Arsène’s Trophy Hunt & Leeds Preview

Leeds United arrive at The Emirates for the FA Cup Third Round tie, the spoils for the victors being a home tie against Aston Villa at the end of this month. Seeing the draw for the fourth round before this match is nothing new but surely I am not the only one who remembers the rush from huddling round a transistor to listen to Sports Report on Radio 2, live from Soho Square on the Monday lunchtime after each of the rounds was completed?

This evening sees the return of one Thierry Henry, surely starting from the bench given the oft-stated lack of match fitness. That has not got in the way of the rumours that Arsenal will look to sign him permanently if this loan works well. These stories accompanied Beckham when he was in Milan and came to nought; as such, they should be treated the same for Henry and Arsenal – I just cannot see it happening. From the media reports, you could be forgiven for believing that he is taking on Leeds United single-handedly but there will be others donning the red and white shirt this evening.

For the short-term health of some careers and the long-term good of the club, it is vital that they relish this opportunity to appear in the first team. Who knows, for some it might be the stepping stone into the manager’s thinking for a starting place more often. That is taking a big leap; let’s make sure that they exist first and that we have not been subjected to some sort of halucinogenic drug experiment.

Up front it would be no surprise to see Chamakh accompanied by Park and Oxlade-Chamberlain. There is a case for Arshavin’s inclusion but that would most likely come at the expense of Park and to be honest, if the Korean cannot get into a makeshift FA Cup side, Arsenal would be better served by selling him now. I do not think that is going to be the case and with Gervinho now on international duty, Arshavin is most likely to get a run in the Premier League starting line-up.

Defensively Wenger has few options but a back four of Coquelin, Squillaci, Koscielny and Miquel in front of Almunia would be of no surprise. Yennaris on the right is another option and at some point the youngsters have to come into the full back positions. To do so though puts pressure on the midfield. Frimpong’s loan to Wolves means that Song and Coquelin are the only dedicated defensive midfielders with the youngster’s inexperience in that position probably ruling out the main holding role at this moment in time.

He will no doubt have experience alongside him with Rosicky and Benayoun completing the trio. It is a strong line-up but one that needs to operate at the highest of its abilities to prevail comfortably. Whilst a replay is historically most likely, we could do without it and getting the necessary win tonight is the priority.

Unless of course you are taking on the wider perspective. Arsène has once more offered the opinion that whilst a cup is a nice to have, the must have accessory is a top four finish. Constantly we are told that qualifying for Europe’s premier tournament is not a financial necessity, Arsenal’s business model dictates that a continued absence from the Champions League will be detrimental.

With more clubs becoming challengers for the top four spots, the past decade or so of continued participation is going to be harder to continue. It is for this reason that Wenger is focussing on the Premier League campaign,

The basis of our life at the top level is dictated by the championship. If we can add on top of that the FA Cup it is fantastic. 

Everybody is entitled to view it differently but you can’t compare winning the Carling Cup to every year qualifying for the Champions League

There will undoubtedly be those who hang the manager for the words but they are the truth of the Premier League era. And with the growing power of clubs through the ECA, the game is going to become more focussed on European competition. For many years, the threat of a European Super League has been raised when the clubs do not get their own way. With the weakness of Fifa, that spectre is taking on a more solid form.

Anyway, that is a thought for another day. The last thing today is to welcome a sister blog to A Cultured Left Foot. Arsenal On This Day is going to trawl through newspaper archives and bring to life the club’s (in)glorious past.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

423 thoughts on “Arsène’s Trophy Hunt & Leeds Preview

  1. Jonny says:

    Never heard too much of him – will have to take your word for it.

    Well good night all. Sleep with a smile.

  2. FunGunner says:

    @ BB
    Not having a go, btw, just think it’s important to be realise how these things work.

    Going back to Henry, this is could well be the high point of his stay, but as you say he’s probably already more than justified his signing.
    Bonne nuit, mes braves. Le roi vit encore. Vive le roi!

  3. Tennessee Arsenal says:

    Just watched the recorded match…

    Henry was the reason I became an Arsenal fan. I know this reveals me as a newcomer–I’m from Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, for crying out loud, so cut me some slack. And I know this doesn’t solve all our problems…

    But that was so nice to see.

  4. Irishgray says:

    I have the game recorded but have yet to watch it as I just walked in the door after a long, long day. Though I am tempted to watch it now I think I will save it for tomorrow night 🙂 I would just like to say, as an Irishman, all is forgiven Thierry and forgotten. Fucking LEGEND!!! We shall all be sleeping well tonight I imagine. COYG!!!

  5. Thierry the bandaid Henry says:

    I cannot understand why the headlines should be about Henry. This is like having a broken leg and talking about a scratch on a hand. Another con-job by Clousseau Wenger. Arshavin, Chamakh and others would not even get into the Leeds United side. They are clowns. Where is Diaby? Another clown. AW needs to get rid of alot of so called players who make me feel like I am watching third division football. Although to be fair to the third division players they have more pride and show more effort than this lot.

    What a great idea from Clousseau to take of OC and put on the one trick pony Walcott!!!

    Vela, Lansbury, Campbell, Miyachi, should all be in. And the clowns and imposters like Diaby, Arshavin, Benayoun, Rosciky, Park, Chamakh and Walcott all to piss off once and for all.

    There are so many players around the world whose big toe is better than this lot. Players from the Championship, Germany, Holland, Spain, Italy, South America who would be 1,000 times better than the clowns. How can AW be a good coach when he turns a blind eye to this?

    Of course I admit that the First Eleven is quite formidable. Great. But when have we ever seen the first eleven consistently?

    Love Pantilimon. (SZX too young)
    Sagna Per, TV, (Koz) Santos
    Vela Coquelin Song Jack

    And some good buys over January and yes we have a team.

