Gooners Was it a tragedy those few weeks ago? No. Downright embarrassing maybe? A little. Sinking ship as many suggested? Someone is having a laugh. The scoreline was surprising but the result was not unexpected for me. It was one of those games where every shot by the opposition would be on target and chances are it will end in the back of the net. I still remember Lee Sharpe’s League Cup exploits against us many moons ago.
This is no different. Only thing is it came against Spurs. Not many Gooners can take it, even if it is the CC. For me, I look at the bigger picture and what is ahead of us.Carling CupPainful as it may seem for some, we have to remember that this is Wenger’s breeding cup, where young and new players get a soft introduction to English football without the risk of dropped points in the Premiership. I see lots of Gooners in various sites and comments saying Wenger should have fielded a stronger squad or maybe even put out the first team. Why? If he did put out his first team, should he stick to the same policy for the final then?
The CL match against AC Milan is on 20/2 whereas the CC final is on 24/2. If we put out the first team for the semi final and use a mixed squad for the final, what difference does it make? I know which match I would rather have my first team.It may still be silverware to some but let us not get over ourselves and clamour for anything that comes our way just because we have not won anything for 2 seasons. The one thing I realise is that if we do play our first team, we would have won it.
Our mix and match team can bring us so far. The first team will bring us all the way. But do we need to exert the first team over this? I would rather we do Newcastle in over the next 2 games. Which brings us to….NewcastleArsenal have a chance to burst Newcastle’s bubble even before it gets pumped up. What is dangerous is the Keegan bandwagon gaining momentum. By beating them in the next 2 meetings, we have the opportunity to uncover the so-called ‘Messiah’ and make him human again.Second string playersWenger must have said something to Diaby. His game has improved slightly.
His is passing more but when the chips are down didn’t trust his team mates enough. His decision making is still suspect as many a time he could have laid an easy ball to the left but opted to shoot. Pretty much says it all why he is not the first choice even with all that talent and hype as the next Paddy.Walcott must learn to take more responsibility.
Confidence is one thing but what worries me is that he looks scared to receive the ball or play the wrong pass. He should go into matches by grabbing it by the scruff of the neck. He was anonymous last night. His game is so English (kick and rush) that it is taking him longer to flourish at Arsenal because the game there is so instinctive. A total change from what he is used to. We know he is a good finisher. But all credit to Wenger for developing his other technical skills. A good player to learn from would be Eduardo. He does not have the pace but he uses his guile and that takes a player’s career further.
Gilberto looks like a player playing out the season and moving on thereafter. He looked lost and disinterested. Would I still use him after this? Maybe. But I would rather use Denilson (assuming he is fit) and Diaby as central pairings for the FA Cup. This would allow Wenger to use Walcott/Randall/Lansbury in one of the wings with Rosicky/Hleb on the other.EndWenger has always insisted this is a youth cup for Arsenal.
When we win, no one screams for the senior players. When we lose, Wenger is a prick for gambling with the cup. Get a grip. We know how the cup would be treated every season. This is not the first time he has done it.Thing is, it was the youth (sprinkled with some experienced but not or no longer first teamers) who got us to where we were. Congratulate them. Take heart they are miles ahead of the majority of the Premiership sides. Look at Manure, their kids got dumped by Coventry.Appreciate what we have.
Sunday, 3 February 2008
Manchester City away was a far trickier tie towards the start of the season, but come Saturday Arsenal will still have a hell of a game on their hands. As Manchester United found out, the City of Manchester Stadium has been a bit of a fortress for the blue half of Manchester. City are unbeaten at home in the Premier League this season and they have played United and Liverpool there so far.
Sven has done brilliantly with his side and he knew home form would determine what they achieved this season. At the start they won 9 games in a row on their own turf but since then, Blackburn, Liverpool and West Ham have drawn there. In the first two of those games, City were lucky to win and we are playing them at the best time. Their form has dipped an awful lot and the draw at Derby this week highlighted this.
The form of Elano has fallen and they are relying on the quality of Martin Petrov to get goals. Michael Johnson, although so young, has been a big influence on the side and his absence has coincided with the first real hiccup for "Mr Blue Eyes". City have looked a bit more shaky at the back and Micah Richards and Dunne have looked vulnerable at times. Joe Hart has played extremely well between the posts and has become a real player for the future.
After back to back victories and a slow rise back to form, we have a good opportunity to inflict City’s first defeat at home in the League. The squad is unchanged from Tuesday night and I think it could be the same starting line up. Why change it if its not broken? As long as we see none of the silly passing from Senderos, similar to the last 10 minutes in midweek, we should be ok at the back. Daniel Sturridge will be a pest but I feel Gallas’ experience will prevail here.
The best battle will be Martin Petrov vs Bakary Sagna. These two have definitely been two of the best signings this season and it will be a great tussle as they come head to head. Sagna has made our defence a far tighter and secure unit this season, but crucially he has provided a great attacking outlet, fitting right into out style of play. Martin Petrov has been brilliant this season for City, he has pace, skill and one of the best left foots in the business. His crosses are accurate more often than not and his set pieces could trouble us.
Flamini will be confident of doing a job on Elano as he is the other main attacking threat to us. Otherwise we should be able to cope with City and try and dominate the game. If we play the way we did against Newcastle we really should win this game. We have Adebayor in brilliant form and he will want to score for the 8th game running. We are making chances and when you do that, you score goals and I feel it may take more than one to take the three points on Saturday
Wenger could go with Theo for this game in place of Diaby. This would mean Hleb moving to left midfield where he plays better than the right in my opinion. However, Diaby looked better on Tuesday; he passed the ball earlier and used his strength in ways we expect from him. It may take patience and retention of the ball for this game; Theo really can be a loose cannon. Yet his pace could cause trouble to Ball/Garrido.
We have come through some difficult away ties this season and this will be another one. We are against a team that are good at home as mentioned and we need to keep our focus and the eye on the prize: the Premier League trophy. From here on in, every game counts!
Benik In Action During The Nike Cup [Picture From Nike Photographer]
Article From Young Guns:
An out and out striker, Benik is already top scorer for the Under 16s, despite being only 14 years old, strong, and an excellent finisher he is blessed with blistering pace.
Benik is also full of tricks and posses a high level of technique for such a young player, to complete the list of his qualities, he is a threat in the air, and can handle the physical side of the game, this season as he grows up, his power and upper body straight have significantly developed.
Straight out of the very top draw of the latest crop of Academy talent. Despite being of Congo descent Afobe was born in England and will look to push on next season for a place in the England Youth team’s next season.
Read More About The Young Players In Our Player Profiles Section
Name: Benik Afobe
Previous Clubs: –
Contract : Scholarship