So we’re just a few hours away from opening our FA Cup campaign against a Leeds side hoping for promotion to the Premier League. We can laugh and joke about how easy this game will be, but we have to be honest with ourselves, this is going to be tough. The Northerners aren’t coming down to take a spanking, they’re coming down to turn us over much in the same way they did against United last year.
Complacency is a massive problem with the fringe players in our squad, so all the players need to be on red alert today. Going out the FA Cup in the first round will be hugely embarrassing for Wenger who is insistent everyone in his 25 man squad is top top class.
Eboue Squillaci JD Gibbs
Denilson Eastmond Rosicky
Arsh Nikki B Vela
I’d imagine that’s roughly how the team is going to line up. I’d like to see Aaron in the starting line up but he’s still short of match practice. I think our midfield will be terribly weak regardless. Eastmond for me is not a player I relish in the starting 11. He switches off and his passing is often poor when I’ve watched him.
I’m not sure he has the physicality at the moment especially against the hustle and bustle of a Championship side. That really is a pet peev of mine (yeah I said peev). If you’ve ever tried to put on muscle mass, the main obstacles are advice, time and the effort of doing it along side a job. If you’re a pro footballer and you’re light weight, how hard would it be to jump on a weight gain programme and manage it with the best coaches in the world?
Nik B has a great opportunity to shine today. He’s looked off the pace all season, so this will be a big chance for him to climb the pecking order again. He has to want to play as a striker this afternoon, all that dropping deep into midfield stuff is a nonsense. He needs to get into the box, use his height and work his way onto that score sheet.
If I was Arsene Wenger, I’d have Robin Van Persie out there today. He’s not scoring and he needs to be. A couple of goals against Leeds could kick start his year. Shame he’s made of glass…
It’ll be interesting to see how Carlos Vela plays. Apparently he’s a gem in training, he’s just not flavour of the month with Wenger. Seems odd considering he’s exactly the type of player Wenger normally goes crazy for. I guess 14 hookers in a hotel room is a bad career move these days. Times are changing…
Andrey Arshavin needs to recapture his early season form. He’s a wonderful player who has lost his way mentally over the past month. He’s playing for his future with us at the moment. I heard in the summer extra attention was being focused on his work rate in training and in games due to his lackadaisical nature.
Wenger’s admittance that he’s interested in Eden Hazard yesterday reinforced what I heard. It’s hard to see Wenger passing up the chance to offload a lazy 29 year and buy the best young player in France. That really would be an exciting move… though I’d be somewhat sad that we’d lose a true character and genius of the game in the process.
Players to watch out for from Leeds? Well, after watching them extensively this season, I’d say we’ll have to be careful of Beechio. He’s a fat striker who can be magnificent on his day. He has a shot on him and he will put himself about against our back 4 if given the chance. Leeds are coming to attack and will use their wide men to cause us problems. They’ve got two wide men who’ve got plenty of pace and trickery in Snodgrass and Gradel… so Kieron Gibbs and Eboue will have to be switched on today.
Leeds are not coming to defend according to Grayson,
“No, we won’t be doing that. We will try and play how we play on a regular basis. I want us to score goals. That is my philosophy.
It’s a great philosophy and one that we’ll hopefully punish with a glut of goals. We need 100% focus out there today for confidence going forward and for the chance of another piece of silverware. It’s an early kick off, so make sure you drink as much beer as you can on the train on the way in.
Enjoy the game Grovers, I’ll be back on tomorrow with a match report!
FA Cup day eh? There’s nothing quite like it…
P.S. One of my good pals works for premium Karaoke chain Lucky Voice. They’ve got a swanky cocktail bar in London’s Upper Street. I’ve had a chat with them and they’re currently offering anyone with an Arsenal ticket two hours private singing for free between Monday and Thursday. It really is one of my favourite bars in London, so I can’t reccomend it enough… it might also be a great way to appease your partners if they’re sick to the back teeth of Arsenal! For more details, check out the Lucky Voice site.
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