Leeds tonight in the FA Cup replay and most of the news around today is about Denilson and his comments regarding a lack of leadership at the club. Mass confusion reigned on the internet this morning as everyone and anyone accused people of stealing content while others were tearing Deni apart for his reported comments.
I’m not going to go in to it too much, if you want the full story, head over to arseblog.com. Cesc has already tweeted to say that Denilson’s comments were taken out of context or mistranslated and there’s no issue, so it warrants no further scrutiny at this point with a match so close. There will be plenty of quiet days in which we can discuss the merits of a statement which claims Arsenal have no leaders, not even Cesc. Until then, let’s focus on the match at hand.
It’s not often in life that you get a second chance at something when you’ve already screwed up, but the beauty of cup football is that sometimes, if you’re lucky, you will be granted an opportunity to gain salvation. Arsenal have this chance tonight, and it is one that you could argue they don’t deserve. Leeds played very well in the first match, and only a last minute penalty saved our asses.
But, that is the beauty of cup football and the margins you play with. We have another chance to put the first performance right, and Arsenal fans expect nothing less than 100% from a team who have flipped and flopped when it comes to giving their everything this season.
Lining up we know that Chesney will take the place of the injured Fabianski. At the back, due to the fact that we have little other option, we will see Kos and Djourou line up as the centre-back pairing. They will more than likely be flanked by Gibbs and Sagna, the latter returning from his suspension and the former coming in to give Clichy a rest. No Eboue sounds good to me.
In midfield I have a feeling we will see Song and Cesc, but if Jack will be involved after being arrested last night for being part of a group which was involved in an altercation with a cabbie I’ve no idea. Would he be too distracted? I don’t know, but I do know that Song/Denilson is a partnership in midfield that doesn’t allow us to show our football in its best light.
Up front, and it’s anyone’s guess. Personally, I wouldn’t play Bendtner as his form has done nothing to warrant a start in what is almost a must-win match. We have the option of Chamakh, or Van Persie, or even Vela and at this point I’d prefer one of those three to the great dane for this match. Out wide, Rosicky is due back but no hint has been given if he’ll be involved. No doubt, the out-of-form Arshavin will be included and if Theo doesn’t start he will be on the bench with the rest of our big hitters.
If you remember, Wenger has said that we are seriously going for all trophies so if we don’t have our strongest 11 out tonight, I expect the majority of those first choice not starting to be on the bench.
The last thing we need in this match is extra-time so it would be pleasing to see Wenger start with a strong line-up to get the tie put to bed as soon as possible. then rest when the tie is safe.
Will he? Your guess is as good as mine.
Whoever plays, we once again need 100%. I’m getting slightly sick of writing that sentence to be honest. In every match preview, the same thing, over and over again, with the only difference being the opposition. We know that if we turn up and give everything we will win, but we have witnessed Arsenal turn up thinking the win is already in the bag too many times this season. Just once, it would be nice to know which Arsenal side is going to show up.
You think that the lesson has been learned, you think that beating Chelsea would show that working hard and defending all over the pitch brings rewards, but it seems that only half that lesson has been learned. Do it against the bigger opposition, sure, but the ‘lesser’ teams? Well, the same old arrogant Arsenal is more likely to show up than the team we saw put Chelsea away as if they were nothing.
It’s annoying to say the least.
So what else is there to say that I haven’t said one hundred times before (and that’s just this season)? Nothing really. It will be a very hard match, there will be a hostile crowd, and we just simply have to want it more than them. Do that and we win. Don’t and we’re out on our asses and no longer the only team in England who can win all four trophies.
It really is that simple.
In other news, reports of Bendtner going on loan or being sold for £15m to West Ham seem to have been dismissed by the player’s father. Speaking to Ekstrabladet he said:
“That’s not interetsing. If Arsenal want to sell and have a set price then that is up to them. That’s nothing we have been involved with. I can only say that thus is nothing of interest to us”.
See. He’s not interested. I’m not sure what role Nik’s father plays when it comes to his career, but as we saw with Cesc’s dad over the summer, they don’t always know what’s going on. That being said, Arsenal would not let him go as that would leave us with two strikers plus Vela. Hardly ideal especially when you consider one of the players is made of tissue paper and the other is in his first season in the premier league.
For those who love the Arsenal Podcast and were saddened to hear that it had fallen away, you can now listen to the latest episode of the new show, entitled ‘The Tuesday Club’ here and you can follow them on twitter @YellowBootsOn. Thanks to @JamieDalton82 and @YoungGunsBlog for the heads up on this.
Interesting from Twitter:
RT @Optajoe: Arsenal have won their last three trips to Elland Road to play Leeds by a 4-1 scoreline.
RT @Orbinho: Only one of the last eight matches between Leeds and Arsenal has ended as a home win and five were away victories.
RT @Orbinho: The last four times Arsenal & Leeds have been drawn together in the FA Cup, the eventual winner of the tie has triumphed on their opponent’s turf.
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