Wouldn’t it be great to get to Wembley? Just a couple of wins and we can walk up the Empire Way with a song on the lips and hope in the heart, but first we have another difficult task – beating a very good team who are in form.
Last week Everton were cheated out of a result at Chelsea (quelle surprise!). I watched the game and they deserved not just a draw but the three points – they were the better team. What this tells us is that Everton will take to the pitch full of confidence. Another reason for their positivity will be their last game at THOF, a game I was privileged to attend.
For want of something to write let me review that game in a couple of sentences …. We started well and then Everton took control. Our much lauded midfield was being bossed by the lanky teenager Barkley, who looks a wonderful prospect, and we were struggling to cope with Everton’s attacks. Fortunately, they were lacking a finish and Chesney was playing well. We improved during the second half and took the lead with 9 minutes remaining through an Ozil goal but Everton equalised almost immediately through the excellent Deulofeu. With seconds remaining Giroud rattled the crossbar with his best shot of the season. Everton’s was the best performance by a PL side at THOF this season – they played with verve, fluency and control. Should they replicate this form today we will struggle.
But …… neither team is in the form we were back in November.
Everton: Lukaku is back for Everton and apart from Jagielka they have a fully fit squad. With a midfield of Barry, Barkley, Mcarthy or Osman, plus Mirallas and Pienaar, Everton will swamp the midfield and look to deny us space. An Everton player I like very much is Seamus Coleman whom, if Bacary doesn’t re-sign, I would love to see at Arsenal; he has pace, is a good crosser but above all can defend.
Arsenal: With JW knacked and Ramsey not back until Spurs we will line up with an ancient midfield – Cazorla, Rosicky, Arteta and Flamini – Santi is the youngest at 29!! Of course, I missed out Mesut and Ox but for sake of argument they are attackers.
Fabianski will continue his FA Cup run and perhaps Jenks will feature after a fine game for England U-21’s. Koscielny is having an assessment pre-match but I wouldn’t risk him and hope to see our Club Captain. It may be wise to give Sanogo another game but I would love us to win the FAC so prefer OG.
I doubt AW will agree with me – he rarely does, but given an important game midweek it may be wise to rest Rosicky. We will have a strong bench.
Looking at the remaining teams in the Cup there is little to be fearful of (apart from one obvious exception), win this and the Twin Towers (spiritually if not physically) await.
written by Big Raddy
p.s. If anyone ever sees Raddy in a bar and watches him move from drinking wine to cocktails and onto beer please take him by the arm and remind him that he is too old for such behaviour. Hopefully this will result in a more lucid and informed AA post :-D