Sunday, 13 April 2014

Go and win it Arsenal - Failure is not an option

Just do us proud, that was the headline I was first going to use on this piece. But it didn't feel right. We need more than just pride, we need a victory.

I want us to crush Wigan and that is meant with no feeling of ill will towards the Latics or their fans. But they had their trophy win last season and now if we play to our best we can finally win a piece of silverware and get that money off our backs.

A huge victory is what we should expect from a Premier League team up against inferior opposition. This is the FA Cup and of course we shouldn't under estimate the competition's trophy holders, as they did eliminate Manchester City from this competition in the last round.

But these players have got themselves in a great position - a semi final at Wembley. A victory today will propel us into the final where we'll face either Hull City or Sheffield United.

I don't think I've felt this nervous going to an Arsenal game in quite a while. But we've had two bad experiences at Wembley in recent years.

First the FA Cup semi final in 2009 against Chelsea where an 84th minute goal from a certain Ivorian who loved scoring against us knocked us out of the competition. And then in the league cup final in 2011 where we all know what happened after Laurnet Koscienly and Wojciech Szczesny failed to communicate in the 89th minute.

What ever happens today I want us to be in a very strong position going into the final ten minutes. There can be no margins for error. Go and kill off the opposition. Once we score one, score another and another.

So much rests on this result for the end of season run in. Win today and we'll have the momentum to carry us forward in the league to secure a place in the top four. Lose and I don't even want to think about what might happen. Failure is not an option.

How the manager sets up today will be interesting. He's got some calls to make with the players he rated 50:50 (Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky) and also how he shapes his midfield behind Yaya Sanogo who has started up front in the previous two rounds. My guessing is that all three will start.

I suspect it will be:
Fabianski, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Rosicky, Sanogo.

Wembley hasn't been given us many happy memories recently. So lets go and make some new ones today.


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