So, it’s a North London derby in the first round of the Capitol One Cup to keep us entertained. For the last couple of years we have persistently been getting rather tough opponents in the opening rounds of both cups: Southampton last year and Chelsea before that in CoC, Hull and Spurs in FA Cup. All the while teams like Chelsea and City get Walsall, Carlisle, Peterborough and whatnot. Just our luck.
I would say “I’m not fussed, it’s only Spurs” but that last week taught me humility. The problem for us right now is not the opponent, but rather our form, attitude, mentality or whatever. And shit refs, don’t forget shit refs.
On a side note, you do know
Mike Dean the inept twat wasn’t punished in any way for the atrocious performance he produced? He was even picked to referee Spurs vs Norwich next week. I feel for both teams.
Also, while Costa was charged with violent conduct (proof there really is a God), Gabriel faces further charges of improper conduct, while both clubs were charged with “failing to control their players”. Additionally, Cazorla was issued a warning for basically calling the ref a wanker when leaving the field. We are ought to be building a statue for the Spaniard, not charging him with some weird shit.
So, in short, for one good decision, the FA made five wrong ones. Well done. Oh and, by the way, if Costa really is banned for three games, I would like to make it perfectly clear this punishment is insufficient, especially if Gabriel gets a lengthier ban. For one, the aggressor should always get a longer ban than the victim. Secondly, Costa made THREE separate offenses on Koscielny, while also flicking a foot at Chamberlain, diving and scratching Gabriel’s neck. If all this only gets him a three-game ban, well… But then again Shawcross only got 3 games for breaking Ramsey’s leg, Terry got 4 for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, so hoping for a bit of common sense from FA is stupid. Naive, even.
Back to Spurs, however. They haven’t exactly produced a flying start, with 2 wins (both 1-0, late goals against Sunderland and Palace respectively), 3 draws (Stoke, Everton and Leicester) and a loss to United on the opening day. Kane is off the pace at the moment, having scored none in 6 games, while their second-best outfield player (Eriksen) has only just returned from injury and only made a substitute appearance against Palace. The rest of Spurs squad is, excuse me, poverty (barring Alderweireld and Lloris). I’ve honestly tried watching them play a couple of times and wasn’t impressed at all.
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As for us, well, let’s start with the usual team news.
Team news update
Cazorla will obviously be unavailable and I’m not holding my breath Gabriel will. Yes, Arsenal are trying to rescind/reduce his ban, but it seems unlikely we’ll succeed, especially with new charges being imposed.
Coquelin, with a swollen knee, will also be sidelined, but his injury doesn’t seem to be serious. The good news is that Mertesacker is finally back and I expect him to slot back in alongside Koscielny.
As for Tottenham, they will be without Bentaleb, Dembele and Mason, all of whom are carrying different knocks.
Squad and approach
Will be tough to guess our squad for this one. Arsene said he’ll go for an experienced side with 1 or two youngsters. On who the youngsters may be, your guess is as good as mine, since Jeff is injured and Wenger was somewhat elusive on Iwobi.
Maybe he was talking about Bielik? We haven’t seen so much as a glimpse of our January signing (unless you are watching U21s, that is). Apart from Bielik and Iwobi I genuinely can’t think of anyone, seeing as all the usual suspects were loaned out. I think we may see our young Pole in the squad for the first time – Hope so.
Apart from these “1 or 2 young players”, I guess the squad will be pretty much the same that faced Zagreb. A mere week after that debacle the squad players are likely to get a chance to put things right. Besides, rotation is inevitable, we can’t have our regulars playing three times a week and the Leicester game should be of more importance.
So I expect to see Ospina in goal, Debuchy and Gibbs on the flanks, Mertesacker for Gabriel, Arteta for Coquelin, Ramsey alongside our captain and Oxlade with Campbell on the wings. Also, with Mertesacker back is it possible Wenger plays Chambers at the base? Doesn’t look likely to me, especially since that would mean using all our centre-backs at once, but you never know.
The two really important questions, however, are these: who plays up top and who plays behind the striker?
Do we persist with Theo or does he need a rest? Personally, I’d keep him if possible. He looks to be starting to grow into the role of a lone forward, so more the practice he gets and the more goals he scores, the better. However, both him and Giroud enjoy a goal vs Spurs, so I have no qualms with either.
Playing someone different to Ozil behind the striker may prove difficult. Firstly, we don’t have any of Rosicky/Cazorla/Wilshere to do the job. Secondly, Ramsey showed against Newcastle he is not really a playmaker. Finally, Ozil is so unique I wouldn’t drop him out of simple fear we won’t be able to fashion chances for our strikers. If he can take three games a week, I would start him tomorrow.
Predicted line-up: Ospina – Debuchy – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Gibbs – Arteta – Ramsey – Ozil – Oxlade – Campbell/Iwobi – Giroud.
I don’t really care about the Mickey Mouse Cup (Not Editor’s View,) but this game is a must-win for several reasons: it’s a derby and it’s a chance to put an end to our losing streak. Both these make the clash more important than it usually is.
Here’s hoping we end our unlucky spell and no referees get in our way.
Come on you Gunners.
Back with a review