Haven’t written anything in close to a week now. You will pardon me for that, seeing as the entire week was the Chinese New Year celebrations and there was just too much going on. Now that the celebrations are coming to and end, it’s time to get back into the routine of things.
Match day and Blackburns are the visitors for tonight’s FA Cup clash. This comes a few days before the big Champions League tie against Bayern Munich. The German side played their game yesterday and won away at Wolfsburg. Though they have to travel, they still got an additional 24 hours to recuperate from last night’s exertions. What is clear is that English clubs do not get the same beneficial treatment from the Premier League or the FA compared to what German clubs gets. That said, Friday night fixtures are not something new to the Bundesliga.
With next week’s game in mind, there will be a few players who will be given the night off. If it’s up to me, I would rest every single player that will play Bayern. Not because I think we should prioritise the CL ahead of the FA Cup, but more because I will that even with our second string side, we are more than good enough to beat Blackburn (yes, yes….I haven’t forgotten about Bradford). In any case, I don’t think we should be prioritising any competition over the other. The way this team functions, we will need every positive results that comes our way.
One player who will definitely start tonight’s game, is Ignacio Monreal. This is of course due to him being cup-tied for the CL match as he has already appeared for Malaga earlier in this season’s competition. How many of the other senior players whom he will be partnered with on the pitch, remains to be seen. Wojciech Szczesny looks the likeliest as the goalkeeping position doesn’t require too much time to recover compared to the other positions.
Is that side not good enough to beat Blackburn at the Grove? With Podolski being subbed off at half time for either of Walcott or Giroud. Which would mean a very strong bench of Mertesacker, Arteta, Diaby, Cazorla, Giroud and Walcott. Should their involvement be more or required earlier, then we have options. I understand that injuries could happen anywhere, any time. Even if we did save them from Blackburn, they could just as easily pick up one in training tomorrow. However, we can only plan for what we can predict. That said, I doubt Arsene Wenger will resist putting out best 11 available to him.
While the Championship side has had their troubles with the sacking and Steve Kean and Henning Berg, they are in better form despite a third manager in a single season. Berg oversaw 1 win, 3 draws and 6 defeats. After that, they have managed to earn 4 wins, 3 draws and 1 defeat. So, while I’m confident, the team will have to play like usual and not underestimate the strength of Blackburn. After all, they do have 23 year old Jordan Rhodes who have scored 34 goals for club and country, this season.
The FA Cup represents our real chance at ending that dreary “trophy drought” term. I wonder if any Gooner would be angry if Wenger played the full first team side and one or two players got injured in the process which ruled them out of the Bayern clash? Let’s hope we could put the first team out and not suffer afterwards.
Up The Arsenal.