The Arsenal travel west to kick off their FA Cup campaign against Swansea with Gooners, especially those who were at Ashburton Grove last month, fearfully recalling how we were outplayed by today’s opponents that day.
I was behind the goal where their two goals were scored and which triggered off the most hostile final whistle response from the home support I have ever seen in all the 50 odd matches I’ve attended.
My initial reaction to drawing Swansea in the FA Cup was not the best, mainly due to seeing other Premier League teams draw the likes of Crawley or Peterborough, and therefore given more latitude to rotate their squad.
To date Arsenal have won 6 of the 12 meetings with one draw and of course the aforementioned win for Swansea. The only major absentee from that defeat was Sagna, who is suffering from an indifferent spell of form and I would like to see Jenkinson take his place with the BFG coming in for our captain, who is also not playing to his potential either.
Due to the eternal absence of Diaby there is little room for rotation so the middle three will probably comprise Arteta, Jack and Santi with a top three of Theo, Posdolski and Giroud. The variations on this are Oxo in for Theo with our current contract rebel in as a late sub. Another possible change is to insert Ramsey in the middle three, perhaps instead of Santi to make for a more defensive set up. although he is bound to receive a “warm” reception being an ex Cardiff City player.
This is more or less the same team that Swansea faced in December and one would hope the manager will send the team out with the challenge that they make amends for the insipid performance that culminated in the late Michu brace and resulted in the home league defeat.
The opposition only have one absentee, long-term injury victim Neil Taylor who won’t be seen this season, and therefore they will be at full strength and with the previous meeting fresh in our minds our best hope is that complacency will be Swansea’s downfall.
Especially if they look at our listless performance last time out at St Mary’s.
Today’s explorer is Edgar Evans, from Roshili, a village near Swansea, who served on the ill-fated 1911-12 Scott expedition to Antarctica. He left his home town to serve as a Torpedo lieutenant on the HMS Majestic before he began the first of his three exploratory sojourns.
He was one of five men who failed to return to base camp after they reached the South Pole in January 1912 and met with an icy death, with Captain Oates uttering those famous words: ”I am just going outside and I may be some time.”
Should Arsenal fail to win today I suspect a good many gooners will be feeling similarly cold to their team, however with an energetic, and dare I say vengeful, performance theirs no reason we cannot progress to the fourth round.
The away support will do us proud, as they always do, but it will take a brave and committed performance from the good guys to keep us in the hunt for the FA Cup
Charybdis1966 (on Twitter and Youtube)