The pre-game ramble: Arsenal
As I live and breathe. It’s only a pre-game ramble against Arsenal Football Club. This is what it must be like to support a big club. Like Wigan.
Things haven’t been going too well just lately, so for many, a trip down to the Emirates makes for a welcome distraction. The biggest problem we have however is that we could really do without distractions at the moment. Being dreadfully low on confidence, we can’t really afford a spanking.
But what’s a team second bottom of League One to expect when they play one of the form sides in the Premier League? It’s always going to be tough work, but can we pull one out of the bag again?
How are they getting on?
What. don’t you know?
In all seriousness, they’re doing bloody well. Their defence has been miserly in the opening month of the Premier League, so much so that Keiren Gibbs and Per Mertesacker have pride of place in my fantasy football team. Hello boys.
But I digress; they’re not going to be playing. There was a bit of a rumour that all clubs need to include a minimum number of first teamers for these league cup matches, but after a bit of digging it would seem that only the Football League are enforcing that rule this season.
So, you can disregard the previous form a smidge. Don’t get too excited though – this will be a different Arsenal, albeit a just-as-bloody-classy one.
Who could cause us trouble?
The tricky thing about comparing to our bread and butter is that the level is worlds apart throughout the entire club. Most seasons the big teams manage to get deep into the competition using only their youth team. That’s how strong they are.
It’s well known that Arsenal are desperate for a trophy, so losing to us isn’t really on the agenda. Wenger’s going to pick some youngsters, but they’re still going to play with the requisite swagger, in the same way that if we played our youth team, they’d probably play like dipsticks.
Of the Gunners’ youth, Craig Eastmond is one name some of you will recognise, given his appearances in a few different cup games over the last year or two. He sits and just fits in midfield, looking wonderfully happy in all he does.
You’ll see in most of the papers the story of Nico Yennaris who was a mascot the last time Arsenal and Coventry met, and he’s probably going to play some part in midfield. Don’t let this mask the potential experience that will also be on the pitch though.
Andrey Arshavin, Theo Walcott and Andre Santos are all likely to find their way into the team, and most notably, dishy French piece Olivier Giroud might get a start – he’ll be desperate for a goal to give his season a jolly good kick up the arse.
So to sum up - Arsenal are good.
Sky Blues team news
Our squad is positively giant, and yet somehow by the end of Saturday’s game our midfield options were Arsenal loanee Conor Henderson and young gun Billy “the Kid” Daniels (congratulations to me for making up that name this second). Henderson’s not available for a game against his parent club, so this potentially leaves us in a pickle seeing as Jennings came off with an injury at the weekend himself.
However, loan midfielder James Bailey, our most recent addition, is available to fill this gap if required.
David McGoldrick’s cup-tied so unable to lead the line, meaning Cody McDonald may final get a reprise in his place. Mind you, with an entire week analysing the team in training, Robins will probably have his own ideas. Do expect an interesting change or two.
Reece Brown still scares some fans rigid, but the new boss seemed pretty keen on his performance at the weekend, so he’ll keep his place. Let’s face it, Sir Alex will see little point in him being with us if he’s not going to play, so where he can, he will.
We’re nowhere near them if we both play to our best. It would be lovely if we could go there and do what we did to Man Utd back in 2007, but back on this planet, logic suggests that’s simply not going to happen.
But a bit of life and bite, plus the backing of about a billion of the Sky Blue Army will hopefully push them to perform to their max. We’re all making the effort to turn up midweek to this wonderfully attractive stadium in London – it’s the least they could do.
My brain says 3-1 to Arsenal. My heart says 3-1 to Arsenal.