FA Cup third round replay. When the draw was announced for the original tie, I wouldn’t have thought that there’ll be a replay. Even though this is Leeds, they are still a side that is in the Championship which would mean a match which we should have really won when the fixture is a home game. It was as if suddenly we’re concentrating on the league and took our eyes off the cups.
Granted, there were a fair bit of changes made between the side that beat Chelsea and that one that trooped off the pitch against Leeds. Yet, it was still packed with internationals who are supposedly better quality compared to Leeds. Though as it always is when massive changes are made, there are no coherence in our play. Complacency may be another issue as history of our past games with this squad will suggest.
I have no inkling of what kind of side Arsene Wenger will put out. Will he trust the same side who played in the first match to finally do the job in the second or will he go mix it up again and hope to yield a match winning performance. Even though he is encouraged by the progress of Aaron Ramsey, it seems that the manager will take the slow route with him. Reason is here. We still have the league game against Wigan on Saturday as well as the 2nd leg of the Ipswich semifinal to contend with next midweek, therefore I hope he keeps the bulk of the starters the same with a couple of tinkering here and there.
As much as I hate moving Alex Song into defence, I have to admit I’m more worried about Johan Djourou’s fitness. The big Swiss defender has played a lot of games continuously and sooner or later it will take its toll on his body if he goes on without sufficient recovery time. Putting Ignasi Miquel there in the expected hostile atmosphere at Elland Road might be asking a little too much of our young Spanish centreback.
Denilson should come in for Song in midfield and that will see him line up alongside Cesc Fabregas and perhaps Tomas Rosicky. Things have been blown out of proportion when excerpts from the interview done by Arsenal Brasil and translated on Arseblog were published by mainstream media. Denilson made a comment about Fabregas’ lacked of leadership was perhaps in comparison to some other captains that he had played for and we should not make too much out of it. Even Fabregas and Jack Wilshere has come out to tell us that there is no rift within the squad.
Speaking of little Jack, being an English lad, he obviously still holds the FA Cup dear to him. In which case, us fans believe the same thing as well. Although the competition has been relegated in terms of importance in the face of the rise of the Champions League, it is still a very good competition to win. Something which we cannot make light of tonight. We need to do a whole lot more than we did 2 weeks ago if we want to progress to the 4th Round. Here’s what we need tonight.
Wilshere also goes on to thank Fabregas for keeping us in the competition. If our Spaniard scores, chances are, we would win the tie. This is proven here. We’ve got an 81% of wins whenever he scores and 19% draws with no defeats. Let’s try to set him up with more chances tonight then.
Leeds will be up for it. Their fans will be up for it. The real question is, will Arsenal be up for it? Let’s hope the answer to that is a big rip-roaring YES!!!!