is (in my professional opinion) the literal worst starting keeper in the entire Premier League. Some of it was down to our finishing too, but in fairness to the guy he had a good game.
The goals, though, were quite good. The first almost didn't happen, as Danny Welbeck whiffed in hilarious fashion when Mesut Ozil presented a chance on a plate for him. Miss of the season there, for me. Luckily, Hector Bellerin was on hand to sweep it home.
The second was the platonic ideal of the "always play to the whistle" cliche. A pass deflected off of Leighton Baines into the path of Welbeck, and literally everyone in a blue shirt (yellow, in Robles' case) stopped playing like someone had flicked the off switch. They stood stock still as Welbeck passed it to Alexis, who tapped it in. You won't see a more obvious end-of-season-and-we're-on-the-beach-already bit of defending than that.
The last one came in injury time, as Aaron Ramsey got the ball on the edge of the area and curled an unstoppable beauty around Robles and into the far corner. This season's been a bit shit, obviously, but that was a nice way to end it at least.
3. We are in a bit of a pickle for the cup final though, specifically in central defense. Laurent Koscielny got himself sent off in the 14th minute for a ridiculous, stupid, rash, reckless tackle on Enner Valencia that could well have caused him serious harm. Sorry, but that's a red card all damn day.
Later, Gabriel also flew in recklessly into a tackle, and he managed to seriously injure himself in the process. He was in tears as he was stretchered off, so one would assume he's probably out for the final as well. Either way, hope it's not serious and he's well again soon.
All of this meant that Per Mertesacker made his first appearance in ages, and he looked all right once he came on. Good thing, too, because at this point it looks like he's going to have to play next week.
4. While Koscielny's foul was a clear red, and while I generally think Michael Oliver is a good referee, he was utterly abysmal today. The second half was horrid in particular, as both Ashley Williams and Morgan Schneiderlin arguably should have seen second yellows for fouls that he had booked other players for during the match.
It's all kind of pointless given the fact that Liverpool won and all, but the standard of officiating in this league is becoming worrisome.
5. I'm going to do a longer-form autopsy of the season after the final, but Arsene is probably going to make a lot of hay around the fact that at 75 points, we had four more than last season AND it's the largest total for a 5th-place team in Premier League history.
On the other hand, we dropped five completely preventable points in the first two games of the season...you know, before he bothered to buy any players.
Go out and win that cup, boys. Nothing else matters.
Man of the Match: Mesut Ozil