Leeds – FA Cup 3rd round preview

Once again apologies for a recent lack of posts since the start of December. This is due in part to a wi-fi connection that is on the fritz and also because I have been trying to make some serious headway on my MA dissertation whilst on my winter holidays from work. So, please bear with me for a little while longer as my dissertation is due in March.


Looking at today’s game it is certain that we will see a raft of changes as we see players rested and protected following a tough festive period fixture schedule and also because we have umpteen players that have recently returned from injury. The manager has also said that there will be plenty of changes.


In defence, we should see Szczesny get another chance to impress in goal. Eboue will deputise for the suspended Sagna, Squillaci should step in for Djourou and will likely be partnered by Koscielny with Gibbs starting at left back following his return to fitness.


Midfield is a much harder one to call. I think that both Denilson and Rosicky will start in the middle and perhaps they will be joined by Ramsey who is now back at the club following his loan spell and is in desperate need of some playing time. Ahead of that trio we may see Vela and Arshavin with Bendtner leading the line.


Although the word is that Vela will play, it seems strange to risk his fitness given that the club have openly said that they want him to go out on loan. Vela is a strange one, on the one hand he needs playing time and experience but on the other hand you have to think about how long we can keep sending a player out on loan to get experience before we call a spade a spade and cut our losses on him. He isn’t a kid anymore and either he is good enough to make it with us or he isn’t. You get the feeling that if he was good enough, he’d have played more for us by this stage of his career. Personally, I don’t think he is good enough to ever break into our starting eleven. If the club cuts him loose, it would free up a place in the team for someone like Eden Hazard to be signed in the summer.


According to Young Guns Blog, our young Spanish defender Ignasi Miguel is set to be named on the bench and will wear number 48. Speaking of Young Guns blog, head on over to the App Store and download its brand new and totally FREE app for your iPhone or iPod. It’s the perfect complement to the Arseblog and official Arsenal apps.


This is the first time that I have felt that the Carling Cup is more important than the FA Cup. I know that we have been in the final of the Carling Cup before, but I think that this season more than any other we need to bring home a trophy and the Carling Cup is, by a long way, our best chance of doing that this season. That said, I still hope for a good run in the FA Cup.


Like yourselves, I have been wondering whether or not the club will sign anyone in this transfer window, but I am bracing myself for no players coming in this month. There will probably be a few that go out on loan, Vela and JET spring to mind. The manager himself has said that any signings will depend on the fitness of Vermaelen. I can’t help but feel that the Belgian will be out until March at the earliest and that we should bite the bullet and sign a decent defender sooner rather than later. Even if Vermaelen does recover sooner rather than later, we need to bring in someone that is better than Squillaci and Koscielny. Don’t forget we have already ‘signed’ someone as Ramsey has returned to bolster our midfield options, or at least I am sure that that’s how it will be spun!


Right, that’ll do for today. Here’s to a good performance and a win against Leeds. Fingers crossed it won’t end in a draw.


Take it easy.


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