It’s time for another dose of beautiful football and this time around, it’s Newcastle away at St. James Park in the Carling Cup. For us, the Carling Cup has always been a competition where we blood our youngsters and in recent times, that style has meant that we’ve been knocked out too early and not gone on to win it. But Arsene has come out several times this season and said that it’s a competition that we are looking to win.
Despite the strength of the squad of the Sp*rs game, I feel that Arsene will change a few heads and primarily use his fringe squad for the first XI. Despite some excellent performances in the reserves, I think Jay Emmanuel-Thomas may not get the nod for the starting line up. Why? Because Arsene is keen to play Walcott, Bendtner and Vela and for that reason, JET simply cannot start. Arsene spoke on Arsenal TV ahead of the game and said:
“It will be similar to Spurs,” said Wenger. “We have players coming back like Walcott, Bendtner and Vela. Koscielny is fit to start. They will play. From the Man City game, we have no-one out [with injury]. One or two will be rested. Vela is back. In the squad, we will have Eastmond, Lansbury and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas,” said Wenger. “Wojciech will be in goal.”
I’m keen to see JET in action and believe there is a lot to come from the striker – in the reserves he has impressed and has a good mix of attack, skill and pace. Considering sometimes we moan that we have a small squad, when in fact we do have a pretty large squad. Today’s XI, I believe will be a completely different eleven then the players that started against Man City.
Eboue – Nordtveit – Koscielny – Gibbs
Denilson – Lansbury
Walcott – Rosicky - Vela
The first XI I’ve noted is relatively strong up front, with the three strikers coming back from injuries and fitness questions, it will be a good run out for them. Where I feel I am certain that Denilson and Lansbury will make up two of the midfield, I feel that if Rosicky doesn’t start then perhaps JET or Eastmond could come in, confirmation of Arsene’s thoughts nearer the time!
Arsene took time out to talk about the fact that Szcznesy will start in goal and was quick to play down his credentials, keen to insist that the player has to prove himself – I can see where Arsene is coming from – as a group of fans, we’ve been quick to hail him as our saviour in the goalkeeping department and the next best thing since sliced bread.
“He can show he is a good keeper and I believe he is one but there again let’s not make stars before they have proven they are,” said Wenger. “He has the talent, he has a good attitude and let’s see his performance in the games. You want of course a good performance but let’s not put him under too much pressure. Let’s let him enjoy the game and not speak about contracts. He’s a goalkeeper we rate, he knows he has been educated here, we want him to stay here and the only way I can show him that is by giving him a chance when it is possible. Tomorrow he gets that chance.”
Arsene has been prudent not to jump to conclusions and his faith in Fabianski may finally be starting to reap it’s rewards. Szcznesy has to prove to us and prove to everyone else that he is as good as the hype about him suggests he is.
After a few injuries this season, our defensive prodigy Harvard Nordtveit could feature in the centre of defence (instead of the right side of defence as he played in pre-season) alongside the returning Koscielny, who is back to fitness after a short spell out of the first team. I think the game will be good for both players and I really feel they both need some playing time and experience under their belt and where better to get that than St. James Park on a cold October night!
Nordtveit talked about his potential starting berth tonight saying:
“The most important thing is just to train hard, have a good attitude, do what I have to do and [give] even extra. When we played against Tottenham I was unfortunately injured with a twisted ankle but now I’ve been back in training for three weeks. It’s up to the boss to pick the squad for the Carling Cup but if I’m selected I will do everything. Right now it’s a tough squad to come in to. There are some very good players but I hope to be there.”
And he is right, our second string is signifcantly stronger than it was in previous years – but with Vermaelen out for a while, it would really make sense to rest Djourou and Squillaci. We can’t afford any more injuries to key first team players.
It will be a very exciting evening tonight, and I really can’t wait… Come on you reds!!!