A few days after THAT mix-up gifted Birmingham the trophy, Arsene has urged the players and the fans to move on. Some Gooners have made jokes similar to that in the title, but they are hiding behind a facade of hubris. The Carling Cup may be the least important cup, but it all counts. We all felt that disappointment after the defeat, but our search for a cup must continue. And it continues against opposition which we cannot take too lightly, something which I believe we did against Birmingham.
As injuries and fatigue begin to hit our squad, a campaign that once looked to be prosperous could fall apart within a matter of a few days. If they wish for this season to be different to previous years, it is important that the team holds together and continues to get results we so desperately need.
This is the last game before a series of season defining games. After this FA Cup battle, we host 8th placed Sunderland in a difficult, must-win game. We have to put the Wembley defeat behind us and not collapse in the following two games, which could shape our season. First up, we have a game which, lest we forget, we go into with a lead. After a remarkable performance against the best team in the world, we have given ourselves a wonderful opportunity when almost everyone had written us off. We cannot just throw this tie away because the players are distraught. Koscielny and Szczesny, in particular, will be low on confidence, but after some strong performances by both of them this season, they will need to show that they can bounce back in the next few weeks.
Arsenal were robbed of a victory at Leyton Orient just over a week ago. The Gunners weren’t fabulous, but a relatively composed performance ended with some shoddy defending, especially from the one and only Manuel Almunia. This left Orient celebrating one of the best results in their history.
Despite the fact that we probably would have rested players in this game, it is now a chance for players to recover from injuries after our hectic schedule.
Fabregas picked up a hamstring problem last Wednesday and is a possibility for Barcelona, but he I doubt he would have featured in this match anyway. Robin van Persie injured himself whilst scoring a goal which turned out to be superfluous (although this probably isn’t the case, the game would have been very different without it!), so he is out for three weeks. Walcott and Vermaelen are also still out and Song is a doubt, as is our defensive stalwart, Laurent Koscielny. As previously mentioned, this is the worst time to lose our best players to injury, although we could have managed without our mercurial French defender in recent days…
Aaron Ramsey has returned from his loan spell at Cardiff, having had pretty decent reviews from his performances in the Championship. Gooners have been waiting for Ramsey’s return for several weeks, but Wenger is bringing him back slowly. As a fan favourite, his horrific injury only served to increase his support and popularity. If Aaron starts tomorrow, the Emirates will give him a brilliant reception.
5-0 victory to Arsenal. A rout like this would help us to move on from the disappointment. With Utd waiting for us in the next round, there is an extra incentive to win.
Chelsea vs Man Utd
Chelsea have just won 2-1! A great result for Gooners, so can we take advantage with a win on Saturday against Sunderland? Sunderland have lost 4 on the trot… we MUST win.