Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Tottenham vs. Arsenal
Carling Cup Semifinal, Second Leg.
A trip to Wembley is a trip to Wembley. That's all I have to say to those who claim the Carling Cup is not worth the concern of a big club. That's nonsense, and as everyone knows, the only time a cup "doesn't matter" is when your club hasn't won it. The opportunity to take the kids to another final is here, but this is going to be the first game of the season when the odds are stacked firmly against the Gunners.
Before their second league meeting, I went against the conventional predictions of a comfortable victory for Arsenal on my other blog. Sure enough, it was a close game that took a brilliant Almunia penalty save and an incredible header from Bendtner on his first touch of the match to win it. (Please note that this is probably the only occasion on which I've predicted a result perfectly, hence the tooting of mine own horn.) Arsenal again kept their unbeaten run against the old foe alive when Theo Walcott scored the luckiest (or unluckiest, depending on your perspective) late equalizer in the first leg.
History is clearly on the side of the Gunners, who won in convincing fashion in this same fixture last year. It's also on their side in that Tottenham have consistently failed to win against Arsenal in this century. That's right. 1999. In a period spanning nine years and 21 matches in all competitions, Spurs have yet to take three points.
However, Spurs have to be massive favorites to end this drought. There's (technically) no possibility of a draw; this one will go to penalties if necessary. They're at home. They're playing very good football. Aside from the three-headed Roonaldez monster of Man U, there isn't a strike force with a better understanding than Keano the Younger and Berba. Arsenal are most likely fielding a starting lineup bereft of Cesc Machine, Mattuso, Ade 3000, van Injured, SuperTom, Arcade Fire, Ashley Who?, Sideshow Bob, and England's #1, and though that's not to say some of the aforementioned won't make a bench appearance, knowing Wenger, he'll stick with the kids for as long as possible.
That all said, I'm still going to refrain from making a prediction even though Arsenal definitely shouldn't win this match. Tottenham are the most infamous chokers in the Premiership and consistently the victims of horrible fortune (lasagna, anyone?), especially when their North London neighbors are involved. On a final note, I, for one, have never seen Arsenal lose to Spurs, and though this is an "unimportant" cup with the B squad, that won't lessen the sting if they do.