It’s Spurs for the Semi…and for Diarra as well

Christmas shopping is one way to overload on the blood pressure, but after Chelsea beat Liverpool in the last of the Carling Cup quarter finals, it may be safe to hazard that Arsenal have been given something of a Christmas present themselves.

The draw for the Semi-finals sees Arsenal pitted against the old ‘load of Flamin’ Hotspur’, avoiding a tricky tie against Everton with the possibility of a rematch of last year’s final against Chelsea. The draw sees the first leg played at the Emirates Stadium on 8/9 January, with the White Hart Lane leg played on the 22nd/23rd.

Of course, the important match that is on our minds is not the Semifinal but the league match against the same opponents this Saturday, and for once in our lives the buildup is looking quite good. No injury news to report on – well, that’s not entirely true…Eboue’s out with his knee ligament damage that he picked up against Chelsea, but other than that, it’s generally a clean bill of health for the squad. Staying with Eboue, John Terry ignores all his life’s misdealings in citing Eboue for a red card. Diatribe in the bin if you please, Mr Terry.

Consider that Arsenal have had to put up with horendous injuries since 05/06 – a season which saw as many as thirteen first team challengers out regularly – and last season’s van Persie/Henry woes, one really does think we can hope for a clean start now, with a one point head-start over the chasing teams.

-{…with Toure and Eboue to leave for the African Cup of Nations in the new year, we need as much quality backup as possible.}-

One player that we may possibly be seen to lose – though not due to injury – is Lassana Diarra, who has been exceptionally ill advised to consider joining Spurs. It would be a real shame to see a kid with that much ability to join downtown Chernobyl, but then Spurs are linked with all-and-sundry these days, with double-majors in Arsenal rejects. As is the norm with transfer rumours, the article has no quotes to speak of, and at this point, is little more than that – a rumour.

There are two transfer-related news pieces that have some merit to them, though. Firstly, Johan Djourou is set to return to Arsenal in January after his half-year loan spell at Birmingham. Brum are naturally less than pleased they cannot withhold his services, but with Toure and Eboue to leave for the African Cup of Nations in the new year, we need as much quality backup as possible. While Djourou has been getting more exposure as a defensive midfielder rather than a centre-back, it will be good to have a player of his quality back in the club’s grounds.

The other transfer-story pertains to Fran Merida, who may be set to go on loan to Real Sociedad, if the club president-hopeful has anything to do with it. His words are somewhat ambiguous, so it is hard to tell whether it’s a loan until the end of this season, or a full-season loan for next year. Wait and see, I guess.

There is a nice piece in The Telegraph focusing around Phillip Senderos’ experiences of captaining Arsenal against Blackburn, as well as a little blip of Mark Randall’s run in the first team. What Randall says is not particularly revealing as such, but it does demonstrate that English players in Arsenal no longer have the Pennant-esque siege mentality of yesteryear.

-{There is indeed an impetuosity to the young players’ belief in themselves. In time, we can hope it develops into an imperial stature.}-

Finally, Mark Hughes has made the comparison between Arsenal’s current crop of young developers with Manchester United’s class of 1992, saying they have the same belief in themselves that sees them expecting to match all ages of opponents. Hughes says:

Their mentality is that they expect to win games – they don’t just hope to win games. At United, lads like Beckham, Scholes, the Nevilles and Butt all had that mentality. You could see it in them right from the time they were in the youth team. I like Arsenal’s young players and I see that in them as well.

What Hughes has identified is what has permeated the club in the youth ranks from the top down for several seasons now. Several Manchester United fans I’ve talked to identify Cesc Fabregas as the most impetuous ‘kid’ around, but never fail to indicate an immense respect for the player. There is indeed an impetuosity to the young players’ belief in themselves. In time, we can hope it develops into an imperial stature.

And that is all, I would imagine. Things are nice and quiet after two frantic matches – time enough to stew over a North London Derby that our team will be slightly more rested for. Hopefully there’s good news to follow for the rest of the week.

Stay well, all.



Filed under Arsenal, Blogging, Carling Cup, English Premier League, Tottenham

6 responses to “It’s Spurs for the Semi…and for Diarra as well

  1. deeOzGooner

    arsenal should organise a charity match between arsenal prem team & arsenal carling cup team…it would be the most entertaining game in footballing history!

  2. Heh heh, it’s called training deeOzGooner!

  3. MagicHat

    I really wonder, after that display against Rovers, if Arsenal’s second eleven could be a Top 6 or even Top 4 prem side in their own right… Seeing Diarra play that well, you also have to wonder if he’ll be pushing the Flamster for a starting birth soon, even as well as Matty has been playing. Diarra played a blinder. Song too! I hope Cameroon doesn’t call him into the African tourney, he looks like an able Kolo understudy!

  4. jammathon

    On talent alone, they are certainly up there – there’s no real way to say what ‘ranking’ of sorts they could compare to, but there’s no doubting the talent.

    When it comes to physique, stamina and know-how, however, the kids have a lot to learn, still. Such things which are invisible ‘on paper’, would be to the detriment of the younger players were they hypothetically to partake in the league.

  5. Jai Balan

    With Eboue out, Wenger could test Diarra’s versatility on the right of midfield to see if there’s a new revelation to Wengerball. I admire Flamini’s resolve, playing out of position at left-back when Clichy was injured and warming the bench (watching,learning and waiting) most of last season, and then taking his game to a new height, albeit with dash of rumbling!

  6. Casicky

    i cant see Le Boss playing Diarra on the left esp when every1 is fit it looks like we wiil be playin our first eleven in a 4-4-2 formation…it would be good havin the whole team back although i wonder whether puttin Hleb on the wing will take a lot outta his game…any thoughts???