Today sees Arsenal not with so much the chance to get back in the saddle but rather to get themselves untangled from the hooves under which they currently reside. Heading to Sunderland and ‘that’ pitch was always going to be a tough ask but with the events midweek in the Champions League weighing heavily on everyone’s minds it suddenly takes on a whole ton of new meanings and importance.
The FA Cup is now Arsenal’s only chance of a trophy this year, many would say that even before the debacle in Milan it was our only realistic chance of a trophy and I’m not going to argue with that. I’m too tired to argue. What I do know is that today isn’t about silverware, not for me anyway. For me it’s about pride in Arsenal Football Club, it’s about seeing 11 men, no matter what their technical ability, showing that it means as much to them to play for our club as it does to us to support them. There have been far too many matches recently when that hasn’t felt like it’s been the case.
I don’t know how we will line up, if we will make changes from midweek and rest people ahead of our next match. As that’s not for another seven days I’d like to think that we will field as strong a team as possible, one capable of making the statement we all want to see made. Kos will be out having suffered a knee injury midweek which means that we are likely to see Djourou regain a starting berth alongside Vermaelen who, moved back in to his favoured position midweek, seems to have undergone some sort of identity crisis playing like a left-back who suddenly finds himself in the middle.
At this point I don’t actually care who starts or who’s on the bench. The mystery that is Park means nothing to me. Gervinho is back in the squad after his international duties and many have wondered if he will be affected by his sides defeat in the final. I hope not, he is a professional, but you could realistically point to Russia’s failure to qualify for the 2010 World Cup as being the beginning of Arshavin’s funk, a slide he has not really been able to fully arrest.
We have options up front even with Henry’s departure and with the right attitude we should have more than enough to get past a determined and hard-working Sunderland. Fans want a statement today but I don’t know if we are going to get it, so that being the case, I’d settle for a performance.
Show us you care. That’s all most of us want.
COME ON YOU GUNNERS!
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