This is almost totally irrelevant to football, but I’m currently doing my utmost to get fit. I’ve a wedding and honeymoon coming up this year, and a curious bulge has appeared around my midriff. This is mainly due to the fact I like pizza and I find it very easy to talk up the merits of eating pizza (there aren’t many, but I manage to invent several). Yesterday I went out on my bike and rode for 5 miles without feeling out-of-breath or in need of stopping. This might not seem like an accomplishment to many of you, but to me it’s a f*cking miracle. I thought I’d share this with you wonderful guys ‘n’ gals.
Anyways… all of that to one side, let’s continue with what’s pertinent. After all, you came here for Arsenal news and not to hear about my personal life. Or maybe you came here for both, in which case, you’re welcome and I’ll keep you posted on how things are going.
Today is FA Cup 3rd Round day. These fixture are always tricky; away from home against lower league opponents we are expected to beat and with a much-changed starting line-up. Then you have to take the magic of the FA Cup into account. There’s plenty of miserable sh*ts out there that’ll have you believe that magic has long gone in the modern football environment of TV deals, player power and money, but I don’t believe that. It’s still there. It may not occur as often, it may not be as obvious to spectators, but it still remains and it can turn average teams into world-beaters for a day. And it doesn’t discriminate; it can happen to anyone and at any time. Beware.
And if you still don’t belive in the magic, then here’s a quick reminder of a certain 3rd Round game 6 years ago when Thierry Henry returned to the Club for a brief loan spell. That goal still sends shivers down my spine.
So, if we approach today with any assumption other than we’re in for a game, we could very well be on the receiving end of an embarrassment. It’s fair to say the team news means we’re going to heavily rotate. Xhaka is out and he joins Kolasinac, Ramsey, Monreal, Giroud and Santi Cazorla on the injured list. Whether or not the likes of Alexis, Ozil and Lacazette will start the game remains debatable, but I would assume they won’t. I can see our main attacking options being Iwobi, Walcott and Welbeck. Wilshere and Elneny could start the central midfield roles leaving a back 5 (assuming we play 5) of Maitland-Niles, Debuchy, Chambers, Mertesacker and Holding. Captain flaptastic, David Ospina will start in goal which is a pity as it’s a good opportunity to give young Matt Macey some competitive minutes over a keeper who doesn’t really have a future at Arsenal.
It’s always tough to predict matches like this. That’s doubled when Arsenal and all their maddening unpredictability is involved. On paper, at least, we should dispatch our friends from the Championship with minimal fuss and a decent register on the scoreboard. But, I think it’ll be tight, we’ll look a bit disjointed and it’ll take the odd goal in 3 to see us through to the next round. Steve Bould should have little or nothing to trouble him today with Arsene starting the first match in a 3 game ban.
I’ll go with an uncomfortable 1-2 victory. If you’re at all interested in having a little flutter on the game, there’s a Betfair free bet offer that you can utilise – this enables you to browse the latest odds and other such avenues and, if you’re lucky, maybe make yourself a little bit of cash. You can bet on everything from the final score, first goalscorer or the eventual winner here. Signing up to the deal gets you £100 in free bets to be used across a huge variety of markets.
That’s all for today, folks. The comments await your thoughts on the line-up. Who would you start? Let me know.
I’ll return tomorrow with a review. Until that time, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.
Soundtrack to this post: