Prior to Sunday’s big FA Cup tie at the Grove against Burnley the yoof cheered us all up last night with a 3-1 win at the Lane over Spurs in the FA Youth Cup to win a semi-final place against either holders Manchester City or Norwich City. The semi-final is two legged so hopefully a great night out for our youngsters at the Grove will be in store. Well done to the nippers!
Most eyes will be on Sunday though. I think we simply have to select our strongest team, acc
epting as I said in my last blog, that Lukasz Fabianski will get the nod in goal over Manuel Almunia. I’m told by those who follow the youngsters closely that Jack Wilshere has suffered an alarming dip in form in the last couple of months. This probably explains him slipping from what was becoming a fairly regular spot on the bench earlier this season. He showed some immaturity in the Youth Cup last night, getting booked for booting the ball into the stands after a decision he didn’t like, forgivable in a seventeen year old but not something we want to see him making a habit of. A private stern word in his ear is indicated I think.
All this proves why it’s important not to heap too much hope and thus pressure onto a young player’s shoulders. I hope Jack amply fulfils his rich promise and the hopes we all have for him. How he deals with the first backward step in his steady forward progress will be important. I was as daft as a box of toys when I was seventeen. Most teenagers are in my experience. I can only imagine how difficult it is to deal with the pressure of constant media attention at that age.
All that said, I would pick him for the bench on Sunday. If the game goes as we’d all like it to, we might be able to bring him on for fifteen-twenty minutes at the end. Being able to select seven subs rather than five these days gives that extra bit of flexibility. Aside from the result on Sunday I hope that the crowd is not too far under capacity. Tickets are still on general sale. Those regular visitors to arsenalinsider will recall that I floated the idea of cutting the prices for this game by a quarter as a reward for supporter loyalty and in recognition of the economic hard times we’re all facing. Given that this match is the eighth home FA Cup/Champions League game of the season, and therefore additional to the seven cup matches in the season ticket, the club did the right thing in allowing Gold members to “opt out” if they wanted to. I just hope there aren’t too many empty spaces on Sunday. I can see why there might be though. We’ll see. If the gate is well under capacity and we win, the club needs to seriously consider cutting prices for the sixth round.
That’s all for today. Keep the faith!
NEXT UP The lads and TGIF….