Monday, December 11, 2023

What Arsenal should do with the Carling Cup from now on

You know, amidst this talk of moving on and learning from defeat, I haven’t heard anyone make the very obvious suggestion about our future participation in the lowliest of the competitions. Granted, it’s one that came to me first thing morning as I drifted into consciousness, last night’s extra glass of red causing a slight dryening of palate, but I think it’s worth considering.

As Alan Smith reckons we should use the pain of Sunday’s defeat to provide motivation for the future, how about this? We chuck the Carling Cup in the first round each season. Or simply refuse to enter it on the grounds that it has, quite frankly, been little more than a source of pain down the years. Think about it.

Losing finalists in 2011, losing finalists in 2007, that semi-final against Wigan, they all add up. Sure, we’ve had some fun nights and it’s been great to see some of the kids come through, but ask yourself this: Was any of that worth the unimaginable horror of seeing Gary Lewin save John Terry’s life after Abou Diaby did his utmost to make himself an Arsenal legend? To this day it haunts me. I didn’t want to say anything pre-final lest I be called churlish or overly picky but for me the tournament is forever tainted by that. What might have been.

To think we could be living in a John Terry free world, scampering wild and free at one with man and nature, happy, the ills of the world a thing of the past, and yet his malevolence lives on, thanks to our own physio. Yesterday was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The club should engage a separate shirt sponsor for this competition from now on. A rival lager of some kind, rename the stadium to the Guinness Bowl just for these games, and play a team of barely pubescent whizzkids, with their wispy facial hair and squeaky voices.

“My ball” they would shriek. The ‘my’ as deep and gruff as James Earl Jones, the “ball” like Bronski Beat singing after recieving a huge fright. It would be a good learning experience for them. We could sell tickets for £5 so nobody thought they were being ripped off, it would be a good chance for young fans to connect with the team, what with them being much the same age and all, and if and when we lose it’s no reflection on the team or the manager. It’s simply a load of fully grown bullies being big men beating up a team of 12-13 year olds.

Fulfill our contractual obligations and no more. Who’s with me? Viva la revolución!

Anyway, back to the real world and there are serious doubts over Robin van Persie’s knee and his participation in the Barcelona game. Some reports say he’s out already but we’ll have to wait and see. There’s another nice gift from the cup that keeps on giving. Robin had scored a bazillion goals in just a few games and the fates conspire to banjax his knee before half-time. Obviously it would be a big blow were he not make the Camp Nou.

His goal from an almost impossible angle sparked the comeback and, frankly, he’s the scoringest striker we’ve got. I still have some faith in Nicklas Bendtner and he does tend to go scoring runs in the final parts of the season but Marouane Chamakh looks far removed from the player he was at the start of the season. You know, the one who could score and stuff. With Theo already out it would be a significant loss and not one really offset by the absences in the Barcelona defence. We shall await official confirmation from the club but, in the meantime, fuck you Carling Cup.

Speaking of Chamakh, he talks in a sensible way about the upcoming game against Orient, but the official site do him little favours with the headline. A win against 2nd division in the FA Cup would be a ‘perfect remedy’ to losing a cup final? Yeah, right. I mean, it’s not quite as bad as asking fans if they’d prefer to lose the Carling Cup final for a win against Barcelona, on the eve of our first final in four years, but still pretty bad.

I can imagine a lot of people saw the headline and thought ‘Fuck off, I’m not reading that’, and now think that Chamakh thinks tomorrow’s game is the ‘perfect remedy’ when he said nothing of the sort. Poor form.

In the meantime the club has released it’s interim financial results. As reported here the other day, via my friends at the AST, we’ve posted a small loss for all the various reasons laid out previously. Obviously the club were hoping that Monday would be a good day to release the news. Not that it’s particularly bad or anything but a cup final win would have meant people didn’t give a fish’s tit about the financial results. As it stands I don’t think anyone’s going to end up in the depths of despair over it but it became a bad day to bury indifferent news.

Beyond that not a great deal else to report. Carlos Vela was a West Brom hero again with a late equaliser against Stoke. You’ve got to enjoy that, especially as he was offside and Tony Pubis probably went mental. Then again, if the Stoke training ground were invaded by a team of Orcs who bludgeoned the whole lot of them to death with their mothers arms it wouldn’t be justice enough for those cunts.

And tonight, Chelsea play Man United. Rooney plays after getting away with elbowing an opponent in the head while Cashley plays after shooting a work experience kid with an air rifle. Truly the England internationals bring so much to the game. A wonderful advertisement for the Premier League. 4-4 draw please, a dozen red cards and an extremely hungry Godzilla at the final whistle.

I think that’s the least we deserve. Till tomorrow.

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