Well BackPageBanter fans, now we all know that coming back from 3-0 down in the final 11 minutes of a game is possible with this team! A barnstorming opening to the second half did much to alleviate the doom and gloom surrounding Arsenal F.C and breathed confidence back into players such as Podolski and Giroud. What’s more, there is neither an international break nor an injury to big Abou to mar the result or hinder our momentum. There is, however, a tricky tie in the FA Cup against ‘giant-slayers’ (or perhaps more aptly, ‘French-slayers’) Brighton & Hove Albion; that well-known team from the Championship! Far from underestimating our opponents, Arsenal must remember they too were at the hands of a rather embarrassing defeat (just ask Villa!) to Bradford in the Carling Cup. Having watched this Arsenal team too much over the past few seasons, I am well aware that we are capable of undoing the good work from Wednesday. So, to ease the nerves for this one, we have onboard our very own lower leagues expert to fill us in on an unknown opposition! The only hole I want Arsenal to be digging this weekend is in the sand!
Get reading Gooners!
Touchline Tom 08.26
Well Max, as our expert on the lower league teams I felt it was only right to invite you on for our clash with Brighton. I’m sure many of us Gooners will be keen to hear who their danger men will be and if they can hurt us like they did Newcastle? Arsenal themselves though will be in a buoyant mood after their 5-alive performance on Wednesday, which has breathed fresh hope into the team. With the FA Cup our only real chance of silverware – something even the most optimistic of Gooners will agree with – can you see us winning it, or will it be a case of another missed opportunity come 5 o’clock?
Taxi for Maxi 09.08
Good afternoon Nick, Tom and your loyal band of followers. What a pleasure it is to join you again. Clearly my input from the previous round means that I played a blinder, very much like Arsenal vs. the sorry Hammers. With my hometown club out of the cup, all eyes turn to the bigger names and let’s get something very clear, Brighton away will be no easy task for the boys in red. The term ‘cupset’ could very much be in circulation around North London come the weekend if Arsenal produce a lacklustre display, mirroring some of their performances already this season. You’ll need no pep talk either after succumbing to league 2 Bradford already this season!
Brighton are on a cup high once again after dispatching of Alain Pardéu’s beleaguered magpies and will smell blood in this tie for sure.The seagulls have a number of players who can sting the gunners on the day. Captain Gordon Greer will aim to Marshall the back-four, giving Olly Giroud few chances on goal. Watch out for their galloping full back Bruno, a real steal from Valencia. The Spaniard has become a fan favourite and will relish the chance to make an even bigger name for himself in this cup tie.
Going forward the Seagulls hold a wealth of talent. Big name signing Vicente is joined by the likes of Lua Lua who can produce some real magic on his day and must be looking to follow in the footsteps of £15 million man, Wilfred Zaha, to the Premier League! Ashley Barnes, Steven Dobbie and live wire Craig Mackail Smith are all proven sources for goals, so big Per and co will no doubt be kept busy. Oh and I haven’t even mentioned former England international Wayne Bridge and upcoming star winger Will Buckley. Scared yet?!
It has the makings of being a really entertaining cup tie with Brighton no doubt ready to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at a gunners side who don’t always like a fight. Because of that, and the fact anything goes in the FA cup I’m actually backing Brighton to sneak a score draw and get a chance to perform on the hallowed emirates turf. You never know, they may even be coming to the Emirates in the league next season! Stranger things have happened – Mark Hughes still in a job to name just one!
Good evening gentleman and welcome again Max, it’s always great to have you on the panel offering your in-depth knowledge of the lower leagues. As the FA cup returns this weekend Arsenal go into it with summer signing Podolski creating and scoring goals aplenty and the little pocket rocket that is Santi Cazorla finding a bit of form himself. We can’t get too carried away though, we need to build on this win and keep a good run going, a bit like we did last season in the race for 4th. We have seen the kind of football we are capable of playing, it’s just whether we can show some consistency for a change.
Onto Brighton this weekend and we can’t take them lightly after seeing off Newcastle in the previous round. We know Gus Poyet – a big fan of the Arsenal himself - gets his teams playing attacking football and as Max said have a few dangerous players of their own! We can expect an open attacking game which may suit our clinical finishing at the minute! Ironically, since shifting Walcott back to the right we have looked far more balanced. He has the pace to still come inside and link up with Giroud, but it was noticeable how many headers Giroud won the other night to ease the pressure on the back four. There is something to be said for having a player like him holding up the ball and letting those with an eye for goal a.k.a. Walcott and Podolski become involved. Giroud has had his critics, but his work rate is far better than the likes of Chamakh and Bendtner. In fact, just mentioning those names is enough to make me shudder. Plenty to be positive about and the chance to continue our run to Wembley!
Hearing Wenger just then in Arsenal’s presser and he was read a long list of players that have been linked with the club. It was almost farcical how many he had to deny interest in, so either we have kept our interest under the radar, or Wenger is a pretty good poker player!
Still, the more I watch Podolski’s goal the more I seem to forget about the transfer saga surrounding the club! 2 goalkeepers wouldn’t have stopped that piledriver, and you can see why he has the most fearsome shot in training. Now if only Twitter had a filter for anything transfer related, we may actually spend some time discussing his goal!
4-1 to the Arsenal Tom, that’s my prediction and that’s where I’ll leave you to it!
Touchline Tom 10.00
Some great thoughts there lads and Maxi, let’s just hope you are wrong with that prediction! In a week that has seen Hazards for ball boys and more giants slain than an episode of Hercules, the FA cup promises even more drama and upset. Let’s hope most of that happens in the Leeds v Spurs game though! It has been a strange season so far for many reasons, but I think the added addition of Wenger’s press conferences have really spiced up this January transfer window. Somewhat impressively, le boss has gone from saying we need to sign players early to leaving it until the last few days, claiming interest in a player (Zaha), to practically denying he has ever heard of the guy and simultaneously pointing out the weakness of our squad and its strength in the space of a week! I’m quite frankly exhausted trying to read between the lines and analyse his body language. Que sera, sera and all that. . .
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