Before we turn our attention to yet another cup match, I want to take a little moment to reflect on the league. Manchester United has just gone 5 points ahead of us, now that they’ve finally played their match in hand. Yet, it could have so easily been just 2 points even after that Tuesday’s game at Blackpool.
As Arsenal’s very own Carling Cup semifinal was starts at the same time, I was flicking between the channels each time a player goes down injured in our game. Imagine my surprise when I flicked over to see Blackpool leading by 2-0. The joy quickly turned sour when Luke Varney went tumbling inside United’s box.
I’m not surprised that no penalty was given. Even though it was a blatant body check without the defender touching the ball, the referee still did not dare to blow for the foul. Perhaps he is intimidated by Alex Ferguson or the United team. They say most big teams gets all the decisions. I would like to see those for Arsenal. Let’s make this clear, United gets away with 90% of things while others will only get 15% of those same things. You can complain about your smaller clubs not getting any decision their way and we can complain about ours versus United.
Had the penalty been given, there’s a good chance that Blackpool could convert the spot kick. At 3-0 down in an away fixture, it will be hard even for United to come back. Their luck managed to keep the score to 2-0 and they turned it around in the second. If we lose out at the end of the season by 1 point, I’m going to blame the referee. Of course, you can also argue about our reverse in the derby game but I give whatever reason I want.
We love him. We praise him. We adore him. We admire him. We respect him. Nothing will ever keep this boy down. Bacary Sagna has just been cleared from any medical problems after his concussion in the Ipswich game. He is a real warrior. We need his battling skills for the rest of the season and I’m glad that at least one of our players can take the damage and still continue to stand and fight on.
It is very rare to see Arsene Wenger retract from his stance. This pursuit of the Carling Cup this season has seen just that. While he has never claim that he doesn’t care about this competition, it is no secret that he favours the Premier League and Champions League over this cup. While the teams he put out in this season’s Carling Cup is not exactly his first choice 11 but they are close enough. Only a couple of tweaks here and there but more interestingly, Wenger has stuck with mostly his first team reserves rather than the youngsters.
I’m starting to believe the title drought is getting to him. This interview will prove just that. The pressure is not only on the players but on his thin shoulders as well. That a club such as Arsenal cannot go without trophies for so long. Something we Jack Wilshere will find hard to disagree. They are both in the category of those that believe lifting the Carling Cup will propel Arsenal to the next level. I am also a believer of this. That these players need to get that believe that they can do it and the Carling Cup will be the catalyst for more success.
Yet, what if we failed to win the cup? Will it hurt our team more? Will more players suffered confidence crisis? Let’s not discount the chances of Birmingham winning the final. Alex McLeish’s side has made through to the final to become our opponent on the 27th of February. While it would be interesting to see how the team will react if we lost the final, it is a scenario which I would never ever wish for us. Still…..