United lost yesterday and we all got to engage in a bit of schadenfreude at their expense, until it became clear that City have a nice and easy tie against Bristol City to pick up probably at least one of the minimum two trophies they should win this season, at which point it became less funny.
But hey, at least we have a semi to look forward to, albeit against a Chelski team that usually knock us out when it comes to this competition.
The questions are already being asked about how we’re going to cope with the fixture list in January, as well as the inevitable debate over whether Arsène sticks to his rotation policy or goes for a stronger team in that competition. For me it’s a debate for another day because we have a far more worrying prospect on the immediate horizon, which is how to overcome a high energy Liverpool team who will fancy their chances against us on Friday night, especially given that they’ve won three and drawn two of the last six matches. Klopp particularly has had a great time with three wins and a draw.
Which is why I’m worried for tomorrow. For some interesting reading on how to counter it you can go and have a look at my old mate Michael’s YAMA site for a bit more detail on that and having read that piece yesterday, I’m no less worried that we aren’t in for a difficult evening.
Liverpool will press high and look to force errors and my only hope is that today’s training sessions are cut short and that Arsène locks himself in his office and doesn’t come out until he’s watched those last three defeats three times over at least. We need to find a way to counter their high press and I hope he’s putting together some kind of tactical master plan for tomorrow.
I will believe it when I see it though.
More on the hows, why’s and what ifs on tomorrows blog. For the remainder of today’s incessant rambling I’d like to pay tribute to the Little Mozart, Tomas Rosicky, who yesterday announced his retirement.
The latter part of his Arsenal career is a familiar story to us; a talented and brilliant at times player being struck down by injury after injury. We’ve seen it plenty of times with Eduardo, Diaby, Rosicky, as well as Santo in this current squad, but I’ll never forget just how good he was at times for us.
I was working at the local newspaper when we first signed him and I used to go running in the gym opposite and I’ll never forget the first glimpse I got. It was lunchtime and it was the 2006 World Cup and as I watched the Czech Republic and saw this guy on the ball bang one in from 30 yards, I couldn’t help but skip with glee; it was Tomas and we’d announced his signing but a couple of weeks earlier. What an introduction to a player for me and in the two seasons after that he lived up to the reputation of being a very good asset to Arsenal.
His peak was that season with Fabregas, Flamini and Hleb in the midfield and it was a shame that everything got derailed in 2007/8 with the Eduardo ‘tackle’ because it would have been good to see that midfield contribute heavily to winning a league.
But it wasn’t to be and after that 2007/8 season his career took a nasty turn with that injury that nobody could diagnose at first as I recall. I think it was hamstring related but he didn’t feature all season. That was the beginning of the end for him as a regular starter at Arsenal and he is another player that has to be added to the ‘what if’ pile.
I suppose that’s why so many are also so desperate to see Jack not fall victim to the injury curse, because we’ve already seen enough of it at Arsenal in the last 10 years, so we are all crossing everything that he can remain fit. Few are convinced but if you’re like me then you always have hope for him.
So we say goodbye to Rosicky in a footballing sense but he’ll always be remembered fondly by most of us for his contribution towards the club. He loved a goal against the Tiny Totts too, which is always nice.
Thanks Little Mozart.