Who will be the stronger team – our reserves or Hull’s?
Let’s weigh up the evidence: Arsenal have a second team full of players who have been strained through one of the most rigorous examinations of world footballing talent. Targets identified, Arsenal spend many millions bringing players into the squad then working together to become a team. They are pampered, cosseted and trained by the very best coaches money can buy.
Hull are not in this fortunate position. Their scouting for squad players involves going to the local park and seeing if there are a few blokes who can run a bit and have a sense of direction.
Hull are expected to make 9 changes from their last game and Arsenal about the same. What does this say about the current status of the FA Cup?
Yesterday I had a pleasant chat with a friend on this very subject (following on from a discussion on AA with Herb). Is the FA Cup relevant? Is it important to anyone who was born post-Sky Sports?
The first thing to say is that financially it is far better to finish 4th than to win the FAC. This diminishes its value to the moneymen and accounts (to some extent) in big clubs using squad members prior to the semi-final.
Secondly, winning the FAC gains entrance into the Europa Cup which is hardly a plus.
Then there is the unfortunate decision on the part of the FA to play semi-finals at Wembley, thus diminishing the grandeur of the Final.
Balanced against this is Glory. Silverware. Tradition. History. A Street Parade. Champagne. Celebration on a massive scale. Placards around the Emirates.
Which is more important to you?
Back to today: Let’s see how many I get …
Chambers BFG Koscielny Gibbs
El Nino Flamini Iwobi
Campbell Theo Welbeck
Should be enough to win and allows the main players to rest ahead of the big midweek game.
I expect most of this afternoon’s entertainment to come from the man who used to wear black but now wears yellow and black – the mercurial Mike Dean. This bloke is a complete plum and probably a Parking Attendant in daily life. Inefficient, egotistical, blind – many an epithet comes to mind. Earlier this season over 100,000 people signed a petition for him not to referee AFC again, yet the FA selected him which tells all about how the FA view the paying punter’s opinions.
I could, and probably will, write a post about the deeds of Mr Dean.
Don’t forget the early K.O.