From Barcelona to Leyton Orient. From Ashburton Grove to Brisbane Road. After the glitters on Wednesday, we moved back to English football, albeit less the fanfare. The two teams are world’s apart in terms of quality but rest assured the match would be as tough as European tie. FA Cup always promises surprises and shocks and if Arsenal don’t turn up, this could be yet another giant-killing story.
As a player, it is understandable that they may feel somewhat indifferent to play Leyton today. Especially since their last opponent was Barcelona. The players will have a tough task to raise their game or effort for this one. Let’s be honest about it. If you had been training to play against Europe’s best team and then beat them in the actual match, your energy level drops. For them to raise the energy again, just 4 days later at a League One club is very hard, even if they are suppose to be professionals.
With that in mind, perhaps there should be major changes to the playing side. Putting in players that did not play on Wednesday. Players who watched on the sidelines on Wednesday and the saw the magnificent quality of the game and wants to participate in the next one. The only way that can happen is to play themselves into contention. By showing the manager that even against lowly clubs, they will put in the effort and have the same desire to win, as when they play Barcelona.
Arsene Wenger wants to win all four trophies. Why not? We should always aspire to be the best, or else there is no point in any competition. For that to happen, we will have to utilize our entire squad. That means there is a job for the back-ups and reserves to do today. That is to win the game and ensure that Arsenal progress to the next phase of the competition as well as allow those that played on Wednesday some rest.
Since Samir Nasri played the full 90 in his first match since returning from injury, I think he will get a well deserved weekend off. Those players with doubts, like Johan Djourou and Theo Walcott should be rested. There is no need to risk them for this game. Abou Diaby is still suspended over that red he saw at Newcastle but Marouane Chamakh returns from his reported illness from Wednesday. I expect massive changes around the side and this is who I think will start;
Despite only retaining 3 players from the one that started against Barcelona, only 2 out the 11 players are not full internationals. Manuel Almunia and Denilson have not been capped by their respective countries yet but otherwise has a wealth of experience garnered during their Arsenal career. It is a tremendous tribute to Arsenal and Wenger that so many changes can be made and still packs so much quality in the side.
Therefore, there should not be any disgruntled noise coming out later asking why Wenger makes so many changes and how it disrupts the rhythm of the team. It will not be the first time that these lads are put together in the same team. There were other cup matches before this and the amount of time spent on the training ground should be enough for any team to gel. There is no reason that Arsenal would lose, even if we put these players in the starting line-up.
Before I go, here’s a wonderful story on Robin Van Persie that everyone should read. I will leave you with a quote RvP made which touch my heart.
I don’t have the inclination to go anywhere.The bottom line is that I want to win trophies with Arsenal, not with anybody else. ‘I’m sure I could win things at another team in another country, but would it feel like our trophy, my trophy? I’m not sure it would. Anything we win here will come from the heart and that’s what I want. It’s my dream and I see no point in speaking about other teams when I have these dreams. I think other people know that about me; I’m just hungry to win with Arsenal and that’s it.