Friday, 7 January 2011

Cup Fever & The Return Of Rambo?

Arsenal get their FA Cup campaign under way tomorrow against Leeds United at the Emirates in what's set to be an interesting game. There is no doubt Arsene Wenger will rest some of his key players against the Championship opposition but I'm sure whatever side the boss puts out will be looking to give Leeds a real run for their money.

Despite being the underdogs, it would be unwise to underestimate the Whites in this FA Cup tie. Leeds are currently sat in 5th place in the Championship, which is pretty impressive for a team that only got promoted from League One half a year ago. So it would be a good idea for Arsene to choose a team that isn't too different from what we see most weeks. I expect Nasri and van Persie will be rested, and probably Cesc too; in a match like this, with the quality of players we possess, there is no reason we shouldn't beat Leeds with whatever team the boss picks, but football games aren't won on paper and we recently saw what happened when you play a team of guys who don't get much match-time (at Wigan). Eboue will be filling in for Sagna, who starts his suspension after the clash with Zabaletta in the City game on Wednesday. Kieran Gibbs has returned to fitness so expect him to replace Clichy at left back. Other than that, I don't expect there will be any more drastic changes. Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny will probably replace Fabianski in goal, as he normally does in the Carling Cup, so it'll be another opportunity to see our potential future number 1 in action again. Up front, players like Bendtner and Rosicky will be given the job of leading the attack against Leeds, players who have more than enough in their locker to win games like these.

The exciting news ahead of tomorrows clash is the return of Aaron Ramsey. The Guardian have reported that the Welshman is set to be included in the squad and possibly make his triumphant return to the Gunner's starting eleven. The 20 year old Wales international, if he plays, will be making his first appearance for the Arsenal since that fateful day against Stoke on the 27th February 2010, where we all know what happened with a certain Ryan Shawcross. Since recovering from his broken leg, Aaron joined Nottingham Forest on a short loan deal but didn't get much playing time thanks to the ridiculous British weather we've had. Anyway, he's back where he belongs now and probably itching to prove he's still got what it takes at the top level. It'll be nice to see Ramsey run out at the Emirates in the red and white again, after such a long time out, even if the boss just gives him 10 minutes towards the end. Let's hope he can recapture the form he was in just before that nasty injury, when Aaron had forced his way into Wenger's team with some fantastic performances. Fingers crossed.

So I'll be looking to watch the Leeds game tomorrow, as luckily I don't have to work and the game is on ITV, so I should be able to watch it live. After Leeds, we have the now manager-less Ipswich to play on Wednesday night in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final, and I'll be looking to watch that too. I have officially caught cup fever.

Thanks for reading.

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