Picture the scene; a tall, gangly Bristoilan barely able to keep his eyes open is writing this post at 3am. Having spent the night playing poker and occasionally bursting into glorious dance to records by Ke$ha - that happened, deal with it – I’m absolutely shattered, but instead of heading to a deserved slumber, I’m jotting this preview for you.
Dedicated, aren’t I? Well.. truth be told, folks; I can’t face having to get up to write this in time for the game today, so I’m boldly pushing through the exhaustion and the urge to dance again to do it whilst I have the will.
The game today is massive to such an extent I daren’t allow myself to ponder the ramifications should the result not be favourable. Arsenal are in 3 competitions and, realistically, two of them are beyond us – the league not so much, but the Champions League will need divine intervention to enable progression. The remaining one, The FA Cup, is a distinct possibility and victory today would send us to Wembley for the semi-final and at that stage anything can happen.
Standing between us and a day in the sun are Everton. If their performance in the Premiership at The Emirates is anything to go by, we’ll be in for a nerve-shredding afternoon and need to perform at our best to see them off. Under Roberto Martinez, The Toffees look a very good side indeed; they’ve talent up front and know how to use and keep the ball to good effect. In that aforementioned fixture, they passed us off the pitch and I can’t remember anyone other than Barcelona doing that on our own turf.
We know the team will be difficult to predict today. Injury news is mostly bad, I’m afraid. Jack Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny will miss the game. Whilst very close to readiness, Aaron Ramsey and Kim Kallstrom won’t be played until next week. Walcott remains out and Abou Diaby has suffered a relapse in his battle against addiction to potted meat sandwiches and has been omitted into care in America. He won’t be available.
That does leave us with something of a a dilemma in midfield. I don’t think Arsene will opt for the Flamini-Arteta double pivot today. I can understand why he might be tempted to add an extra element of stability, but attacking Everton will be the best form of defence.
Given we play Bayern on tuesday and we all know Arsene likes to rotate for FA Cup fixtures, I won’t be surprised in we see the likes of Sanogo and Jenkinson start. As I said, it’s very tough to predict as I am hoping we’ll see the strongest team available. I’ve got to offer my best guess, so here it is:
Predictions are also tricky. Form and such things invariably go out of the window in Cup fixtures. The likelihood is we’ll see a very tight, slightly nervy, game with the odd goal winning it. Hopefully that’ll be an Arsenal goal that does. I shall bravely opt to foresee a 1-0 triumph.
That’s all for today, folks. The comments await your thoughts on the team and the probable result. I shall look forward to reading some, and I’ll answer a few if I’m out of bed in time…
Tomorrow I shall return with a review of the game. Until that point, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.