It’s FA Cup time for us. We’ve watched Jose Mourinho and OGS lead their teams to magnificent replays after embarrassing stalemates, we have to avoid that sort of indignity at all costs.
Mikel Arteta might look to Jose Mourinho for a little inspiration. When the ‘Special One’ first landed at Chelsea, he went all guns blazing in the cups, making the league cup the first win of historic tenure.
We don’t have the luxury of a league cup run, but we do have a great opportunity to progress today against a Leeds side that has promotion on their mind.
I don’t know how the manager will line up for this one, but he’s making big noises about winning something.
“I think winning brings togetherness and when you have beautiful experiences together and you win trophies, those experiences stay within that group,” Arteta said.
“You like more the people you work with and you believe more in them and share some fantastic moments and that stays.
“That habit of winning, winning and winning. After you win, you don’t want to stop winning and you become addicted to that and that is what we have to try and implement at this club.”
There’s no lack of clarity there, he’s not a top 4 merchant, he wants to build a winning machine.
I suspect the pumped-up rhetoric is part for the fans, but more for the second string players he’s going to likely have to pick this evening. We’ve had problems the last few seasons raising our levels with players who sit on the bench. Rotation of the squad hasn’t always been fair and to be honest, the depth of our bench has been fairly poor. This season, the main difference is we have a lot of kids who intro’d last season who are year older, and all should be desperate to impress the new management team.
Matteo G and Dani Ceballos are probably the two closest to the first team with the most to prove. Matteo has been all over the place this season, far too much responsibility was put on his shoulders and he’s struggling for form… worse, his attitude has been less than spotless. He has the chance to show he can play with discipline and listen to a manager that will be good for him. I’d really love him to blow up under Arteta.
Dani is very different, there’s been no lack of enthusiasm, more a struggle to keep pace with the relentless physicality of the Premier League. I think his attitude is there, the talent is not in doubt, he just needs to be given a clear role and deliver against it. No way his energy isn’t going to be useful over the next 5 months.
Nicolas Pepe could start again, if he does, this is a huge test of attitude. It’s all well and good putting on a show against United, but can you motivate yourself against a Championship side? I hope so.
As for the kids, I’d love to see Saka have a chance further up the pitch. I think this could be a good game for ESR to show what he’s made of. I’d also love Willock to deliver to productivity in the final third, the club are clearly excited about him, hopefully he can show the fans why.
… could also be a bit tasty to see Eddie land some minutes.
No idea who else is going to play, but I do think it’d be wise to put some heavy rotation into the starting 11 so we don’t suffer any more injuries to key players.
It’s a home game, Arteta is clearly looking for a performance from the fans after seeing a lot of empty seats this weekend (shame on you, Stoke City fans).
“It is too powerful, with the fanbase we have, our history and the great players they have seen and the great teams they have seen, if we get that connected it is so powerful. Without that, I think it is impossible to do it.”
You heard the man, take your vuvuzelas and makes some noise.
Enjoy the evening, I’m very sad not to be there… also listen to my podcast with Matt.