Today sees us enter into the majesty of the FA Cup. Nostalgia. Sunday afternoons in front of Match Of The Day as a child. Jumpers for goalposts. Not having to pay f*cking bills and mortgages on items you own, yet somehow invariably end up owning you. Ahhh, to be a child, bereft of responsibility, once again…
Of course, the perks of being an adult far outweigh that of my younger years. For starters, I have the income to fund my childish wants these days, plus I’m now my own boss. I don’t have a curfew. I can’t be grounded (Don’t tell my girlfriend I said that). I can travel abroad without supervision. I can drink alcohol without having to find an empty field in which I can consume it without being spotted. The list goes on.
Anyways…. I’m digressing somewhat from the point here.
If you’ve passed by this site around FA Cup time, you’ll know that I’m a fan. Most of that does stem from the aforementioned nostalgia, but also there’s a part of me that refuses to see a diminished status for the competition, even if that has become increasingly obvious over the years. These days, especially with such ridiculous schedules, The FA Cup takes second place to the Premiership. But it still has that magic for me, a magic the league cup equivalent does not. A magic I hope doesn’t become further lost in the coming years.
With a full Premiership fixture list coming our way in the middle of next week, it’s a safe bet we’ll see some rotation today. Not just from Arsenal, but from the majority of teams in the top flight and understandably so. Whether it be a scrap for points in a relegation fight or pushing for a Champions League spot, most managers are going to prioritise that ahead of a cup run. It’s a shame it’s come to this, but this is the modern football world we live in.
The team news for Arsenal today is practically all good news. Per Mertesacker and Mathieu Debuchy have both returned to full training but I would assume are unlikely to feature due to a lack of fitness. Theo Walcott is back in the squad. Granit Xhaka and Arsene Wenger both find themselves suspended for the game. both on account of small measures of tw*ttery. but I still love them, those naughty rascals (This is the point I’d ruffle their hair if they were here).
Arsene’s punishment for pushing Anthony Taylor is a period of 4 matches in which he is barred from the touchline. I can’t help feel it’s a touch stupid. Players and managers have heated exchanges far more physical than what occurred in the Emirates tunnel and no bans are administered. However, if you touch a precious referee, you’re in hot water. Because they’re delicate and need to be protected at all times from the harshness of reality, irrespective of whether or not they’re total f*cking imbeciles who blunder about the pitch unaccountable for their stupidity.
All that said, if Arsene doesn’t react, then this doesn’t happen. It’s pretty much that simple. the blame lies with him and it’s good to see him take responsibility for his actions. Take note, Jose Mourinho.
So, back to today’s game…
I’m going to take a wild guess at the changes. Given Southampton are a strong team on their own turf, and we’ve faltered spectacularly there before; I imagine we won’t rest too many players. The most likely pair to step aside would be Ozil and Sanchez. I’d assume Ospina will start in goal with Gibbs (if he’s still alive… Haven’t seen or heard of him in ages!) starting at full back. Bellerin needs fitness so he could start with Koscielny and Holding centrally. Coquelin and Ramsey in midfield is about all the options we have in that respect. The remaining attackers, – again, wild guess here – could be Welbeck, Perez, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud.
It\s a tough game to call because Southampton are something of a bogey team. Ever since we went to St Mary’s and got battered 4-0 I always assume something bad will happen when we play them. But, I’m endeavouring to keep my positive head on, so I shall predict we’ll turn up all guns blazing and avenge that scoreline buy winning 4-0 ourselves.
Yes – I concur, that is something of a ballsy prediction, but I’m standing by it…
That’s all for today, folks. feel free to comment below and share this post across the documented universe. Perhaps the inhabitants of a distant world can learn all about mankind by reading this blog… You never know, I may have inadvertently started first contact with an alien race. Preferably not one with advanced technology, temper issues and laser beams. I hate laser beams. Ever since War Of The Worlds (Not the Spielberg version) I’ve thought it would suck to be atomised by lasers, so lets hope I don’t bring about my worst nightmare. Or the end of the world, for that matter.
I’ll be back soon with more. Until that time, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.