Anfield loss opens door to the FA Cup final
Liverpool’s hilarious loss to Reading in the FA Cup has left the door wide open for Arsenal to win their first FA Cup (and trophy) since 2005. The 2-1 extra-time loss at Anfield saw Liverpool follow Manchester United to an early FA Cup grave leaving just Chelsea and Arsenal as the only “big four” clubs still in the competition.
There are strong teams left in the competition – Aston Villa, Manchester City, Tottenham and Everton to name a few – but none (excluding Chelsea) that you wouldn’t expect us to beat and that is quite exciting.
The door is well and truly open and if Arsene Wenger can find the right way to rotate his squad while still including enough players to progress through to the latter stages then an FA Cup final this season is not out of the question. Indeed, he might even feel the opportunity that has opened is too good too pass up and consider putting out his best team to boost our chances of getting through to Wembley.
I’m interested to hear what the readers think he should do – prioritise the FA Cup or maintain the balance?
Cesc, Clichy back for Bolton
With another important game coming up at The Reebok on Sunday afternoon (why, oh why isn’t it on Saturday?) we’ve received a couple of big boosts to our squad.
Cesc Fabregas has been declared fit by the manager while Gael Clichy is also possibility to the squad. Fabregas will undoubtedly start while I do suspect from this comment from Wenger…
“I don’t want to go overboard with Gael because he has been out for a long time but he looks very, very sharp in training.”
… that he will probably be rested until Wednesday when we play the same opponents at home.
Meanwhile Denilson is likely to miss out with the strange abdominal problem he picked up against Everton while Nicklas Bendtner is still two weeks away from returning. In my humble opinion he can’t come back soon and I’m fairly sure a certain bruised and battered Russian forward would agree with me.
A signing, but not the one you’d expect
With the Sol Campbell situation going a bit cold today after yesterday’s heated madness it was good to hear another player has put pen to paper for Arsenal. Craig Eastmond, who has played a couple of games for the first-team this season at defensive-midfield, has signed a new contract extension with the club that will keep him here until 2014.
In truth that’s just a guess – if you haven’t already learnt by now they never reveal contract information at Arsenal – but it is good news nonetheless. He looked a player with real potential in his debut performance and although he hasn’t quite lived up to that in the couple of games that followed, it’s clear Wenger sees that potential in him.
Update: Make that two players. The ever-reliable Young Guns reports that 17-year-old Bolivian winger Samuel Galindo is set to sign for Arsenal after he impressed while training with the first-team squad. Wa-hey!
That’s it for today. Stay tuned for more tomorrow – or earlier if Campbell’s signing goes through.
Have your say on the FA Cup, Bolton, Campbell or Eastmond by leaving a comment.