13 Years Of Hurt

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In many ways, there’s no better way or ridding yourself of the sour taste of failure than to play again as soon as possible, is there? A win (with a two goal margin) and a strong performance tonight would go some way to making us all feel better, and would give us our first Milk Cup final appearance for thirteen years. The real acid test, however, is on Saturday when not only do we have an away game (cause for worry in its own right), but also it’s against one of the ‘physical’ teams Wenger seems to have such a problem with.

I think it’s a bit embarrassing to keep on moaning on about that approach not being ‘proper’ football, personally. What do we expect these teams to do? Play us at our own game, then get a beating? Of course not, it’s a ridiculous thing to suggest. The great thing about football is that it is played in different ways, and that’s the way it should be. We need to worry less about how other teams play and more about rising to the challenge different sides present. If you were an opposition manager, it would be your job to find a way of playing against Arsenal that stopped them from playing and maximised your own chances of three points. Fair play to them for doing that.

Tonight, Wenger has effectively picked the first team, and rightly so. The defence seems set to remain the same, with the exception of Almunia coming in for Jens, and the more they play together, the better they ought to be. Especially Senderos and Campbell, neither of whom covered themselves in glory on Saturday.

The midfield could be interesting too, especially if Diaby plays, but we shall see. When Vieira arrived back in 1996, he got his first outing as a sub aged 19, the same age as Diaby is now. The point is, if he’s ready and is good enough, then he’s in with a shout. It might give Gilberto something to think about too.

Oh, and van Persie and Bergkamp return too – so with the exception of Cole, Toure, the suspended Fabregas and the rested Lehmann, we’re at full strength. So not full strength then, but not far off. Well, you know what I mean.

So what do you think? Confident?


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.