I do love the FA Cup. Memories of robbing United on penalties in 2005 for our last trophy, a fact you might not be aware of as it’s hardly ever mentioned by anyone that we haven’t won a trophy since then and we can’t be expected to keep track of these things quietly on our own.
The magic of the FA Cup, reported missing every year only to be discovered when the football starts is all there waiting for us. As are Swansea and their stupid insistence on beating us when we play them. They really don’t get how these things are meant to go at all.
Needless to say optimism ahead of today’s FA Cup tie at Swansea is not at its highest amongst Arsenal fans. Consistently inconsistent it is impossible to predict what will happen because we cannot hope to predict which Arsenal side will turn up. I guess that makes it interesting for the neutrals, but for Arsenal fans it is infuriating.
Will we see changes? Will players be rested? Or will Arsene show like he wants to go for the cup and play a full-strength side? Not that this will guarantee us a win, it didn’t at the Emirates a few weeks ago and it certainly didn’t manage it at Bradford [sorry, but it was impossible not to mention it].
Of course, Swansea play a different game than Bradford but even with Michu back from injury they still offer enough to give us something to worry about, something we know all too well.
The good thing about having lost to them recently is that it should be fresh in the player’s minds and *should* mean that they won’t turn up thinking they are out for a stroll in the park but how many times have we said this before?
I’m sorry, I don’t mean this to be a negative blog but if I could bring you sweetness and light and in all good conscience tell you how today is likely to go I’d be an extremely rich blogger indeed. But I’m not. I’m poor and my crystal ball doesn’t work. We could quite easily turn up today and destroy Swansea or find ourselves dumped out of the cup. People who tell you they know what will happen today are liars.
On our day we are better than Swansea, that’s a no-brainer, but at home and buoyed by recent successes against us they have nothing to lose? I really am struggling to say anything other than ‘who the hell knows?’
Can we talk about something else?
Johan Djourou and Marouane Chamakh are both officially out of our hair for the rest of the season meaning that we are only two injuries away from playing Squillaci and having the Invisible man as our only striking option. You have to think that Arsenal are clearing the decks [and wages] in order to bring in some players to take those places at the very least but on the rumour front things are very quiet. There was a dodgy link to Bulgarian centreback Ivan Ivanov and the David Villa stuff is still bubbling away at a temperature just warm enough to get Goldilocks interested but there is nothing of substance that Arsenal fans can latch on to at present.
There is no point in getting concerned, the window hasn’t even been open for a week and I’m sure targets have been identified and negotiations are underway. Why am I sure? Because the alternative makes little sense to me and would be considered negligent in the extreme and while I believe many things about this club at the minute, I’m not prepared to believe that they are sitting on their hands thinking we have a squad that is capable of getting in to the top four without a healthy dose of luck on the injury front.
On that injury front it is worth noting that the medical team, much maligned with good reason over the last three or four seasons, have managed to get Arsenal heading in to 2013 with only Lukasz Fabianski on the injury list.
Perhaps there really are such things as miracles after all. Doesn’t that give you hope?
Nah, didn’t think so. Jeez you’re a difficult bunch.------------
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