Jack talks finals, Arshavin, Sagna and dark forces

Good morning all,

we now know our Carling Cup final opponents. There is to be no catharsis for the misery inflicted on us by Trevor Brooking and his stooping headering ways back in 1980 as West Ham, 3-1 up at half-time, went out 4-3 in extra time to Birmingham.

Won’t that be fun? Those smashers of Crozilians, stampers of Sagna, managed by a man who looks like a some kind of bellowing ginger testicle and with fans who still sing the name of a man who ruined another’s career. Oh yes, it should be quite the atmosphere. I wonder will Lee Bowyer fancy his chances against Bacary Sagna again? Somehow I doubt he’s got the stones to have another go.

Speaking about the final Jack Wilshere says:

Winning trophies breeds confidence and, if we get confident for the rest of the season, then who knows what could happen? This is a great opportunity to win a trophy. To go on and win it would be massive for the club. Any trophy is a trophy.

Indeed, and you’ll also find that all trophies are trophies. I know there are still many who think ‘Just the Carling Cup’, and that’s fair enough, but I’ve said many a time I think winning something is hugely important. For the players, the club, the manager and the fans. Nobody really cared that it was ‘just’ the League Cup in 1987 when Charlie Nicholas’s thunderbolt (the kind of goal I specialise in, btw) won us the trophy at the expense of the Mugsmashers.

A couple of seasons later that team went on to win the league at Anfield. They might have done it anyway but going into the final part of the season knowing you’re capable of winning something, having that confidence and belief, must have played a big part. I also like how Jack puts a new spin on the barren years. Speaking about the FA Cup in 2005, which if you weren’t aware, was the last time Arsenal lifted won silverware, he said:

I was about 13 at home with my family and I remember watching it on the television when Patrick Vieira scored the last penalty. You saw what it meant to them and we’re trying to do that again. Being part of the team, they are all feeling it and are hungry to win trophies. That’s what this club is about and we need to do that.

So from now on I shall never again reference the time without success, only that ‘The last time Arsenal won anything Jack Wilshere was 13’. And if that doesn’t make some of you feel older than you already feel this morning then you’re better at not feeling old than I am. Anyway, there’s a whole month between now and the final so we’ve got to put that game to one side for the moment and get on with everything else.

One thing about reaching the Carling Cup final is that the league game against Sp*rs, where we travel to Statford White Hart Lane to get revenge for the game at the Grove, will have to be rescheduled. Quite when that game will be I don’t know but given the amount of fixtures coming up it’s going to be a bit later in the season. Crucialtacular.

The Mail reports that we’ve had a bid turned down for Alex Oxtail-Chamberpot due to Southampton wanting a wheelbarrow full of cash up front. We’re offering to pay £29.99 a month plus help the Saints consolidate all their existing debts into one manageable monthly payment. We know some people in Ocean Finance, you see. Whatever the reason you’ll forgive me if I don’t get too bent out of shape over a 17 year old, regardless of how good he might be.

There appear to be a number of articles about Andrei Arshavin this morning. Some of the content is taken from his personal website, the usual post-match interview which is fairly standard stuff. However, there’s a fairly in-depth interview on this site but it’s in Russian. Using Google translate can give you the gist of it but there’s certainly room for his words to misinterpreted.

If there’s a Russian speaker out there who has the time and gumption to translate that for me properly I’d be very grateful. I think we can get a general sense of what he’s saying but it’s very easy for words to be taken out of context or the meaning to be misconstrued. Let’s face it, some footballers play that card despite the fact everyone has seen what they’ve said.

It does appear as if he’s not particularly happy at the moment. His performances have been below par and while the two assists on Tuesday were hopefully a step in the right direction they seemed at odds with his overall performance on the night. Lack of confidence or application? A little from column A, a little from column B.

For me the bottom line is Arshavin is capable of much, much better and as one of the most experienced players in the squad he’s got to show a bit more character and really fight his way out of this slump. At times he looks utterly forlorn, and given the way he’s playing I can understand that, but this is a team still in four competitions and we need the ‘big’ players to stand up and be counted. I would like to see a return of the Arshavin who cunts them in from distance (also the kind of goal I specialise in, btw) and who defenders are actually a bit afraid of. At the moment you’d put money on Sylvester shackling him with ease and that, I think, sums him up.

Speaking of defenders Bacary Sagna is out of hospital and straight onto Twitter. He’s got a bit of a headache but other than that he’s fine. And if you’re not a Twitter person but still want to keep up with all the Arsenal players, and their crazy ways, you can check out the Arsenal Players on Twitter page (with many thanks to Simon C). It should update automatically but if you see any issues feel free to get in touch. (Update: am aware it keeps repeating the last tweet, will try get that sorted asap).

The Mirror reports Carlos Vela to Bolton is set to happen. Like it was last week. And the week before. And the week before that. That Vela played for the reserves on Tuesday, rather than be part of the Carling Cup squad, shows just how far his stock has fallen this season. I think we’ll be able to tell a lot from where he goes on loan. Unless he goes to another English club it’d be very difficult to think he’s interested in making it at Arsenal. Obviously a loan to another Premier League club would be better for him in terms of English football.

We know there are clubs abroad interested too and I’m sure they’re more attractive to him for the obvious reasons, but if he wants to make his career at Arsenal he’s got to stay in the Premier League between now and the end of the season. We shall see.

And finally, Richard Keys resigned from Sky last night. Whatever else he did even the hour long interview with Talksport would have been enough. A more toe-curling, laugh out loud, paranoid, cringeworthy piece of ‘poor me’ radio you’d be hard pressed to find. The end of an era, that’s for sure, but the viewing public get used to new presenters very quickly.

If you want to listen to the full thing head on over to Three and In where you can also find a piece about what Sky might do next.

Now, before the ‘dark forces’ start to gather I’d best get out of here. More tomorrow.

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