Carling Cup Semi: We’ve got Ipswich…

Morning All…

For those of you anywhere near or in the UK, you will most likely be very much like myself and completely freezing. You know when it’s cold when the 7 heaters and oven don’t keep you warm enough… how on earth footballers play in this weather…! Going back to Tuesday’s game and there was a little side-kick in front of me – a little girl, aged maybe 7… who was more livid then most of the crowd… imagine the cutest little thing in the world saying “Ref, that should be a yellow card”… or “Ref, that was a ‘orrible tackle”…

So, the draw for the semi finals of the Carling Cup was made last night… after Birmingham beat Villa and Ipswich beat a relatively in form West Brom to set up a tie against no other than Roy Keane’s side themselves…. Ipswich vs Arsenal… should be a doddle hey?

There were some very unsavoury moments after the Birmingham game, which was very very disappointing to see in this day and age… after their game, there was a crowd invasion, a fight or 10, a flare or two and an ambush of a coach… not what the modern game is all about by any means.

Back to all things down at the Grove…

The key thing with this group of players is that we need to start winning things and if the Carling Cup is the thing that we win first, then let it be. Many people say that we normally don’t take the competition that seriously – but in actual fact, we’ve been in 5 of the last 8 semi-finals… now that says something surely? With our extremely young players on loan, and a few new faces in the first team, our Carling Cup has naturally been stronger this year than previous years – and with this season, we’ve all seen that Arsene is more focused on winning it than ever before…

But he’s not the only one who shares that sentiment… our bit part, sometimes dynamic, sometimes static midfielder, Denilson is certain we can win the Carling Cup – and that after that we can win the FA Cup, the Premier League and the Champions League…

“I think we can win it this season, and I want to win it this season because for five years we haven’t won any trophies. But now we are a little bit stronger than last season. Last season we lost some big games, and this season we are more experienced. We have a great team, we have young players, but quality as well. We have young players and we have character. We have to focus on every single game. If we focus on every single game we have a chance to win – not only the Carling Cup, but also the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Premier League, which are more important for us. Sometimes I feel sad because people say that Arsène Wenger won’t pay for experienced players or old players. If we work together and help each other, and give 100 per cent in training and games as well, we can win this year.”

I do love the positivity, but at the same time, I wouldn’t mind some acknowledgement of the really bad performances at home (losing 3 home games we really should have won), and what happened there… but they say you’re only as good as your last game and our last game wasn’t that bad at all!

In other news, Cesc has been in the news and also wrote in his programme notes that he won’t be rushed back into action – he will come back when he is ready… I wonder how his last couple of injuries have actually come about and whether they were related to being rushed back in the first place – and I suspect that they were very much so. Let’s hope both Cesc and Arsene learn their lesson and ensure Cesc is fit and raring to go when he’s back… in his own time – and in a way, he’s had a little winter break…

And finally in the Inter-Carling Cup / pre Fulham game… I had a very weird dream yesterday that I was in a room down at the Emirates devising ways of making money so we could buy a new player in January. On the right of me, I had Arsene Wenger playing darts – and on the left of me was Robert Pires… we were brainstorming ideas for raising money and my idea of signing snow wasn’t going down well… no more cheese before bed time…

Adios for now mes amigos….

  • tesa

    In a way I find it slightly embarrassing that we are chasing the Carling Cup ‘trophy’ after dismissing it as being ‘Mickey Mouse’ in recent years.

    When the Spuds won it I laughed. It wasn’t a ‘real’ trophy and we had better things to aim for. Watching them parade the Carling Cup had me pissing my knickers.

    We were the mighty Arsenal and ‘that’ trophy was beneath us.

    Even the FA Cup, a competition Arsene Wenger used to take seriously, took a backseat as we pursued the major honours in the game.

    The Premiership title and Champions League were our targets. Especially Arsene Wenger’s.

    Now what? Finally the Carling Cup is being taken seriously because we haven’t won a thing for nearly six years.

    I don’t buy it. How can I?

    Sorry, I know it would be great to actually win something after so long (despite the longer periods of not winning things in our history) without silverware but for some reason I’d feel a bit hypocritical to celebrate winning the Carling Cup.

    Of course I want Arsenal to win the damn thing. I want Arsenal to win everything but we usually ‘dismiss’ the Carling Cup as a youth exercise and that is down to Arsene Wenger.

    Over the years Wenger has blooded his youngsters through this competition and now we have to win it, to keep the pressure off him, we are using stronger team-sheets and it all seems slightly fake to me.

    I know the players are professionals and should aim to win every trophy but they would have noticed that Wenger in recent years has seen the Carling Cup as second-rate. A cup not really worth winning so why now?

    I hate having a pop at Wenger, believe me I do, but how can we go from not caring about the Carling Cup to it suddenly becoming a major honour again?

    By treating the Carling Cup (and FA Cup) as being not that ‘important’ to win Wenger has bred complacency in the squad. They are both more than winnable competitions and maybe if taken a little more seriously in the past, and not just now, we wouldn’t have gone without a trophy since 2005.

    On the positive side winning the Carling Cup could springboard this Arsenal squad onto future success. That would be brilliant and of course that is the view of a lot of Gooners these days.

    I do understand that reasoning. I believe that could be the case too.

    However I think raising the Carling Cup is more down to keeping people off Wenger’s back. People have been banging on about us not winning things for a while now and Arsene is under-pressure, probably the most pressure in his Arsenal career, to win something.

    I’m just finding it hard to get excited about the Carling Cup. I’ve spent so long not even considering it as a ‘proper’ trophy that I feel a bit embarrassed that now it is considered a priority.

    Maybe I’m just being a mug and should be more grateful that we are in with a serious shout of winning something but its just the way I feel.

  • devday

    It seems to me that there is a weird obsession with us previously dismissing this trophy as a “mickey mouse” trophy.

    We’ve always said it’s our fourth choice target for a trophy but we’ve always maintained that we will try our best.

    We’ve got to the quarter finals in the last 8 seasons and the semis in the last 5, once in the final.

    This season, mostly the media has made people believe that “suddenly” we’re taking it more seriously. Forget what they say, forget the fact it’s the Carling Cup. If we win it, we win it.

    Be excited for this team – winning one trophy could be the catalyst for many a trophy in the future!

  • funty

    Dec – agreed 100% – I am hoping this can be a catalyst for us to go on ans challenge for bigger n beter things

  • edison

    I think what everyone is failing to realise: wenger said he would field a stronger team this season for the carling cup. The first time we do in a long time, and we are in with a huge shout of winning it. Simple. A couple of seasons ago players like jack wilshere, carlos vela and kieran gibbs were used exclusively for the carling cup. Now look at them, helping prop up the season in our first team. They’ve made it.

    So when you see them play in the carling cup just remember they were once wild card players who got given a chance in this league cup. I think they owe it to themselves and fully deserve to win it. I wouldn’t knock it by a long shot.

  • Sam

    If, and when, we win it… We win it.
    We were in the final a few seasons back, against Chelsea, weren’t we?! So we have been serious about Carling.

  • devday

    Exactly my point Sam, exactly my point!