We are at home. The tickets are cheap. It is an autumn night. There are few expectations. We have a big enough squad to play some top players mixed with exciting youngsters. Southampton play expansive, attacking football.
Wish I was going.
Given the size of our squad and the strength of our bench I believe our B team can win the Capital One Cup. It would be a fine addition to the trophy cabinet and something we haven’t achieved since Rasp had hair …. without looking it up, when were we last League Cup Winners? (see bottom of post).
Reading Koeman’s pre-match thoughts it appears as though S’ton are going to play a very strong team, as close to the first team as possible. I can understand why because winning a piece of silverware – any trophy at all – would be huge for S’ton whose last trophy win was back in 1976, almost 40 years ago!
S’ton, 6th in 2nd Div. beat Man Utd at Wembley with a goal by Bobby Stokes 1/5/1976
How will Mr Wenger respond? Well, we know that Diaby will start and I wish him all the best. He is such a good player whose career has been hampered by injury, at 28 he still has the chance to achieve his ambitions.
Ospina will start his first match for the Gunners. This is a strange signing for me – a fine signing for the club but weird for Ospina. Perhaps he believes TPIG is not very good and that he has a chance to usurp him, I think he is mistaken but I guess he is earning a far higher wage and is happy to ride the pine for the foreseeable future. As I say, an odd decision for a much in demand International class keeper.
Another point of interest will be the progress of Akpom. Chuba has played and scored for England at every Youth level, he is the fastest player over 10 yards in recent AFC history (beating both Walcott and Henry) and recently scored a hatrick for the U-21’s. He looks excellent when playing in the U-21’s but it is a huge step up to play with the Big Boys. Ray Kennedy did it, Anelka did it, can Chuba Akpom?
Then there is Isaac Hayden. Could he be the reason Mr. Wenger didn’t buy a back-up central defender? He did well in his previous outing with the first team when he played the defensive midfield role and looked very composed in the recent U-21 win over WBA.
It is upfront where we have so much in reserve. A forward line of Podolski, Akpom and Campbell is dangerous, add in the attacking midfield of (I assume) the Ox or Rosicky and we should score goals. The problem, as ever, is in defence.
This team could be a bit light defensively so perhaps Akpom will be on the bench and Ox play on the left with Campbell through the middle. Another alternative is Flamini at left back rather than Gibbs. Why? Because there is a rather important game on the weekend and we do not want to risk an injury-prone Gibbs.
So …… did you recall the last time we won the League Cup? Yes, it was in the 1992/3 season when we won the Cup Double against Sheffield Wednesday. I went to all 3 games at Wembley and this was the first. It was the Coca-Cola Cup in those days and we won 2-1. Sheffield scored first, the Merse equalised then Steven Morrow scored the winner. It was the famous occasion when Tony Adams broke Morrow’s arm whilst celebrating
Morrow’s Big Day Out and a pre-recovery Merse.
Win this and there are just 9 PL teams left in the draw. Lose and we free up some game-time. Here’s to an entertaining match.
written by Big Raddy