I still can’t get over Andrey Arshavin.
He’s been on my mind all week. Why did Arséne Wenger leave him out on Saturday? We have had no explanation about this.
Is it because he thought RvP would be better on the left?
Was it because he feared the little Russian would be intimidated by the Wembley occasion?
Was it because he thought Russia coach Guus Hiddink would nullify Arshavin after working with him for years?
Was it because he wasn’t entirely fit?
Was it because third place is more of a priority for Wenger than winning the FA Cup, despite the need for trophies?
None of it makes ANY sense to me, and Tuesday’s performance further makes a mockery of Wenger’s FA Cup SF selection.
The sad fact is, no one will remember if we came third or fourth in years to come, but Ch*vski were there for the taking and we let them in.
So, regardless of the fact that we have five Premier League games left, they are, too all intents and purposes, irrelevant.
Everton can get 68 points and Villa can get 69 points, so two wins and a draw will pretty much ensure Arsenal's Champions League qualification which seemed so uncertain earlier in the season.
What REALLY matters now, of course, is getting past M*nure and then winning the final in Rome.
We have the team, even without Arshavin, but we don’t have the squad.
We all know that the absence of key defenders including the rushing back of Bacary Sagna on Tuesday when he wasn’t fit (which costs us dearly) could undo our hopes next week.
One thing is for sure: We must score at least once.
Let’s be honest – M*nure’s form and defence has not been at its best in recent weeks, but they have enough players to cause our defence all manner of problems.
So here’s a suggestion: Wenger should drop Kolo Toure and play Kyle Bartley on Sunday against Middlesbrough. Bartley has been impressive this season and showed last night how much of a prospect he could be.
Rest Sagna, rest key defensive players in midfield (and Alex Song and Denilson have become key, even if their performances continue to be sporadic, especially in the case of the Brazilian) and bring in Jack Wilshere.
We’ve drawn at Emirates before against Boro, I know – but this is probably the worst Boro side in years and one we should be able to beat with only a smattering of first-teamers on display.
The focus should all be on Wednesday night, especially with less time for the side to recover from a Sunday game that Wenger quite rightly says should be on Saturday. It seems that the fixture list continues to work against us.
So let’s hope Wenger rests as many players as he can get away with.
Let’s hope Johann Djourou recovers, because he will be key.
Let’s hope that this time next week, we’re thinking of Rome rather than lamenting another year of promise and frustration.