Morning best friends, plenty to crack into this morning, not least the story that Arsenal are 126 years old today! Congratulations! That's only a few years older than Peter Hill-wood! Hurrah!
Wow, 126, 98 years older than me. Who'd have thunk after inception that we'd now be rocking a brand new stadium and commercial deals that are probably the sum of global GDP way back then. It'd be nicer if we could have celebrated our 125th year with a trophy, maybe we can make it this year instead? How about we start the ball rolling with a win in Bradford this evening? Ok... sounds good to me. Let's crack into the match preview!
Wenger reckons he's rolling up north with a strong squad. Players we know who won't be partaking are Giroud, Theo, Sagna and Diaby. I'd imagine we'll be giving starts to the players that sit outside the squad because they won't leave. Up front, I'm seeing a start for Chamakh. The out of favour Moroccan had a blinder against Reading banging in two very well taken goals. We need to hit him with crosses and we need to use his strength. A striker who has the record for scoring the most consecutive goals in the Champions League should be taking Bradford apart with the same flair he calls upon to grease up his hair in the morning.
Feeding him the crosses from out wide isn't clear. Will he opt for Andrey and Gnabry outwide? Or will he move Eisfeld in place of Andrey and stick the Russian through the centre? (A pal of mine informed me Gnabry and Yennaris took the tube to the game at the weekend, good lads). Hey, I might be totally wrong here, I haven't a clue who he'll start. Maybe The Ox will have his chance to shine. Where though? Through the middle or outwide?
Our versatility is killing this post...
Through the middle, one player I demand we see start is Rosicky. The Czech needs to get some minutes under his belt and he needs to get some confidence in those bones. I'd like to see him play alongside Eisfeld. Wenger is keeping the little German a secret. He's smashing it in the reserves yet Wenger seems to be very reserved about giving him a go in the first team. If you remember correctly, it was Eisfeld who came on and turned the game on its head against Reading. He's a fast passer, he likes to move the ball forward and his work rate is typically German!
I'd like to the think the man anchoring the midfield will be Coquelin. He needs to put in a performance. Like Chamberlain, we don't seem to inspire the youthful power performances you used to have to put in to win more games. It's all very mature and very uneventful. He needs to take control of a game and dominate if he wants to be considered over the rest of the season. The last person I want to see out on the field in Bradford is Arteta. Rest him Arsene.
The backline is always going to be a nightmare. Johann Djourrou normally finds himself carted out for his two or three appearances a year. He'll get a game today I'd imagine. Paired up with who? Again, I don't know. I'm guessing Squillaci with Miquel at right back and Meade at left back. I could be wrong though, we might put Miquel in the middle and throw Yennaris in at right back. That seems quite inexperienced in a game Wenger must, must win.
Maybe we'll see this Chuba Akpom chap at some point? When was the last time a home grown striker came through?
A good cup run is exactly what the club needs. I think this is something ridiculous like our 14th appearance in the quarter finals of the competition under Wenger. Seems quite sad that we've never won it. A bit like our dismal record in the Champions League. Wenger needs this trophy, hopefully the boys know it.
If you're not from England, you're not a real fan.
What I meant to say is that if you're not from England, you might not be aware of exactly how miserable and depressing Bradford is.
It's like an instagram picture with a seventies effect layered over it. It's exactly the sort of place a team of pampered Premiership superstars will despise. I know when I had to do business there, it really put me off my selling game. We can't let that play into their hands. We need to ignore the people, ignore the desolate concrete scenery and ignore the food. Let's get out there and play them off the park. No going 4-0 down in the first half. No feeling sorry for ourselves. Plenty of playing for the right to be in the first team. If we do that, I've no doubt we'll have a fruitful evening.
The main story on everyone's lips today is the one about Arsenal making a move for Nani. He's out of favour at United. He hasn't quite lived up to the 'next Ronaldo' hype and as far as I know, he never put pen to paper on that £140k a week deal he was after. Now, this is what I was talking about yesterday. Signing top players who are not in the reckoning. Only problem here, is that he's out of favour because of his lack of discipline and a bad attitude. You have to wonder if Fergie can't get the most out of him, what are the chances Wenger can? He's struggled with anyone who has had an opinion over the years. I like Nani, he can score, he's creative, he can go at players and he's fast. I just wonder whether Wenger could handle him. The last top player to leave Fergie was Tevez. He's had spats of success, but he also caused Mancini countless headaches.
I'd be excited if we landed him, but I think it's highly unlikely we'd pay his fee or salary.
It's quite hard to sift through the nonsense at this time of year. Everyone is seeking to build out their name as a transfer supremo and there's a lot of nonsense being peddled. I haven't got anything of interest to share, I think we'll be looking to raid Spain in some way if we can make a deal happen. There are a lot of players looking to move out of their homeland. A players whose name I hear a lot is that of Adrian Lopez. I also wouldn't be surprised if we landed Wilfried Zaha. The Theo Walcott deal looks set to expire in the summer without a last minute pen to paper move. I also wouldn't be surprised to see us move for a keeper. The chances of that being Reina are pretty low I'd imagine. Big money, poor form are not a favourable combo!
Anyway, I'll have an ask around and find out of there's anything concrete in the 4000 rumours that come from people who have nothing to offer the Arsenal community outside of the transfer windows.
See you in the comments, wrap up warm if you're heading up north this evening!