Are we wearing red shorts, aren’t we wearing red shorts? Does it really matter?
This is the kind of news that you get as an Arsenal fan when everything else dries up because we haven’t played for over a week and it occurs to me this morning that perhaps we are lucky, because with European Football and a team that – some exceptions like Forest aside – usually goes a little deeper into competitions, usually affords us around 50 to 55 games a season. We might not like them much at the moment when they do play, but at least we have the opportunity to watch them more than somebody like West Ham do, who regularly get knocked out of early rounds of cups and also don’t really appear in European competition. If you’re a West Ham fan you probably get 41 or 42 games a season max. When a season usually lasts about 40 weeks, that means you’re basically down to one a week at best. I know we pay through the nose for The Arsenal (both financially and emotionally) but at least we get more opportunities than most in a season.
Which brings me nicely to tomorrow’s game in which we’ll get some indication of team selection today I suspect. It’s an interesting one because we’ve already had ol’ Headgear himself Petr Cech talking about how Ospina will play the final on Sunday, which will mean back-to-back games for our no-necked Colombian in between the sticks I suspect. That’ll be nice for him because he’s had to contend with little if any back-to-back Football this season so perhaps it’ll give him enough of a reminder that when you’re on the pitch you don’t have to defend your goal from behind the line.
In reality this won’t be as much of a shocker to see Ospina play because Arsène has always had that loyalty with his players an. Specifically the ‘keepers. Fabianski got the nod in he Birmingham cup final, as well as the Hull final just before he left on a free and Szczesny got the nod in the cups when Cech arrived, so none of this will come as a surprise to us season Arsenal watchers.
The main topic of interest will be who’s in the squad for tomorrow night. Personally I’d like to see Arsène take to the press conference stage and declare that none shall pass the white line of the pitch that will play on Sunday (except Ospina). I’d like him to mind game it all up and tell us that Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Jack, Rambo, Özil and Mkhitaryan are all down with a ‘mystery illness’ that later is revealed as a bad case of ‘butt rot’, only for them all to miraculously appear on the team sheet on Sunday afternoon.
I hope Arsène throws some chances to some of the young lads tomorrow and I hope his presser today talks of ‘respecting the opposition’ but ultimately coming to win and win big at home. The likes of Holding, Chambers, heck let’s even throw in Big Per, Kolasinac, Willock, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Iwobi and Nketiah should all be given run outs I reckon. Let’s see what the younger lads can do in what I’m sure will feel like a League Cup game at home against a League One team.
But of course there is precedent for Arsène Wenger randomness. Like when he played an almost full strength squad at home to Coventry in the FA Cup a couple of seasons ago, when we had a busy fixture schedule and big games coming up just days away, so we know he’s prone to random bouts of insanity by risking players. I just hope the lure of being able to field a fully rested squad (although that did us no favours against Spurs or Swansea it has to be said) in a cup final will be enough to tempt the manager to keeping all of the first team regulars wrapped up in blankets watching from their own private boxes in the Emirates.
We’ll find out soon enough.
And that my friends is me done for another day. Work for me and more thoughts on tomorrow’s game in the morning.