It’s not the Champions League, it’s not the Premier League, it’s not the FA Cup, nor is it the Carling Cup…
It is Tottenham Hotsp*r vs Arsenal… at the Lane…
No matter what competition it is, you can’t take away the occasion away from what will be a fierce encounter. The last time we went to White ‘art Lane was in the run in to the Premiership title and, for me, the loss there, was a pivotal nail in our title coffin. Whether or not it mattered in the end is neither here or there, but at the time, it wasn’t great being a gooner!
Arsene took time to comment about last year’s game:
“No, it was too late. We would still have had a mathematical chance but Chelsea didn’t drop any points, so it was too late. On the night we lost our chance but we would not have won the league. Let’s be realistic: although we would have been mathematically in the fight, we would not have won the league. I feel that we gave some cheap goals away but we battled hard to come back in the second half and the last 20 minutes especially, so overall it was disappointing to lose,” he reflected. “However we would not have won the championship by beating Spurs that night.”
Personally, I disagree – if we hadn’t lost there, who knows what would have happened? I doubt we would have lost against Wigan and Blackburn either and obviously we’d have put some more pressure on the eventual title winners.
But that game was last year and tonight is our time to get some sort of revenge. But who knows what team will be announced later today – with players such as Nordtveit and Frimpong absent through injury, it will be a relatively strong squad, but we will see Jay Emmanuel Thomas (JET) and that is great news as I’m sure – like me – most fans are quite exciting to see the young prodigy in action. Arsene took time out to single out JET as someone he has been looking forward to seeing in action to:
“Jay has class. Class to give the ball, class to finish, class to pass people. I believe he can play against anybody and score goals, but then again you must earn your place and on a daily basis he must show you have the hunger and quality. He has the needed quality without a doubt. I am confident that if he gets an opportunity he will show that.”
So, personally, I think we’ll be naming a first XI of something like this:
Eboue – Djourou – Squillaci – Gibbs
Denilson – Eastmond
Emmanuel Thomas – Rosicky – Lansbury
As you can see, it’s probably one of the strongest Carling Cup teams we’ve played, but it’s still 10 changes from the starting line-up with only one of the centre backs keeping their place – and only because we have Vermaelen and Nordtveit both injured. A few people have questioned why we look like we’re playing such a strong squad – but surely making 10 changes is change enough and surely it’s a game that is good for the likes of the above team to gain some match practice – Gibbs and Eboue need games to ensure if required for the big games, they’re ready. Fabianski is ready to prove himself, although, I wouldn’t have minded seeing Szczesny having a run out.
Denilson and Djourou are both returning from injury, so it’s an excellent game for them to gain some match practice and there is enough quality there for us to beat a Sp*rs side, who have their own injury and squad issues – enough quality – especially with Carlos Vela up front! One of my personal favourites…
Arsene has been impressed with Carlos Vela’s form and commented that he may lead the line tonight…
“It is about starting the game, carrying the responsibility to be the main striker and showing that you can deal with that. I believe that Carlos can – but then again you have to turn up at the right moment. It is a massive opportunity for him, he has worked very hard from the beginning of the season. He is a different player to what he was last year when it wasn’t easy going sometimes. He has a more mature attitude now.”
If this preview hasn’t got you excited for tonight’s game, then I don’t know what will… it’s going to be a great evening, I simply can’t wait!
Come on you Gooners!