pic courtesy www.thearsenalcollective.com
What is the stat looking like today, I really haven’t bothered to check.
Arsenal have won only one game in Manchester since the Big Bang, or that we have not beaten a top four side since the crucifixion of Jesus, I’m sure there would be a lot of stuff like this to go around as we go away to Manchester United in the FA Cup Q/finals. To be fair, whatever we are getting now would be twice as much if we didn’t pull that amazing win away to Man City in League.
This is a different competition and the stakes are a lot higher. Whilst it would have been possible to recover from a loss to City in the league especially judging by their poor form, a loss in Manchester now completely knocks us out of the competition and effectively puts an end to any sliverware hopes for this season. It’s fair to say every game in the FA Cup from here on, is season defining. What will we remember this season for? Another feather to our trophyless count?
We beat QPR away in the league to ensure we stay third but is anyone really going to remember that game in a few months? I don’t think so. In a fast paced world there is so much competing for space in our brains, the memories we actually store are those cup finals, league wins and games against the top sides in Europe. (If only we could use more than 10% of our brain). For Arsenal fans in my part of the world, Man United has been our yardstick for success for so many years and games against them rank highest in occupying the largest part of our memories. Chelsea seems to be edging close now though!
What kind of memory we create today would largely depend on the kind of Arsenal team that comes out of the dugout. This has nothing to do with the team sheet but rather the mentality they come out with. The team that completely dominated the game against ‘Borough and Galatasary at home or the one that scored a 10/10 tactical victory over Man City away but we definitely hope it isn’t the team that came out against Monaco or Stoke away. It’s been that kind of season, we have seen them come out good, bad and ugly, sometimes honestly they have come out really downright ugly.
I think with the load shedding during the January window the decision on who would start in a game like this is less tasking for Le Boss, Podolski, Sanogo and Campbell would naturally have been contenders for this game but that’s off the table now. Who remembers FA Cup starting team sheets containing names like Carlos Vela, Bendtner, Squillaci, Jeremie Aliadiere , Denilson, Jeffers, etc. Just goes to show the massive upgrade in quality of our first team squad now and the importance the manager attaches to cup games when the best we can expect for the likes of Chuba Akpom is a place on the bench.
The big decision however is a classic case of Karma! Last season it was Wojciech Szczesny who the debate was about? If he should start the tough FA Cup games ahead of Fabianski due to his status as the clubs Number 1 goalkeeper, we all know how that went down is history. Unfortunately, history has a way of repeating itself and Woj is still a key player in its unfolding events. The jury is out of whether he should be starting against United, his position is not helped by superb performances put up by the clubs current first choice, David Ospina. We know Wenger is adamant on whom his cup keeper is and I expect that Woj would keep his place. I’m still a big fan of his and I hope he has a great game.
Who everyone (at least Arsenal fans) would like to have a great game would definitely be Mesut Ozil. It has got to be really hard to be him right now. Tupac got it wrong, it wasn’t him against the world, its Mesut against the World. Never before have I seen a players every singular stride on a football pitch over analyzed to prove a point.
“Why can’t Ozil run faster?” “He looks like he’s not interested?” “Why doesn’t he smile more, maybe there would be World peace.” “For the amount he was signed, he should score more.” “If only he replicates his abilities with some show of strength.” “Ozil is simply stealing a living”, etc etc
Endless criticism and yet again he was a recipient of criticism by Man United Legend, Scholes claiming he choose an easier part by joining Arsenal. I take it players like Quinton Fortune took the harder option by staying at Man United where he was guaranteed titles even though his contribution was next to nothing? You see, Scholes is a legend, but like most things in life, knowledge to perform a task doesn’t necessary translate to having the skill to pass the knowledge on.
Scholes is in the long list of ex-footballers who have chosen a career in media and football punditry and to be honest, the quality of what we have to deal with listening to them is nowhere near the quality of what they delivered out on the football pitch. Even this description is with reference to the likes of Scholes and Gary Neville. The likes of Robbie Savage, Carragher, Redknapp, Micheal Owen etc are just piss poor and I worry for Henry as this company of people might have the infectious kind of stupidity.
Ozil says he doesn’t play to prove anything to anyone but Arsenal, and we love him for that. Is there room for Ozil to improve? Definitely! There is always room for a footballer to be better at what they do but to dismiss the work that he has put in especially since returning from injury is, for lack of a better word, awful.
I would love for Ozil maybe to play to prove something to everyone against United. Really own the game, make his name be the one everyone would remember when they think of Man United vs Arsenal FA Cup Q/final 2015. Just like Ryan Giggs FA Cup goal in 1999, or Owens goals against us in the 2001 FA Cup final, or Viera’s last kick for the club when we beat United when we won in 2005. I would really love for Ozil to stamp his name on this game, own it and win it for us. If he doesn’t, I just hope we win anyway. We have a far better team than theirs and nothing will feel better than ending their run in on their own patch. It has been way too long since we celebrated there, I hope we make some new good memories today.
Have a great day friends.
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