So it’s an FA Cup home tie against United that we have to face in the next round of the FA Cup. I guess the best way to ensure you have an easier cup final is to beat them along the way, eh? 😉

On a serious note, how are Liverpool fans going to explain their way out of last night then? The grass was perhaps too green and that reflective light from the blades caused by the floodlights caused their players temporary paralysis? Or maybe the lines on the pitch were painted incorrectly and were out by precisely one degree?

Whatever it was, it’s one less trophy for them to concern themselves about and if the wheels could just completely fall off in the next couple of weeks that would be entirely delightful thank you very much.

But enough about them, let’s focus on us and what will surely be an over-hyped game at the Emirates which if I’m honest with you, I was a bit ‘meh’ about when it was announced. You see, I quite like going to old school grounds, taking in the traditions of the FA Cup and it’s….erm…2pm kick offs….and so quite fancied an away day weekend to a Blackburn, a Wolves, a Bristol City or something like that. So perhaps somewhat selfishly I was hoping that we’d get a tie like that instead of a home game against a team we regular play and seem to regularly play in the cup too.

Of course we’ll also have to deal with the constant replays of that Giggs goal in 99 in the run up to the match, but at least its only a few weeks away I suppose, so hopefully that can be kept to a minimum.

It’s a game in which I’m sure Unai wouldn’t have minded rotating either actually, given that we have some tricky fixtures coming up in the league. We’ve got West Ham away this weekend which will be tough, plus Chelski at home and City away; hardly games that you’d call bankers and so a tie where Unai could adopt a bit of a rotational policy would have been thoroughly enjoyable if we’d have got it. But it’s not to be and now we’ll get a clamour for tickets as all of the Southern Mancs make their way across London to watch a team from a city they’ve barely even set foot in.

Still, we should have Denis Suarez, Yannick Carrasco, plus that chap Ünder from Roma in the team by then, so at least we’ll get plenty of sight of all the new shiny signings we have snapped up in January.

Or not.

I would love us to pick up a player like Carrasco but he’ll be on big wages in China, will command a fairly sizeable fee, plus there’s sure to be a bit of a bidding war for him if he’s so easily available. The only positive would be if Gazidis is leading the competition in the shape of Milan. Hopefully our new lot would run rings around him if so.

I just can’t see it though. It feels like a big signing that will take a lot of this supposedly small kitty up, which also takes away from more pressing needs like, y’know, defenders who can defend, n’that. We have positions that need filling and wide forward is one, but Carrasco feels like a level above the shopping aisle we’ve been frequenting. Suarez doesn’t, but we’re waiting to see how hard the ball Arsenal are playing with, is.

Again though, I’d like to reiterate why so many teams basically wait until the end of January before making moves, because I thought the January transfer window was to address potential short-term needs in a squad? If that’s the case, why not get deals done early so you can get somebody in for the beginning of January? I mean it’s not as if there’s hardly any games in the month. We’ll be playing six alone including the two cup games and that’s a fair chunk of matches in which a ‘new player bounce’ might be useful. Think Arshavin when he first signed. It was a boost for the club and he made an instant impact. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone like that in already?

What do I know, eh? I’m certainly not as qualified as some of the chaos currently running the football side of the business, so I guess I just have to hope – like the rest of you – that’s they’re making the right decisions.

Perhaps the fact that the club are pleading a bit of poverty to the football journos they are close to is a bit of game-playing before a big move gets made, but we’ve rarely been a club that makes statement signings, which is why the Auba deal last January was so out of character but now entirely foreseeable given PR man Gazidis was in full swing and probably wanted that to his CV before naffing off to AC Milan.

Blimey am I glad he jumped. What a waste of a tenure that was and if his best work at Arsenal was finding his replacement it tells you all you need to know about his 10 year tenure. Good riddance.

Anyway, I’m rambling, so I should probably leave it there before I go 7.8 on the Richter scale of rantiness.

Catch you guys tomorrow.