The Arshavin and Song FA Cup Mystery
Many fans were bemused on Saturday when both Arshavin and Song were absent for what was clearly our most important game of the season. We were 90 minutes away from a cup final, yet Arsene opted not to choose two of our most influential players of recent weeks.
On Tuesday night we saw what we missed on Saturday.
Song played like two players; making up for Denilson’s deficiencies. Song covered the pitch, provided support for the defence and dominated Maschareno and Alonso. Oh how we could have done with his power on Saturday.
Arsene’s explanation is that Song had played a lot of games recently. It was more important to play him on Saturday and let him have Sunday against Middlesbrough as his rest day.
The other missing player was Arshavin. On Tuesday night he was very quiet t ostart with. Most of our play in the first half was on the other flank, emphasising how busy and important Nasti is (another absentee). Then the Russian came to life. He scored a good goal in the first half, but his second was something to admire. Not quite in the Pires mould when he scored a beauty a few years back at Anfield but it was a great solo goal. His third was a poacher’s goal whilst his fourth showed his speed. He ran the length of the field, almost overtaking Walcott before he placed the ball past Reina.
Our performance on Saturday lacked the drive that Arshavin would have given us. It is still a mystery as to why he was missing. He played the previous week-end against Wigan and Wenger knows he cannot play in the Champions League, so he was not resting him for the semi-final against Manchester United. The only explanation is that Arsene wants us to finish third and avoid a tough Champions League qualifier in August.
No matter what is said, leaving these two players out of the match against Chelsea cost us a place in the Final. Wenger deep down must realise he made a mistake in the team selection.