Good morning. I’m feeling somewhat rotten, for some reason, so a quick Saturday round-up for you.
There’s all kinds of talk of quadruples and stuff, with Arsene Wenger saying we can win all four trophies. Which is perfectly correct. We are, in fact, the only team that can win four trophies this season. However, what he doesn’t say is that we will win all four.
We want to go for every single competition, I have said that many times. How far will we go? I personally believe we can go in every competition to the end. But we can as well stop very quickly. I can’t tell you that we do not want to do it. We are in all the competitions so we will do our best.
So there you go. I fully expect, the minute one trophy passes us by, that the ‘Haha Wenger, where’s your quadruple now?’ headlines and stories will begin but then that’s just par for the course. Say one thing, have it twisted and those that wish to believe it will do so no matter how wrong they’ve got it.
Personally I think it’s right to at least have the ambition, to want to do it. You don’t say ‘Well, yeah, we could win all four but we don’t want to. That would be greedy. Let’s let someone else have a cup and we’ll make do with the others’. Nonsense. While you’re in four competitions you try and win them. It’s just one game at a time anyway.
Let’s face it, the likelihood of it happening is very, very slim, but unless your ambition is to win each tournament you enter then you’re doing football wrong. And if doing it is wrong then I don’t wanna be right. Or something. Anyway, there’s no boasting or being big-headed about this. You would expect any manager and any team to want to do the same.
This weekend we have to put Barcelona to one side and concentrate on the FA Cup. Progress in this competition hasn’t been without difficulty this season. We scraped a draw at home against Leeds and had to win the replay, then 10 men beat Huddersfield very late, having ridden our luck a little bit. Now we face lower league opposition again in Leyton Orient and there’s no doubt they’ll be right up for this.
The players who have come in for the cup games haven’t managed to click really, which isn’t a huge surprise. There’s a first 11-14 more or less established now and those on the fringes haven’t shown enough in these games to force themselves into that reckoning. Perhaps it’s a bit much to expect players who don’t feature regularly to start games and click like the first team but at the same time I don’t think it’s unfair to expect better from some of them.
I expect plenty of changes for this one and the injury news is good. Djourou and Walcott are both fit. Not that I reckon either of them will start but it’s good news all the same. Let’s hope those that do start can find a little more fluency and form than they have in previous FA Cup games this season. More on the team etc in tomorrow’s blog.
Here’s a nice piece in the Independent about Leyton Orient striker Scott McGleish. He’s an Arsenal fan, as are his two kids, and you’ve gotta love his advice to them when they admit being torn about tomorrow’s game.
There’s a lot of talk of format changes to the FA Cup as well. Scrapping replays and introducing a seeding system. Arsene Wenger is not in favour and I have to agree with him. If the sheen of the cup has been diminished over the years because of the higher profile and cash rich European game, it’s still important to maintain the traditions of a competition many of us have brilliant memories of.
Cardiff want to keep Aaron Ramsey on loan until the end of the season. I hope that doesn’t happen. I want to see him back in the Arsenal squad and pushing for a place in the squad. Yes, the emergence of Jack Wilshere means there’s more competition but that’s a good thing. I understand we’ve sent him there to get some games under his belt but he’s surely approaching something like proper match fitness now and with all due respect to Cardiff, thanks very much, let’s have him back.
James Shea, who made the bench a couple of times this season, has joined Southampton on a month’s loan. I’m assuming there’s a callback in place should it be required.
Finally, the East African Standard newspaper really likes Arseblog. Likes it so much they take chunks of it and pass it off as their own work.
Have a look. I’ve emailed them to let them know and to ask where I should send an invoice but funnily enough they haven’t replied yet.
And that’s really about that. Have yourselves a good Saturday, the sun is shining here in Dublin, almost as if spring is in the air. Fingers crossed.
Back tomorrow with a full Orient preview and whatever else crops up between now and then.