I’d forgotten quite how long a ‘Microsoft Minute’ can be so was ill-prepared when the message on the screen triumphantly declared that “this will take a while”.
“A while” is how long Bill Gates would describe the time since we last won the league; it’s even further back in the mists of time since we last won the League Cup. Apropos of nothing, it will be 25 years next April. Is there any celebration planned for the team which were the first domestic cup double winners?
In two years time, it will be the same anniversary for Copenhagen; I’d certainly welcome it getting the ’89’ treatment.
Tonight sees West Ham pitch up in the League Cup quarter-final. Arsenal are well-fancied to win and to do well overall. With the bewildering array of odds and bets, the tools at www.bet-calculators.co.uk help you cut through the chaff to find the best value wagers.
The Carabao Cup isn’t going to be remembered fondly at all as sponsors go, disappearing into the ether in the same way as the Milk Marketing Board and Rumbelows. Tomorrow night sees the draw for the semi-finals. Previous rounds tell us this is better remembered as ‘The Cock-Up Cup’; I’m not sure that’s the sort of brand awareness the sponsors wanted.
Will Arsenal be in the draw? I genuinely don’t know. I suspect it has a lot to do with what side West Ham put out. Whether Moyes thinks the late finish on Saturday is too soon to risk his key players. And the damage to morale defeat could cause, especially against Arsenal’s reserves.
And it will be the reserve XI. I’d be amazed if Jack plays and if he did, Arsène would certainly be open to accusations of recklessness. Instead, it’s an opportunity for Joe Willock or Reiss Nelson in midfield if Arsène doesn’t select Ainsley Maitland-Niles; I don’t think we’ll see anything more than a cameo from Eddie Nketiah.
I Hate Microsoft Bloody Minutes
Even though it’s the reserves, there will be a healthy smattering of experience. I’d expect the line-up to be something like:
Ospina; Debuchy, Holding, Mertesacker; Chambers, Elneny, Coquelin, Maitland-Niles; Walcott, Giroud, Welbeck
Good enough to win? It depends on the XI they face. West Ham’s first XI ought to beat them. It’s one thing to struggle past Doncaster and Norwich, something else entirely when it’s a Premier League club.
Do we get upset if they lose? No; it’s not an XI which is going to feature in the Premier League nor, if we’re honest, are many of them going to trouble Arsène for selection on a weekly basis. Rob Holding and Maitland-Niles will, so too I hope, Calum Chambers.
Chambers has his critics but having been thrown under the proverbial bus by Wenger previously, has performed well for England and Middlesbrough. Now he steps up to prove he can do the same at Arsenal.
Versatility was his downfall but it seems the manager is keeping him on the right. While he sees himself as a centre-back, he’s in a learning curve as is Holding. Both are finding their way back from confidence-sapping moments at Arsenal and a lot of that comes down to poor squad management.
The 4 – 3 defeat to Liverpool was a watershed moment for Chambers, Holding similarly dropped after Wenger cocked up at Anfield. Tribulations suffered by defenders is a common theme at the moment and it’s clear that the centre of the back four remains Wenger’s Achilles heel.
Thanks for Nothing Gates, You Git
Tonight is a good way to step back into the limelight. A strong run to the semi-finals – let’s be honest, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United will rip our second XI to shreds – is as good as we’d expect from this competition. Despite his protestations to the contrary, we know Arsène would prefer to win the Emirates Cup pre-season than this.
There’s not much more to add beyond hoping you find a better than ropey stream to watch it on.
A new post will surface on Dad’s Jukebox during the afternoon; a trip back to 2011 in Times of our Lives.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.