I think I have already made my feelings on tonights 4th round replay against Cardiff clear enough. Now that we know we would face Burnley at home in the 5th round and then Hull / Sheffied Utd in the quarter final, also at home, then we can see a clear line to the semi finals already.
Team news is patchy at the moment, but with Adebayor, Eboue and Diaby all out, Ramsey and Eduardo considered unlikely to be ready to start the game, and RVP thought to need another rest, the team is going to be a million miles from our strongest XI.
That probably means a starting chance for Vela, Bendtner and maybe also Wilshere. Whilst those guys are capable on taking Cardiff apart, I am also nervous that the fringe players are going to try too hard to impress on this, one of their bigger chances. A lot therefore rests on the more experienced players to take the responsibility for the game, which alarmingly means Denilson, Song and Nasri in the midfield positions, who are not exactly veterans of long campaigns.
That said, our back 5 is looking too solid for Cardiff to threaten for long periods of the game, which should give us a platform to attack. Its long been said, but this time its true - Wilshere only has to stay on the pitch for more than 25 minutes to be more effective that Eboue.
Lets get at them straight from the whistle. It would be nice to be writing a positive match report for a change tomorrow.
We need a convincing result tonight if we are going to turn the corner for our season. The players need it for their confidence and the fans need it to justify their indefatigable hope that this team has more than potential.
If we fail to win, or even struggle but manage to scrape through, I fear we will not capture the form required to win something this season.
With Roma coming up, and the run in for Champions League places, we need to find our form now.
I know I say this all the time, but we really need to get about Cardiff from the off. Batter them and demoralize them so they give up early.
I'm still hanging on to my hope in this team. In the build up to every match, I find myself anxiously hoping that the team will put in the kind of performance that shows they have the grit, intelligence and skill required to compete at this level.
That is how I feel right now heading into the match against Cardiff. I'm willing the lads to be up for this and to go out there and throttle Cardiff.
I have despaired throughout this season at different times. But I have managed to convince myself to find my hope again.
If we lose this match, it will be difficult for me to believe in this team and its staff as a whole.
So COME ON YOU RIP ROARING REDS!!!
Well it's 2-0 at HT and I'm getting the performance I've been craving. I am happy to say that.
Welcome back EDUARDO! He has been immense so far. Not looked out of place at all. Involved in much of the good play, not just popping up for a goal.
That said, Bendtner, while taking his goal well, should have a hat trick by now. I don't think that is harsh to say. Does anyone else think Bendtner fancies himself as a Bergkamp type player?
I really want Bendtner to succeed for us. Really I do. I'm not one of those out there that criticizes him and wants him out. But he....well forget it. Don't want to tarnish what is a positive performance so far. I just think Bendtner doesn't use his size properly to optimize his impact on matches. I'd rather him pattern himself after say, a Bierhoff type player instead of Zidane. :-)
All right now, let's duplicate the first half performance now in the second half. And hopefully see Wilshere come on around 60 minutes.
Welcome back EDUARDO!
Now we will surely destroy Villa's dream of Top 4....and try to topple Pool from 2nd position .
Now i want tomas , theo and cesc to return asap....and take us forward :)
Solid performance from the team last night, and some great performances.
Eddy's overall game was sharp and incisive, and a real change from what Ade has been serving up.
Nicky B makes life hard for himself though doesn't he - worked hard for 90 minutes, offering runs down the channels late on to use the space the tiring Cardiff players were leaving. Could have had 2 assissts in the last 5 minutes. But missed some real sitters. It does annoy me how quickly the fans get on his back though.
Thought Denilson was good again - quite a few times the defenders looked for him to take the ball of their feet and move it forward. A good sign that experienced players like Galls/Kolo/Sagna have faith in his abilities. Even if (as usual) some fans don't.
Was worried about Song though - his attention just seems to wander sometimes. I know he has been playing much better recently, but last night was a step in the wrong direction.
The biggest conundrum we face is where the hell we play everyone - Ade/RVP/Eddy/Nicky B /Cesc/ Arshavin/Walcott/Rosicky/Diaby/Vela/Bischoff/Wilshere all seem to be playing for the same positions. Good competition, but a bit of a mess?
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