Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy birthday to Theo

Our little pacey magician Theo Walcott, seemingly a developing player for most of the decade, hit the ripe old age of 20 yesterday. There's no denying his influence in the team at this point. I said a couple of days ago (weeks? tough to tell after a Football Coma.) that we've come to the time where opposition will be looking at him and very soon fearing him.

Tonight, I'm sure, will be no exception. The matches come fast and furious this time of year. Tonight, the Arsenal host Hull at the Emirates in the 6th Round of the FA Cup. This competition definitely provides an outlet where the team can look to prove their progress. We've been fortunate with the draw this year, there's no mistaking that, but in an era when players are seeing matches nearly year round, any respite that comes along will be a welcome one.

Arsene has got the team purring right now and continued momentum to build on the spirit is key again tonight. It's another chance to rotate the squad a little given that it's the third match in less than a week. While I spoke several weeks ago about the team's increasing maturity and cohesiveness, it's important to point out that while the team has been young and brimming with potential for the last couple of years, there was a level of stagnancy to them. Not anymore. Just now there's more confidence to be felt in squad rotation. There's more confidence to be felt when players are called upon. There's more confidence to be felt through the full ranks of the team, even players who weren't performing just back in the winter. There's no way I can pinpoint it beyond a maturity and consistency. Still, it's palpable and it's real. 

Arshavin is a doubt tonight after his brilliant performance against Blackburn. Eight stitches on his ankle/foot will see to that (and where do you think he got those stitches?). Vela, Van Persie, Gibbs at left back, Djourou, Theo, Fabianski are among those I expect to be included. Perhaps Wilshire from the bench. It's an important game and Hull are not to be trifled with, they'll see it as a rare chance to get themselves on the big stage at Wembley in a semi-final against the awaiting Chelsea side.

We're close, and as I've been calling for, we're definitely pouring on the gas right now. Each game brings its own worries and this will be no exception. We lost to Hull at home earlier in the season. We're less than a week out from an exhausting shootout thriller in Roma, we were clattered at home against Blackburn with a scoreline that flattered us. Nowt wrong with a little paranoia to follow the positives, eh?

C'mon then, the Arsenal!

1 comment:

Jamie said...


i think bad guy is out for this one anyway, along with the weekends game. you now why?

el hcunt spituf.

what are the chances of ebooooue getting the first, tonight? i dont want extra time... ha, can you imagine!?

up the arsenal. 5-1