Monday, 10 December 2012
Should we field a strong side in the cup?
2005. A sunny day in Wales. Cardiff. The Millennium Stadium. Vieira steps up and wins is the cup.
It was a shame that that kick was our great captains last wee touch at the club. But it's a dying shame that that game was our last ever trophy.
It's been too long, and although we've come close along the way, and extremely close on some occasions too. And right now we are in a great position to combat that.
The eight teams left in the Capital One Cup don't fill me with fear. We might be shit, but we're not as bad as the majority of them. Even European Champions Chelsea have a hard tie away at Leeds following their congested fixture list in the World Club Championship.
But as we enter the week of our encounter with League Two Bradford, it doesn't seem like there's much desire to win the cup at the club. Sure it's not as important as forth place, but we're capable of getting this eight year old monkey off our backs.
I do accept that we wouldn't need our first team out to guarantee a victory on Tuesday, but I'm worried that we'll end up seeing a very, very weak team.
Saturday's win over West Brom did highlight what an impact a good weeks rest can do to our tired players, but other than our midfield three, I'd have all of our squad down to play at Valley Parade.
Last year we suffered a very disappointing defeat to Man City at the Emirates in the League Cup. We were probably unlucky to lose against a very strong City side given the circumstances, but frankly we should have given more of an interest in the game.
A cup win would do wonders for our squad. It would go some way to improving the relationships between the supporters and management, and would show that this squad is going somewhere. It might even create something of a winning mentality at the club.
We simply must win at Bradford, and is anyone certain that the likes of Chamakh and Squillaci have the desire anymore to do so. They certainly should have the ability, but Bradford will be up for this game, whilst the lacklustre, lazy performances form those two plus their general disinclination at the club does make me worry.
Our squad certainly lacks depth right now, so I wouldn't blame Wenger from resting a few star players, but I'd field a team that looks like this:
Mannone Meade Vermaelen Mertesacker Jenkinson Coquelin Ramsey Rosicky Chamberlain Podolski Arshavin
I wouldn't mind other first team players like Djourou and Gervinho on the bench either, with the central defender possibly stepping into the side if someone needs a rest. The rest of the bench can be made up of youngsters such as Gnabry, Eisfeld and Akpom, who could also feature at some point.
A team like that would truly show we mean business and would definitely give us the best chance of progressing in the competition. It has great experience and talent, and would still keep our key players rested for the weekend.