    Fix your broken bone you buffoon of a coach and do not sell us bandaid solutions. Does Clousseau really take Arsenal fans for mugs? I think he takes the board for mugs otherwise why wuold they pay him more money than the players actually playing. Why would I stay if AW hesitated in giving me wages when he is on 6 million a year? The great con continues. By the way the great buys, eg, TH12, Pires, Bergkamp, Viera etc were all flukes. If they were not flukey or lucky signings then how do you explain Chamakh, Sivestre, Stepanovs, Squillaci, Gibbs, Fabianski,Diaby, Arshavin, Reyes, Diarra, Bendtner, Hleb, Cygan and on and on.

    Admit you are a lucky fool and go and buy some players.

    Anyone can coach this side; just play moving triangles on the ground and swarm in attack and defence.

    Also, if AW is to be congratulated for being frugal and prudent then he shoud be a director or CFO of the club not the manager. There is a big difference on how to run a club and how to be a winning club!!!

  6. James T says:

    Ya ya, I agree with Thierry @ 4:22

    Good that Henry scored but the first-choice midfield played. And it was Leeds after all.

    Swansea should be the real litmus team.

    Waiting for YW comments on the match.

  7. john says:

    YW has been against the resigning of Henry since it was first rumoured.Lots of egg on his face last night

    What Henry brings to the club is a football brain.He has lost his pace but the first touch and the finish were the touches of a master.You either have it or you dont

    And the lift he gives the club.His post match interview about knowning now what its like to score a goal as a fan sums up the man.

    Get him on the coaching staff next season.The king is back

  8. poodle says:

    @Thierry the bandaid Henry

    clowns i say !!! cloooooowns! we are all clowns!! waaaah! everbody is a clown! ficking asshole clowns! it is so horrible to be an arsenal fan with all these clowns. and me who has clownofobia and everything. aaah clowns.


    Help me Thierry the bandaid Henry help me, get rid of all the clowns for me lol lol lol
    clown :p

    ps can poodles be clowns? I know they cannto be muppets thats for sure!

  9. goonerandy says:

    Well, what an evening.

    Truely majestic from Henry. Chamakh actually had a decent game, but would not have scored if he had played for 10 hours. The difference could not be more marked.

    AA had his best game for a long whilse and looked dangerous all night. AOC also looked very good; he should definaetly be an option from the bench, and if that is at the expence of Rosicky or Benayoun so be it. He offers a goalscoring threat they don’t.

    Our midfield was very good last night. Song with a great assist, Arteta had a an impressive game, and Ramsey pulled the strings. Ramsey always has a couple of moment in every game where he tries to do to much or gives possesion away really sloppily, but his game is coming on and he is increasingly influential.

    The back 4 all had decent games, although Leeds did fashion a couple of very good chances from very little posession. All in all we played well but did not create too many clear cut chances. Having more than one player who can produce the goods when we really need it was highlighted in a ruthless fashion last night. We saw the team without RvP, and whilst good did not really look like scoring. Until Henry came on anyway.

  10. SA Gooner says:

    Are we goal shy?

    It takes an amazing night that few thought they would ever see again to underscore what our current problem seems to be.

    TH 12 had 25 mins to bring us back to where a football team should be……scoring goals. What were the chances of a 34 year old doing that in the time available? Not a hell of a lot I suspect, he is now on 1 goal per 25 mins played (excluding all the rest).

    I argue that Chamakh does not get the time to score, but how can Henry come and just do it? We must be creating the chances otherwise it is just too spooky, so what did we do with those chances and why can’t we take them?

    Blast them over the bar is what we did and I suggest that we need some head shrinks is the conclusion.

  11. goonerandy says:

    We have the posession, of that there is no doubt. But as much as the final pass get classed as “creating the chance”, it is the movement off the ball which is often the pivitol moment. Henry is excellent in this respect and getting into the space and making runs in between the gaps. As is RvP to be fair. That is why they score so many goals.

  12. goonerandy says:

    Get him on the coaching staff next season.The king is back

    I agree with this. He is the type of person we want around the club. You can see how much it means to him, and that would undoubtably rub off on other players.

  13. OneOfUs says:

    Bloody hell, it was a cup game. Leeds came to get a replay – until we scored they barely got out of their half. Supposedly stronger Arsenal teams have laboured for results against far weaker sides than Leeds in this competition.

  14. mj_gunner says:

    Don’t bother Big Al, people are just messing around..

  15. ZimPaul says:

    Life is so interesting sometimes, hey? The most elegant striker ever to play in England, in my time anyway, and the most lethal. Robin is a close second. For those making village idiot comments, especially about Chamakh, try to think what might Henry himself think and say. He might say, you know Marouane, when I had a serious dip in form during period X or Y (you better believe even the best in the world also had his nightmares), I would continue working hard, believing and listening to Wenger who gave me the chance to succeed. You can too, good luck.

    And good luck to our 5 lads at the ACN, 3Gs and one Chamakh!!!

  16. goonerandy says:

    Superb spot by Song to see Henry’s run as well.

  17. LimparAssist says:

    They say Arsenal ticket prices are high, but then you get to watch Mikel Arteta play. Amazing footballer.

  18. finsbury says:

    Song had a couple of warm up passes, trying to set up TH12.
    What an option to have on he bench against teams that play the old 9-1/10-0 formation.

    I always thought something was up with that decision by young Pep to not play Henry in that second leg against the massed ranks of Maureen’s Inter (Chivu in ‘midifield’? Help!). I don’t really care what the reasons were but I like to think he fell out with the Barcaholes following his partisan comments after the first leg of of that years tie against Barcelona.

  19. mattgoonerknight says:

    Really obvious questions I’m sure, but why is Gervinho referred to as 3Gs?

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