Friday 23 January 2009

Cardiff Banana Skin

Morning all. Its been a crazy week in football, yet again. Mega million pound deals are being talked up by the papers every day, but very little has actually happened. The cash cow of Shite Hart Lane went down 3-0 against a motivated and organised Burnley side and should have gone out on the away goals rule. Instead, the rules are different for the Carling Cup and Lucky 'Arry Rednapp survived into extra-time to snatch a winner at the end. Well played Burnley, I feel very sorry for them.

This weekend ahead is quite interesting, in that the 4th round of the FA Cup poses some options that are not available for Premier League games, such as rotating the squad and resting players.

With a game at Everton away next Wednesday, I can see the logic in resting players against Cardiff. But I think its a dangerous tactic and might back-fire. There are several arguments in favour of resting players. For instance, beyond merely giving some of the first XI a rest, you give the fringe players a chance to prove themselves and gain some experience for when they are actually needed in the first XI. Football is a squad game now and players cannot play 55 or 60 games a season like they used to.

Thats a good point, but its dangerous to put out a side that does not stand a good chance of beating Cardiff. Lets not forget that Cardiff are on a bit of form at the moment and are unbeaten since 22 November, having won 5 and drawn 5 since then. Ninian Park is going to be completely up for this as well. Having made the FA Cup final last year, their fans will be delighted at the prospect of taking a big scalp.

On paper, Arsenal should win, but football is rarely that simple. Should we lose, then we go into the Everton match having lost all momentum. I really think getting stuffed 4-0 by ManUre in the 5th round last year was a factor in the collapse of our league form. If we draw, then we create fixture congestion, and the additional game defeats the point of resting players on Sunday.

In my view, you either decide that the competition is not worth the hassle and put the kids out as Arsenal do in the Carling Cup, or you want to win the FA Cup and you put out the strongest XI you can, perhaps with the aim of having the game sown up after 60 mins so that you can bring on 3 subs.

The kids have done great this season, and whilst I have a lot of confidence in players like Vela, Ramsey and Wilshere, I worry that an off-day for Randall, Merida et al will see us crash out the FA Cup.

Given that we desparately need some silverware this season, my vote is that we have to play the strongest team we can. Lets try and smash Cardiff to bits and then take some momentum into a crucial game against Everton. A cold January afternoon in Cardiff is not the time to put players like Vela and Wilshere to the test. If they fail, it could really hurt them. And probably end our chances of silverware this season.


Obsinho said...

It's a tricky one, but I do think Wenger will play a strong team out there.

To be honest i don't know who he would rest to make it a weak team - does dropping Song/Diaby/Eboue count as a weakend side?

As long as 2 of Ade/RvP/Nasri start and Djourou and Kolo play at the back then i think it shows Wenger is taking it seriously.

To be honest, seeing Vela in there would be a good thing. My gut feeling is that Wenger will rotate - we'll see Bendtner and Ade up front, Vela wide left and Eboue on the right. SOng and Diaby in the niddle with a standard back 4. And fabianski.

If Ade and Nick B turn up, we should be ok. But that's as likely to happen as 'Arry being reprimanded by the FA or in the Press for admitting that he is throwing the game ot Old Trafford. If thy lose, will the press still harp on about it in a year's time, as they did when our reserves went out at Old Trafford? Doubt it.

I fucking hate the press and Redknapp. What absolute cock-rots.

Anonymous said...

No chance at Bullard now Ted. He's gone to Hull for £5m:

It sounds as though Mr. Wenger will not go after anyone else during the transfer window aside from Arshavin.

Ted said...

At 30 years old, Bullard would have been the oddest signing by Wenger of all time. Then again, at £5m, I think Hull have bought themselves a good player for reasonable money.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. As I had stated before, I wasn't certain that buying Bullard would be a good deal for Arsenal. But he is a solid player who always gives 100% and scores some nice goals. He would have improved us this season but I'd be hoping for higher quality in our midfield.

Anonymous said...

Ashrvin is not worth 20 m.....
Arsenal should not break the bank for him...if he wants to come in 12-15 m , its ok..otherwise dont waste arsenal's time !!

Si said...

Bullard would have been a good signing, albeit an odd one. He is a very tricksy player, and would be a good back up player for Cesc, but such is life.
Arse Shavings, is a very good player who under the correct tutelage could become a great player.
We have to remember that in a couple of seasons Barca are going to rob our squad of Vela and Cesc and a experienced pro like Mr Shavings will be of the upmost importance to lead the team.
Let's see what happens,it will be an entertaining end to the bollocks that is the transfer gossip window.