What a start to a week. Post Hull I lost my wallet (complete with two Arsenal season tickets in) and spent the best part of yesterday evening searching for it to no avail. Then I head to the tube line this morning with an emergency Pay As You Go Oyster card (The Management’s) only to be told it’s been cancelled. By now it’s getting close to 8am and I thought “I wonder if I left it at the newsagents in South Ruislip?”. The good news was that the answer was “yes, we have your wallet”. The bad news was taking the normally nine minute car journey to the station, which ended up as a one hour fifteen minute pilgrimage, but at least I don’t have to worry about Arsenal charging me a £20 ‘admin fee’ for printing off a couple of paper tickets.
The ramifications of our draw to Hull will be dealt with in due course, but at least we learned our quarter final fate, were we to navigate past the Tigers. Watford at home is one of those games you’d be happy with, providing Watford aren’t completely safe, mid table, with nothing to play for except the possibility of getting to Wembley. Which is almost guaranteed at this stage. So even if we steer around the choppy waters of Humberside, we’ve still got plenty to do to ensure that April is a month of Wembley Way and sunshine. There’s already talk of this fixture causing a nightmare for the club, but as I mentioned yesterday, I don’t think it will be too much of an issue. Hull will take the same approach as us, I’d expect, so they’ll rotate as much as we will.
Still, that’s in the future, so let’s focus on the hear and now. Such things being the exit of City and the Spuds at the hands of Chelski and Palace respectively. On the Chav-City match up, that’s a win-win, because one of the big teams were going out. Another fixture for City would have been nice in the form of a replay, but Pellegrini clearly didn’t fancy that one iota, as he tried to field a team with a combined shirt number value of about 700. So it’s the in-form chavs that go to Everton. We’ll see what comes out of that.
With the Spuds, I have to say I was almost disappointed to see them go out, and bear with me on this one before you turn from this blog in disgust.
I have a genuine fear that the Tiny Totts will be putting their hands on the Premier League trophy. They’ve been the form team since the turn of the year and they don’t look like they’re running out of steam. One way in which their high pressing game can run out of steam, however, is by having them overloaded by games. So yesterday I found myself hoping for another game shoehorned in to their schedule, along with the Europa League, to derail their domestic campaign. By having them out of the FA Cup they may well have just giving themselves an opportunity to compete better domestically, which terrifies me. We need them knackered and if they get knocked out to Fiorentina next week we’ll all have a laugh for 24 hours, but then will come the realisation that they have one competition alone to worry about, to prepare for. Liverpool were a Steven Gerrard slip away from a title because they had one competition to worry about. The same could happen with that lot from up the Seven Sisters Road.
Good grief that would be horrible.
Anyway, I need to expel such horrific thoughts from my mind and concentrate on more positive things, like us lining up against Barcelona tomorrow night. There’s been a bit of talk amongst the Gooners I converse with, about whether or not Alexis should be considered given his form, which to be fair to most of the people I talk to, the general consensus seems to be that no, you can’t do that. Against his old club, looking to show them how far he’s come, the Chilean will be more fired up than ever before. He’s a big-game player and matches like tomorrow night bring the best out of big game players. So I suspect we’ll see him get a full ninety. Who should play on the opposite flank will be a question up for debate, but I’ll save that for tomorrow, after I’ve read and listened to what Le Boss has had to say.
I’m not sure how I’m feeling about tomorrow you know. I don’t feel as nervous as usual. That’s probably because there doesn’t seem to be many outside of the Arsenal fraternity that feel we can get a win. I get that. It’s arguably one of the best Barca teams ever, whilst we’re struggling at the sharp end of the pitch, yet in a way that makes me look forward to the game more. There’s less pressure I think. It’s the league I’ve said all season that we should worry about and that’s how I feel. I am more jittery about Unitd, or even the game against Swansea, than I am about Barca. Hopefully I can just enjoy the spectacle of football tomorrow and if we get another “Arrrrrshavin!” Moment, then grand, all the better for us all.
Let’s not forget, after our woeful start in the competition, we probably shouldn’t have got this far anyway. So I’m just seeing these games as a bonus.
What about you? How are you feeling? Let me know in the comments.