I was thumbing through Perry Groves’ autobiography last night in a vain attempt to force myself to sleep despite the fact that my body was covered in a layer of lather brought on by nearly 100F temperatures, and I got to the part where Perry talks about winning the League Cup in his first season with Arsenal. I’m not suggesting that Perry Groves’ book is an especially effective somniferant, it’s a rather good read, written in his voice, and I recommend it to all Arsenal supporters. If you were a red level member last year, you got it for free as part of the complimentary 1989 tribute pack.
The point is that Perry Groves talked about how Arsenal winning that League Cup was one of the key things that sparked them on to winning more trophies under George Graham. I think that this Arsenal team are at a similar crossroads and would similarly receive a huge boost if the club were to lay hands on this oft maligned trophy. Moreover, I think this is the squad who can do it.
We all know that Wenger is recently fond of using this tournament to highlight his youth team. It wasn’t always that way, but I think this year will prove no different than recent years. If Wenger sticks to recent patterns (and doesn’t delve deeper into the youth pool) players like Ramsey, Wilshere, Traore, Gibbs, Djourou, Vela, Walcott, and Bendtner are all poised to have a break out season and I think they will do it with the League Cup. Each of those players listed has gained valuable experience, either in playing in last year’s League Cup campaign and/or successful FA Youth Cup campaign and/or playing as starters for the first team in league matches. For a lot of these kids last year’s loss to Burnley will stick in their craw and they will be targeting this cup heavily as a way to bring Arsenal glory and redeem themselves.
Funnily enough, the League Cup is only one of two honors that Wenger has yet to collect in his career, the other being the Champions League. He’s been to the finals in both of those cups and both times had them cruelly snatched from his hands at the last moment. Chelsea beat Arsenal in the League Cup in 2007, well, Howard Webb beat Arsenal in 2007 by erroneously sending off all the wrong players. And of course, Barcelona beat Arsenal the year before in the Champions League final, despite the fact that Howard Webb didn’t referee the match.
The point is that Arsenal are young, their youth team is experienced, and the League Cup could provide just the boost that this young club needs on their way to winning many many trophies down the years. That’s why I’m targeting the League Cup as one of my top 5 goals for Arsenal this year. We’ll have to see if the boss thinks the same.
Hey look, Kolo is having a physical at City today. As I said yesterday, I hope that Wenger doesn’t underestimate the supporter’s and player’s desire for signings, especially in midfield and gets out the checkbook and buys someone.
Opinion is divided as to whether Wenger is actually going to bring someone in and Arseblog wrote a teriffic piece today on why he thinks Wenger will not — he bought Vermaelen immediately, why would he wait this long to sign someone else?
That said, it looks like our midfield is super thin, I mean, Arsene brags on having 7 center backs, but if you don’t count Arshavin and if Eboue leaves, then Arsenal will have 7 midfielders — TOTAL. With Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey counted in that group. I know, I know, Arsene could play a whole bunch of other folks all over the pitch, hell, he could put Djourou in as a holding mid, or Senderos, etc, but still I have to say that even me, the starry eyed optimist, sees the official list of midfielders and thinks “harumph, that’s a bit odd isn’t it?”
Anyway, I’m sure Arsene will sort this out. If not, I hope he’s prepared for the criticism.
The final pre-season match will kick off today at 10am (PST) and I suspect we’ll see some Rosicky today and maybe Cesc as guys like Eduardo and Arshavin are given a bit of rest.
The match is available at Arsenal TV Online for those of you who are subscribers, and if you’re not a subscriber, well, your loss!
Anyway, got to take the dog to my friend’s air-conditioned house, it’s supposed to be another scorcher here today, so, see you all tomorrow!