So it’s off to Cardiff for me and about 60,000 other Londoners tomorrow, and I’m already not looking forward to trying to get back to the smoke afterwards. Should Wembley finally be ready then it’s definitely our last ever trip to the Welsh capital, and travel aside it’s been a great venue for us. We made four of the six FA Cup finals to be held there, and won three of them.
But onto business – who will play? Well, as Arseweb points out, it’s a very difficult juggling job. Wenger has said he’ll stick with the young players, which I very much admire, but he has to add sufficient experience too to give us more of a chance against a side that, love them or loathe them, is the strong favourite in this tie.
Then again, with the strides these players have made, and the amount of games some of them have played, to call them “reserves” does them a great disservice.
The Pleat in his match preview mentions the battle in midfield to be fought by Fabregas and Gilberto – but I’m not convinced that’s who’ll play. I suspect it will be Diaby and Denilson, with Gilberto and Fab on the bench.
Cleverly, Wenger has said that those who have yet to play a part cannot expect to in the final, but the way he has added experience through the rounds means that rules only three or four players out – Henry, Ljungberg, Gallas and Lehmann.
Gilberto, for example, made his Carling debut only in the home game against the Totterers. So he may well play.
Hoyte has a fitness test today and Eboue might yet make the first eleven too – and there’s some doubts over Clichy as well. But those are the only injury doubts for tomorrow.
So who knows – the only one player I wouldn’t start would be Walcott as he’s suffering a dip, but then again, I accept that playing him is probably the best way to get him through it.
So as you can tell, I have entered the realms of conjecture.
Let the excitement begin.
I suggest you warm up with Been A Gunner Since 79, a wonderful gooner track from Rodney P. Check it out on his site here…