With the draw for the Carling Cup semi-finals being made last night I was quite happy to read that Arsenal drew Ipswich Town. It's not because I think that they're the easiest draw, although as they are the only team from outside the Premier League that would seem to be the case. The other semi-final is between Birmingham City and West Ham as all four home teams advanced from the quarter finals.
The reason I want Arsenal to play Ipswich Town in the Carling Cup semi-final is because of the 1978 FA Cup final. When Arsenal played Ipswich in that FA Cup final they had not won a trophy in seven years, and they were overwhelming favourites to win that trophy. I watched that game on TV, as a 12 year old Arsenal fanatic, and it broke my little heart to see Arsenal lose that game.
Thankfully Arsenal came back the next year and beat "Manure" in the same competition to claim their first trophy in eight years. In true Arsenal fashion they blew a 2-0 lead just before the end of the game, and then scored a winner with almost the last kick. That was a great day for me thankfully, and it was the first time that I have any proper memories of Arsenal winning a trophy.
In that 1978 final Arsenal were very disappointing, and to be honest Ipswich deserved to win. It would probably have been better if Arsenal had played Ipswich in the Carling Cup final this season to exact full revenge, but the thought of them losing a final to a Championship team managed by Roy Keane would be even harder to take for me. The away leg of the tie will be played on January 11th or 12th, with the home leg on January 25th or 26th.
I tried to check out the fixtures page on Arsenal.com to see what other games Arsenal have in January, but the club seem to have made a mess of it at the moment. The FA Cup game against Leeds United and the two games against Ipswich are all missing from the fixtures, but curiously a possible FA Cup third round replay is penciled in. It's a little disappointing from an award winning web site, but nobody's perfect.
With Fulham to come on Saturday, the early injury news is that there are no players to return to the Arsenal squad, but it doesn't look like any more players will be missing either. There is a slight doubt over Samir Nasri, but manager Arsene Wenger says that he expects him to play. He also said that he's not sure if Robin Van Persie will be ready to play from the start or not. Despite playing 73 minutes in the Carling Cup victory over Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night, the boss thinks that RVP is still quite not up to the rigours of a Premier League start.
I would love to see RVP play in the same team as Marouane Chamakh, just to see if they can play together or not. With a must win home game against Partizan Belgrade in the Champions League on Wednesday night, the boss is sure to want as strong a team as possible ready to play. However, first of all the three points must be secured on Saturday, and then he can worry about qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League. I'm pretty confident that Arsenal will win both of those games, and set themselves up nicely for the following game against "Manure".
That's it for today.
See You Tomorrow.