By Avenell Dave
One thing that struck me ahead of the Barcelona game on Wednesday was how weak our bench was compared to the first team.
Denilson, Sebastien Squillaci, Manuel Almunia and Tomas Rosicky are all not good enough in my opinion – and neither is Abou Diaby.
But with the exception of the suspended Diaby, I expect all of the above will start on Sunday and they should be good enough to help us beat a Leyton Orient side who are having one of their best seasons for years.
It’s interesting to note that we have lost three times in the past to Orient in the FA Cup and with the games continuing to come thick and fast, there is no room for complacency.
And complacency is our biggest challenge.
Anyone who has been to Orient knows that it’s a small, old ground with a less than perfect pitch and we need to be totally professional in the way we approach the game.
The Os will be aggressive and rely on set plays and direct football to expose us and Squillaci has a tendency to be caught out at corners and free kicks, so we have to be on our guard.
A week later we have the Carling Cup final, which seems to have been a pivotal competition for us this year, giving us momentum and belief.
I really think it could have the same impact on this team that the 1987 win against Liverpool did on George Graham’s you charges.
But we will need to ensure the fixture build-up doesn’t get worse by letting this game slip to a replay – and that’s why, despite what happened against Leeds, I would play Samir Nasri again, at least for 60 minutes.
Cesc Fabregas needs a break and we need some creative inspiration – which just won’t come from Rosicky if the rest of this season is anything to go by.
Of course Sunday should be a straightforward win for us, but as York, Wrexham and others can testify, the ‘magic’ of the FA Cup is because of the unlikely wins they’ve enjoyed against us in years gone by.
Eboue Squillaci Koscielny Gibbs
Rosicky Denilson Nasri
Bendtner Chamakh Arshavin
Who do you think should start at Orient? Let us know below....