It’s time for the FA Cup once again. The oldest cup competition in the world and the first Arsenal game that I watch, was in this competition. The rest is as you say, history. History could be made this season if we manage to go all the way and win the cup at Wembley. It would take us to 11 triumphs and match Manchester United as the club that has won the cup the most times. A cup which incidentally was also the last trophy we won back in 2005.
Swansea away is not the easiest of 3rd round ties. We’ve already lost the last two meetings against them in the league fixtures. Home and away, we did not manage to pick up a single point from them. This being a cup tie, will mean an even tougher match up ahead for us. The fact that Michael Laudrup will have an entire squad to choose from minus one Neil Taylor, only serves to make it a harder task for us.
For all our troubles in the game last month, now there’s the added problem of the returning Pablo Hernandez. The Spaniard is just among a few threats that will come from this Swansea side. The chief of which will be Michu who scored both goals against us in that match in December. His late runs into the penalty box will have to be checked, either by our centre backs or Mikel Arteta.
We saw what happened when we sat off and allowed Swansea the time and space to play their style of game. If we are not accustomed to being without the ball, the discomfort is at an entirely different level when we have to chase the ball around for most of the game. We need to press and we need to do it collectively. If one player sat off, the whole pressing game would collapse. This method can only start from the font through the work of either Theo Walcott or Olivier Giroud.
From what we’ve heard this week, it doesn’t look like Arsene Wenger will try to alter the side too much and hopefully he’s true to his words. However, a change or two here and there will no doubt help refresh a side that could only manage a 1-1 draw away at Southampton in the last game. I’m looking at the likes of Santi Cazorla and Bacary Sagna being afforded a rest. Perhaps even Arteta. All 3 have played a lot of games recently and could very well benefit from some time on the bench. The former duo did not have the best of times in the Southampton game but if rested, it will be to help them recover more and not benched because of poor performance.
Grant Holt, Peter Crouch, Steven Fletcher and Pavel Pogrebnyak. What do these players have in common? They are big, they are strong and they are a threat aerially. Oh…and they have all scored one or more goals against Swansea this season. I might be wrong but looking at this, but it wouldn’t hurt for us to have a look at this approach. Giroud is the player who we could be looking at for today. A player who is physically imposing (yup, that includes the beauty part) that can trouble the likes of Ashley Williams and Chico.
Hopefully, the attacking side of the players against Newcastle will turn up today. The Jekyll and Hyde act is a tedious one. We will be the happier is Hyde is left locked in a cage and not allowed to come out at all today. That said, I don’t really have a problem if we draw today to take the tie back to the Grove. Not what a side like us should be aiming for but sometimes draw happens.
Up The Arsenal.