The Football Association launched an investigation this morning after it became clear that a number of officials undertook the ‘Birdbox Challenge’ whilst matches were underway. It began with the lino at Tranmere who officiated for 90 minutes wearing his shoes, culminating in last night’s match at the Etihad where no-one understands how City didn’t get a penalty.
It’s FA Cup weekend; the third round, no less. And a more understated build-up you couldn’t wish to see. The declining relevance of the competition is front and centre once again as it is unable to command respect until we reach the final. Platini may have been on the right track when he offered a Champions League place to the winners.
Not that the awaiting Blackpool fans will worry about that. An upset is on the cards, especially if we pitch up with anything like the crap attitude we showed at Nottingham Forest last season. Yes, you’d put that in the little box in your mind marked ‘Do Not Open’; too late!
There’s nothing to read into the injury updates. Everything’s knacked, twanged or being assessed ahead. The reality is that the side won’t be much different from that which beat Fulham. We don’t have that many numbers:
We trained this morning and tomorrow we are going to do the last training before this match. Tomorrow we will know how we can be with the players [and who could feature] but [we’ll play] with respect for this competition. I want to take a team with the players being competitive. The team for Saturday is the same, maybe we can share with some players who are playing less, or some young players, but thinking above all of finding a big performance there with our players.
If only he had a dynamic transfer window action team working for him…
Life’s Like A Box Of Chocolates: It’s All A Celebration…
If the press had their way, we’d already have another goalkeeper and Sami Khedira. The German would be a makeweight in a January deal for Aaron Ramsey. Arsenal declined; our rehab centre doesn’t have enough room for another of the walking wounded.
Why not go the whole hog and line us up with a move for Diego Godin whose contract talks with Atletico stalled? We could train the defensive sense out of him, no problem. Just put him alongside Mustafi; job done.
The press wanted Unai to regale them with his favourite FA Cup tales, of how he watched agog as Alan Sunderland slid the ball home in 1979 or Willie Young hacked down Paul Allen, breaking a nation’s heart as the youngster broke through.
Reality butted in as he recounted what the FA Cup meant to him:
I know it’s very important for every English team. It’s a different competition, with a chance for a lot of teams. The first idea when I arrived here was to play for all the titles. Arsenal is in the history the best team in this competition, played 20 finals, won 13 times. This respect for our supporters and the competition I took quickly. I want to do something important and this is a big opportunity for us. It will be very difficult but we’re excited for this competition and are looking forward to starting on Saturday.
So, nothing in particular; it’s another match. Sorry, lads.
on if he watched a cup final on TV growing up…
Usually I followed every competition. I don’t remember which matches exactly but I know this competition is very important for Arsenal.
So, not a recollection of the 1953 final or memories of how he ran outside, laid outside on the garden with his arms outstretched moments after Charlie George scored. Or how he sprained his ankle whilst turning in a late winner in the Calle del Mar cup final…