I just want to take a moment to savour another’s misfortune. Jose handled defeat with all the good grace he could muster – which was none – blaming luck, not his own team selection. If only he had picked his best players…
Bravo to the Bristol City players for bringing joy to the world. Has anyone checked on Duncan Castles?
We landed Chelsea in the semi-final which isn’t the fearsome draw it once was. Unless Arsène persists with the second string XI; then you have every right to be scareder than the scarediest cat in Scaresville. The first leg will end badly if he persists with that selection, ending the tie itself.
We face Chelsea three times in three weeks; all January needs is the FA Cup fourth round draw to throw both teams together. Playing the same opponent so frequently isn’t much fun unless you win the league match and semi-final. Not too much to ask for, is it?
The first leg comes after the FA Cup third round, so there’s no reason why we can’t see a strong line-up at Stamford Bridge. Arsène will field the second string at Forest, rotating the squad to minimise the risk of injuries. Olivier Giroud proved it’s a theory which does always work.
Arsène willingly warmed to that theme earlier this week,
“[Christmas] is very demanding, especially because we already have a tough schedule behind us. We have to sit down and analyse very well what we can do. What is very worrying in my job is when you start to lose players, like Giroud tonight. After, you cannot afford to lose another one. I have to look how I can manage the schedule.”
Only Chelsea have a gentler schedule over the festive period. We’ve got 12 days between the first and last of our festive games; others have eight.
It doesn’t negate his point but looking at the line-ups fielded in the League Cup and Europa League, you can’t help but feel Arsène isn’t talking any sense. The first XI and the cup XI enjoy plenty of rest. Few, if any, players featured midweek and then on the following Saturday if they were different competitions so if injuries occur, it’s not down to tiredness or over-playing, it’s something else entirely.
We play on the 23rd, then 28th, 31st and 3rd but the point is that this is nothing new. We know it is coming but to be talking the way Arsène is rings of setting up the excuses before a bad performance. Giroud’s injury means some players such as Theo Walcott, will get an unexpected chance during the Christmas period.
Alexandre Lacazette will find himself hooked most games and also rested. With Giroud out, Alexis is the obvious replacement to lead the line although Danny Welbeck may do so as well. Walcott will come in for one of the attackers at some point.
We have the numbers, it’s whether or not the quality is there. Or whether Arsenal over-rule Wenger and sell Alexis. A City bid is deemed likely in January and the Arsenal board has never knowingly refused cash before.
You Stupid Bastidges
Not as rapaciously as the Football Association. Their decision to sue Wembley FC over trademark issues underlines why the FA are utterly unfit to run the English game. Had there been any wits about those in charge of the governing body, a simple solution was for the FA to PAY for a redesign of the club badge and kit. Would that have dented their P&L? No, and it would have shown leadership for the game, providing a solution.
The FA couldn’t do that; they had to take legal action and justify it on commercial grounds. The FA doesn’t have that luxury when it comes to dealing with clubs; there are no commercial grounds and in this instance, the FA should be held in contempt. It is an utter travesty and a dereliction of duty as the game’s guardians. Their responsibility is to the players, fans and officials in the clubs at all levels and no a white elephant stadium that isn’t worth the money they paid to badly design and construct.
As the Wembley chairman observed, football supporters can be thick but not even they are so thick that they think the national stadium is a couple of rickety terraces and a wooden stand.
It seems those running the game are thicker than the fans they like to treat like dirt.
Finally, a nod of respect to Tomas Rosicky. Announcing his retirement yesterday ended droughts around the globe with all the tears shed. A fine player, one we saw too little of and one whose abilities, like Santi Cazorla, remind us what we are missing right now. So long and thanks for all the goals against Tottenham.