Priorities. Will winning the Capital One Cup remove the monkey of the 7 barren years tag? Well, will it? You know the answer to that, after all who won it last year?
What this cup has become is a chance for us to see how the less well known Arsenal players are developing and give a run-out to the bench warmers, some of whom will be looking to impress prior to a January move. Who we see this evening is pure guesswork but surely JD will get deserved pitch time. Then there is poor Meerkat – how the mighty fall – just a couple of years ago Arshavin was Captain of Russia, and one of the most in-demand players in Europe, now he is not even part of the Russian squad nor a starter for Arsenal. The proposed sale to his home club of Zenith didn’t materialise and he is sadly in limbo, a lovely man, I hope he finds a club where he can reproduce his mercurial talents. A couple of goals tonight would be a good advert.
Goalkeeper is likely to be Shea, but who knows, it could be Don Vito. We should see the developing talents of Yennaris and hopefully Eisfeld, of whom much is expected.
Miquel is a sure starter and from what we have seen looks a very talented player, I hope we can keep him but with such quality ahead of him will he remain patient?
Now we come to a big issue. In a BBC interview Theo stated that a condition of his signing a contract was the realisation of his desire to play centrally (at least that is my reading of his statement). My first thoughts were – you must be joking! Firstly, no-one can or will dictate to Mr Wenger, and secondly, when playing centrally Theo has hardly been threatening. It says much that despite a dearth of strikers consecutive England managers play Walcott on the wing, neither Capello nor Hodgson have given him the main striker role and yet, the man himself believes this is his future position. Based upon what? A belief that he is Thierry Henry re-incarnate?
That said, why not give him a try? Perhaps he can become the lethal finisher Theo obviously believes he is, but with Giroud and Chamakh (and now Gervinho) ahead of him it is unlikely he will be given the chance. The trouble is that 20 minute cameo’s will not be enough to persuade Walcott to sign a contract at a club he obviously loves. Time will tell if he has a place at Arsenal.
So who plays upfront tonight? If fit, it has to be Chamakh. The big man needs pitch time in order for Arsenal to persuade some mug club to buy the big schlump, because at the moment even Peaches’ Mum has more chance of a first team start. If he isn’t available Giroud will get more pitch time. Or could we see both Chamakh and Giroud start with Cham on the left and Theo right?
Whatever team lines up I expect to see some substitutions. Eastmond has done well in his few cameo appearances, Gnabry has been singled out for praise by AW, Bellerin is making huge strides in the reserves and youth teams and at just 17 looks a future first teamer (if he can dislodge The Corporal).
Another Big Day for Nico Yennaris. A proper Gooner.
As to Coventry, it seems a lifetime ago since the Sky Blues came to Highbury on the opening day of the season and beat us 3-0 (just the 19 years, Raddy). It has been a sad decline for this once fine club, languishing 23rd in League One and relegated last season. Mark Robins has much to do to improve their plight.
The Emirates is sold out tonight. What a testament to the policy of playing second string and the attendant fun. 60+ thousand. Compare that to the 28k the Northern Oilers got last night for PL opposition or the 32k at the Bridge.
Whether we win the Capital One Cup or not is hardly relevant, what is relevant is that Arsenal fans come out in vast numbers to support AW’s much criticised (by the media) approach to it.
A win for the Arsenal, an outing for the 2nd team and a full house. What is there not to like?
Written by Big Raddy