I am at a loss. We are about to play our local rivals in an FA Cup game at our home ground and yet ….. look at this face …… Is it bothered? Be honest …. are you as tense as you would expect?
So what is this lack of enthusiasm? Is it the belittling of the FA Cup? I loved it as a child when everything was focussed on the “most important Cup in world team football”, but the Champions League has dulled my passion. Even more worrying is that we are playing Spurs and …. I had better stop – I am boring myself.
Any visit from the miscreants who leak their way through the primordial slime of Tottenham into the magnificent arena that is the Emirates is a chance to retain bragging rights. Today is no exception. And perhaps here is the rub ….. I don’t consider Spurs as rivals, and haven’t for a number of years. Yes, they have done well in the recent past and almost achieved something significant, but the fact is that they haven’t. They are Forever in our Shadow.
Not surprisingly Spurs fans see things differently; when they beat us last season my mail inbox was full, I had phone calls from all around the world, I had over 20 text messages within 15 minutes of the final whistle – every man jack Spurs fan whom I had ever met felt the need to crow, “The worm had turned, Arsenal were doomed, Spurs were on the march to London domination. AVB is a genius ( ), Wenger has lost it, etc etc”.
Do Gooners respond to an Arsenal win in the same manner? Of course not and for many reasons, primarily because we know that we support a bigger club: Not just in terms of trophies, fans, stadium, history but also in every single aspect of a football club.
Spurs are very confident going into the game – so they should be after beating MU – it was a fine victory. Ade is playing his 6 decent games a season and we all know he scores at the Emirates, Eriksen looks like the creative player they have been missing, the central defence has improved with the signing of Chiriches and as ever they have strong attacking FB’s.
And …. we have an injury list as long as a whale’s todger.
We are none of us particularly interested in the ever-so-dull Spurs, so lets move onto the men who matter ……
Arsenal: Who knows whether Mr Wenger will prioritise the FAC? This is another opportunity to get the trophy monkey off his back but given the injury list and his focus on the CL and PL, Mr Wenger may choose to play a weakened team. I don’t believe he will as he knows how important beating Spurs is to the fans and winning is a habit. As such, and given there is a week until our next game, I expect to see us line up with a strong team.
Ramsey, NB, Gibbs, probably Giroud, maybe Ozil and the usual suspects are out.
If OG is out we have little choice but to continue with Theo and Podolski in a 4-4-2, it didn’t work vs Cardiff but to be fair the Welshman defended very well and there was no space for our attackers. Today should be different , especially if Özil is fit; he knows Podolski’s game and is starting to find Walcott’s runs.
I don’t like the Arteta/Flamini combo, and would much rather see Rosicky start alongside Arteta but AW will play safe.
Our problems may arise should we be losing with 20 mins to go and need some attacking thrust off the bench – there is none. We can hope for something special from Gnabry or Ryo but this puts quite some weight on very young shoulders .
Expect Spurs to play the entire game on the counter-attack. Both their goals at Old Trafford came from breakaways and it will come as no surprise to see Sherwood park the bus, pack midfield and look for the pace of Soldado and Lemon to set up Ade.
Combined Team: Not as easy as I first thought.
GK: Two excellent young keepers, both prone to silly mistakes, both first choice for their countries, both highly thought of by their team’s fans. Having done some research as to which GK made the least mistakes leading to goals in 2013 I was surprised to find it was our TPIG!
Defence: Our defence works as a unit, individually there may be some question as to whether Sagna is better than Walker or if Rose is the equal of Gibbs but our CB’s are the best in the PL as is our goals against record.
Midfield. OK. Sandro is a decent player, so is Dembele. Eriksen has potential. Capoue is a player I hoped we would sign but instead we got Flamini. Let’s be honest all our MFs are better, even our B team midfield would get a gig at WHL.
Attack. Giroud or Soldado? Lemon or Walcott? Ozil or Townsend/Ade or whoever else Spurs have who can play as an attacker?
so ….. here it is the combined Arsenal/Spurs team:
I know what you Spurs fans are thinking ….. where are Wilshere, Rosicky, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Monreal, and Vermaelen (all internationals)? And you are right. sadly there are only 11 places up for grabs.
The bookies have us as favourites and they are seldom wrong. Given a fair performance from referee Mark Clattenberg, the 4th round awaits.
Written by Big Raddy