by Tony Attwood
Indeed it seems like only last May that I had the honour to watch my second successive cup final at Wembley. Ever since then it has struck me just how different that occasion was from the 2014 edition.
And it wasn’t that Villa were worse than Hull it was that we were sooooooo much better.
[Note from publisher – will everyone stop writing the letter o a dozen times whenever it occurs at the start or finish of a word]
Note from author: what like Ooooooooooooooooospina who isn’t actually leaving us after all?]
And that is the issue with yesterday. It wasn’t that we won – although that was great. It wasn’t that we won in style, although that was great too. It was the quality of the youngsters who joined in.
I can still remember the league cup game in September 2008 in which our kiddies thumped Sheffield Utd 6-0 and raving over the quality of our youth side. The team on that day was
Fabianski, Hoyte, Djourou, Song (Lansbury 70), Gibbs, Randall, Ramsey, Merida (Coquelin 71), Wilshere, Bendtner (Simpson 71), Vela.
Subs Not Used: Mannone, Emmanuel-Thomas, Ogogo, Frimpong.
And yes some fell by the wayside, but Fabianski, Song, Gibbs, Ramsey, Coquelin, Wilshere, Vela all went on to make contributions at different levels but of some significance. (And Bendtner did play a lot of games for us).
Strip that down to the players still with us still making an impact: Gibbs, Ramsey, Coquelin, Wilshere. Four players who played in that famous match.
So what are the chances for Martinez, Iwobi, Hayden, Reine-Adelaide, Akpom? Rather high I think. And the credibility level of Lord Harris? Well, I am sure he is a good director, but I suspect he wasn’t completely on message with his £200m in the bank story. Still Mr W was on hanee to put him straight.
And as the BBC put it,
If this performance, albeit against a rusty Lyon side, is an indicator of their potential in front of goal this season then Wenger may well elect to leave the money in the bank.
So, as is the nature of the Ems Cup, we move on quickly, which is what I must do for my first visit to the stadium of the season. Blacksheep has done something to his arm and can’t drive, so stayed in town overnight, thus the old routine is slightly amended but I shall still carry on the old tradition of boring my travelling companions stupid on the journey from Northampton to Finchley Central with details of what turns up in this years’ Arsenal Independent Supporters Assn annual history booklet. It’s out shortly, more details anon.
The subs yesterday give us a clue as to the nature of the line up so here’s a guess…
Bellerin, Koscielny, Chambers, Monreal,
Walcott, Akpom, Gnabry
I know that looks odd, and of course reveals that I have no idea what is going on, but in essence shows the problem of avoiding starting anyone two games running. If Wilshere has recovered from his cold, then obviously he’ll play, if Flamini has recovered from his knock he could get a game. I am not sure what is happening to Gnabry – but if he is fit and back to his form of two years ago it would be great to see him again.
Toral, Zelalem, Crowley, and Willock all got a look in on the Singapore outing, but are they ready to start? Basically I don’t know. Surely we can’t have even more youngsters ready to embrace the team.
And what of Zelalem – has he really been relegated back to the lower levels after all the hope and expectations? One more brilliant player who never quite made it, or just biding his time?
Anyway, we’ll know shortly, but for now let us celebrate what we have found. Wenger gave a lot of praise to Jeff Rene-Adelaide and Alex Iwobi, with mentions to Akpom and Hayden. I’m 100% in agreement on that.
I’m in block 113 for this game – if you’re there do come and say hello. (I’m the one on the home page without the beard (the handsome guy is Walter).
Coming up shortly: An Untold Exclusive on the simple mechanism that match fixing referees use to throw matches.