NEXT UP FOR THE CUP – BLUEBIRDS

 

A disappointing result against the ‘appy ‘ammers on Saturday. We really needed all three points. I was mildly encouraged by the performance though. We lacked a cutting edge up front and Emmanuel Adebayor still seems to be suffering from his Samson problem. Since he cut off his locks he hasn’t been the player he was.

Niklas Bendtner was fairly ineffectual too. One thing he does add though is a young salmon like leap with the ball in the air. His jumping technique is uncannily reminiscent of John Radford, the centre-forward in the late 1960’s early 1970s team that won the European Fairs Cup (UEFA Cup in today’s money) in 1970 and the League/FA Cup Double in 1971.

We need to put the League aside for a couple of days though and focus exclusively on the FA Cup replay at the Grove. There will be a big away presence tomorrow night at the Grove. Cardiff City has already sold 6,500 of its 8,700 ticket allocation and all the home tickets are sold out. I expect the normal quota of 2-3,000 season ticket holders to turn up in fancy dress, disguised as empty seats, especially as the game is live on Setanta and the ticket exchange scheme is not in operation for this the match. Expect an announced “tickets sold” attendance of around 57-58,000 and about 52-53,000 actually in the ground.

I’ve said it before and I’ll bore you by saying it again. A season is built one game at a time. Let’s expel all thoughts of the League until the final whistle on Tuesday night. I hope we’re all celebrating going through to the fifth round then. I think it will be tough against last season’s runners-up, despite them chasing promotion from the Championship.

Off the park the transfer window draws blessedly to a close at 5.00pm tonight, thank all that’s holy. I think Arsčne is right in saying the winter window is becoming a huge distraction. Personally, I’d scrap it for all the elite leagues and only allow transfers from elite clubs to lower division teams and between lower division teams. Aside from anything else it would help curb the ability of the moneyed elite to buy success. I have no idea whether Andrei Arshavin will join us. Frankly I’m past caring. Good player that he is I don’t think he addresses our more fundamental problems which I think are as much about attitude as they are about personnel.

I’m also disturbed by the reports of Alisher Usmanov sticking his oar in. I want nothing from that man. Absolutely nothing. I wish he’d bugger off and take his big bag of cash with him, never to darken our doors again. If he’s the price of success at Arsenal, it’s too high. Frankly the sight tens of millions being lavished on football transfers and wages whilst the world is in economic crisis and one in six of us living on this planet go to be hungry makes me sick.

Former vice-chairman David Dein has described Arsenal as being in “freefall” in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday. He says it’s the reason he got out when he did. Er, no David. You were sacked for trying to bounce the rest of the board into selling the club. And, no, I don’t think we’re in freefall. Just look down the other end of the Seven Sisters Road. That’s freefall.  We’ve enjoyed over two decades of pretty constant success under George Graham, Bruch Rioch and Arsčne Wenger (with caretaker spells for Stewart Houston and Pat Rice). Rioch was only with us for one season but he got us playing football rather than Blitzkrieg again and we qualified for the UEFA Cup. Let’s not be too precious about our current situation whilst not being blind to the problems on and off the park.

I hope Arsčne selects his strongest possible team for tomorrow night. I expect Lukas Fabianski to be selected in goal and I don’t imagine Abu Diaby will be fit for selection after being carried off on Saturday (let’s hope that’s not too serious). Other than that I hope we really go for it, both in terms of team selection and attitude tomorrow night.

That’s all for today my fellow Gooners.

Keep the faith!

 

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