It’s FA Cup third round day, the boys head down to deepest darkest Swansea. An area of Wales famed for it’s love of steroids and alcohol fuelled bar fights. I’m sure the away fans will have had a good time if they went down their last night. It’s so cultured.
What is cultured is the Swans football. They’ve had some ambitious managers over the last 5 years who have injected the Welsh club with a fabulous style of pass and move football aided with pace and skill. They’ve landed in the Premier League and bucked the trend of needing to survive playing Sam Allardyce brutalball. This mindset to the game has led to a bit of a trend among other young managers who have laid down similar blueprints at other poorly funded clubs like Southampton, Blackpool and Norwich.
The game we’re heading into carries massive importance to the fans and the manager. Well, at least on paper it carries massive importance for the manager. The last time he tasted success in any competition was against Manchester United in 2005… Patrick Vieira delivering the penalty that took us to victory in an undeserved shootout. That was was our famed captains last game in an Arsenal shirt and pretty much the signal that things were about to get pretty bleak for Arsenal.
What acted as the springboard for a squad decimation and a stadium move can now act as an injection of hope into the flagging career of a manager who has forgotten how to win trophies. A manager who has become so wrapped up in securing the careers of average young players he’s forgotten the purpose of the stadium move and the reason he was given such a massive contract in the first place.
The club can start today by taking this game with the deadly seriousness is absolutely deserves. No one is expecting an easy ride out there, what we do expect is 100% commitment from every player on the pitch. We expect to see a marked improvement over the horror show that was put forward at the Emirates and we expect to see a different game plan.
Wenger has a pretty much a full squad to choose from. Though I don’t expect him to roll out the same team as he did last week, I’m looking to see a near as full strength as possible. I think this game may be more suited to the pacier centre back partnership of Laurent and Thomas. I’m thinking that it’ll be an impossibility to change the midfield from what it was, so expect a Santi, Jack and Mikel line up… then up top, you’d imagine as Theo hasn’t signed on that he’ll take the central role along with Chamberlain and Podolski flanking from the wings. If we had a bit more depth, it would be nice to slip a couple of alternative widemen in for this game. Those two looked very weak against Southampton… as we don’t have depth, there’s no one else we can call on bar Aaron Ramsey… a move that wouldn’t shock me in the slightest.
We need to play a fast pass and move game. We need to accept that they will press us for the full 90 minutes, so we need to counter that with an even faster pass and move game, the type we used to play. If we don’t match Swansea for effort, they have the quality to take us apart. There can be no individual mistaks borne out of sloppiness. Everyone has to be focused on the prize of another game in the FA Cup. Steve Bould needs to make sure he has everyone revved up… maybe share a few FA Cup winning stories of his own. Get the players as excited as the fans… make sure they know who they’re playing for out there.
On the transfer front, Arsene Wenger is pleading football poverty again. He’s predicting a quiet window because football clubs are skint.
“That [the economic situation] could [affect movement], because the clubs have to look at the finances. What makes the clubs are the fans and what makes the fans is the economy. On that front, nobody is really sure what will happen in 2013.”
Wenger can talk about fans affecting clubs finances, but he forgets we all know what’s going on with those TV deals. Football clubs earn most of their cash from those revenues anyway. It’s only Arsenal and United who absolutely cream it in from massive gate reciepts. The economy isn’t an excuse for not buying, it’s an opportunity to make sure we go all out and take advantage of clubs who haven’t been prudent. When things are on their knees, there’s no excuse to get down there and pray like the rest of them. You have to strengthen and ensure you don’t collapse under the doom. We saved for the rainy day, that day is now… so go and make hay Arsene, stop with the constant peddling of impending financial disaster we can see Arsenal have been bullet proofed against.
As for not signing Demba Ba because he’s like Giroud… well, we only play one striker, surely have two the same isn’t an issue? Especially if one is more prolific!
Right, enjoy the 13:30 kick off and have a damn fine day!
Update: 13:30 kick of tomorrow. What a f*cking idiot.