I know a lot of us gooners will still be in cloud 6 (most people left cloud 9 the next day); blown away by our win against arguably the best team in the history of the game. We did not just get a scrappy win, we won after going a goal down with all odds against us. We played the game of our lives and delivered a 2-1 win only a few will begrudge of us. But that’s where it all ends, we have a tougher second leg game in 3 weeks and an equally important game tomorrow.
We visit Leyton Orient tomorrow in the 5th round of the F.A Cup and we’ll definitely be in the highest of spirits following Wednesday’s game. But if we think this is going to be one easy ride into the next round, then we are in for a shocker. Leyton have won their last three games, scoring 10 goals in the process, and undefeated in 11 in all competitions. They have not lost since Brighton’s 5-0 hammering at the Withdean on New Years’ Day and are looking for a 15th home game without loss, having not suffered defeat at Brisbane Road since September.
They are really brimming with confidence and will definitely fancy their chances against an inevitably over-confident Arsenal side. How we manage this is what determines what we leave the game with.
An intriguing part of this tie is what Arsenal team lines up. Will we see most of our regulars rested for the League game against Stoke in midweek? Or will Arsene stick to his words, and give it a go on all four fronts? Personally, I feel Szczesny, Van Persie, and Wilshere should get some rest. Nasri just got back from injury, so this game might just help with his recovery process. Djourou is suffering with a back problem and should not be rushed; Sagna is back from suspension but Walcott has a hamstring problem.We definitely need Cesc to “keep us ticking” and Song to give us some grit, Almunia can return in goal for this one, just to make sure he’s not bored at the club.
Whatever team we line up, they must have it at the back of their minds that we are just 3 games away from another final. Let’s get past them and see what kind of draw we get. My bet is something reminiscent of our Carling Cup run.
Meanwhile, our move for Southampton teenage sensation, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may just have been resuscitated with news that our young goalkeeper just signed for The Saints on loan for a month. It does not add up for us to give out a player on loan to a club that recently denied us the services of one of their players. The only sense I can make out of this is that new events have emerged, and the Shea loan is just a way of solidifying the “friendship” between both clubs. This means we may be getting our man after all. I hope he’s as good as the hype surrounding him.
So we escape the media ballyhoo for a few days and unless we beat them by a very wide margin, we might not make headlines on Monday. This is good for the boys as I think it will make them get away from all the Barcelona hype.
It should be an extremely tough encounter, like the Ipswich one but do not bet against us making the front pages of all papers in England come Monday morning, and for the positive reasons too. We are on a good run, a quarterfinal slot is at stake.Let’s grab this with both hands.
Have fun and enjoy the game wherever you are.
P.S: In a few hours, I’ll be playing competitive soccer with my mates in the school League, so please wish me luck!
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