I’m trying to work out this morning how hard to go in on the schadenfreude with the scum after they crashed out of the FA Cup on penalties to Norwich last night. I mean on the one hand I want to get stuck in two footed and laugh my t*ts off, but then I think about the footballing gods and how they may just save up their karma for us in the next round, because it’s a tough game away to Sheffield United at Brammall Lane that awaits us in the sixth round. In times gone by then you’d have a very real expectation of an FA Cup semi final that could be on the cards, but they’ve already beaten us once at their ground this season and let’s not forget that we only got a draw against them at the Emirates. Even if that was also partially down to Mike Dean not awarding us a stonewall penalty at the Emirates and, come to think of it, he was the ref that ignored a clear shirt pull at Brammall Lane earlier this season, so if he’s the designated match official for the FA Cup game up there then we should all be worried.
But nevertheless this is a game in which you have to say we should fancy our chances of at least being in with a shout. If we’d have got United (who I fully expect to beat Derby), City or Chelski away – given our appalling records at each ground – I’d have been less excited, but the fact that we’ve got Sheffield United gives me more hopes of another opportunity at Wembley to see the lads in a cup semi.
It’s funny how all of a sudden the fixture list looks a bit busier too, isn’t it? I mean we’ve got the rearranged game away to City next week, plus the FA Cup quarter final means we’ll have an away game to Southampton that has to be pencilled in. At a time in which there is basically zero wiggle room for this Arsenal team, it’s funny how suddenly the need to juggle two competitions is going to leave Arteta with a few headaches. I suspect he’ll need to lean on some of the kids a little more too as we navigate through the remainder of this season. There will be plenty of players who will start to flit between the red zone and….whatever is outside of the red zone…green? Amber? You never hear about what other ‘zones’ there are, do you?
Anyhoo, before I start getting too excited about the FA Cup there’s a fair few games before that though and one coming up this weekend against West Ham that we have to contend with. I’m going to be round my brother’s for that match and he’s a West Ham fan so it’ll be a tense atmosphere in the afternoon on Saturday, but hopefully we’ll get something from the game (a three point shaped something I mean, I don’t want another ‘D’ added to that massive list!) and I can be the happier of the two brothers.
I’m not sure whether Tricky Micky will deliver his presser today or tomorrow but either way, what I’m hoping he can talk about before the game is Bukayo Saika, because I’ve seen a couple of speculative things on social media suggesting he’s signed a new deal. As always it could be those attention-seekers craving a bit of #socialmediaengagement for their timelines but if it does turn out to be true, at least that’s one weight off the shoulders if it is. He’s a player who has lit up the place since he broke through earlier in the season and a lot of the good stuff we’ve seen in recent week’s has come from him on that left hand side, so if we have him tied down, then we really can look towards an exciting future for the youngster in an Arsenal shirt.
But until we get that confirmation I will be wary of going too effusive. We’ve had too many players in the Emirates era who have disappeared off as a result of contractual cock-ups from the club for me to be too blasé about this one being “a done deal”.
And that’s pretty much all I can see floating around at the moment, until you get into the dregs of NewsNow and see some of the tittle tattle that some websites are cobbling together. I don’t want to go anywhere near any of that nonsense if i’m honest.
Righto, catch you laters, alligators.