Arsenal entertain Cardiff tonight and our path has been cleared for a semi-final spot. It is crazy to be talking about a semi-final when we are still in the 4th round. We are facing Cardiff, then Burnley and then possibly either Sheffield United or Hull City. All the games are at the Emirates, which apart from extra revenue for the club, means that we will be odds-on favourites to win every game and then we will visit Wembley for a semi-final.
Tonight we will be without Adebayor and Eboue, but based on the Tottenham game we were missing Adebayor from the first minute until he limed off injured, and as for Eboue, he is more a hindrance than a help.
Even though there is a great clamour for Eduardo to start tonight, I envisage that Arsene will resist the temptation and start with Bendtner up front. The Dane needs to start producing the goods on a regular basis, and that is not just scoring but also his control of the ball and link-up play needs to improve. There is not much time left for Bendtner to show Wenger he can be a regular starter, Adebayor is out for 3-4 weeks and Bendtner needs to grab the opportunity.
With Ramsey not expected to be fit, Carlos Vela may get a rare start out on the left wing. Vela has had a very frustrating season and it is a game like tonight that could ignite his season.
There is still a doubt over Clichy’s fitness, but that is not a problem as Gibbs has been a great deputy, with time Gibbs could develop into a great left back
Arsenal should progress against Cardiff tonight with ease and then set themselves up for 5th round tie against Burnley at the Emirates.
Well we are still i n the cup. It was never going to be an easy game at Ninian Park, Cardiff are a good team and Ninian Park a hostile ground to visit.
Cardiff came at us in the first 10-15 minutes and we survived several scares where Cardiff could have taken the lead. Ramsey had a nightmare return to his former club and it was no surprise that he was withdrawn after an hour. Arsenal gradually got to grips with Cardiff, Gibbs did not look like a novice at left-back, while Song started to dominate the midfield. Arsenal had several chances in the first half to take the lead, but Nasri, Bendtner and Eboue all failed to take their chances. The hilarious moment of the first half was Eboue’s pathetic dive for a penalty which resulted in a yellow card for the hapless Ivorian.
Once Diaby was introduced in the second half it was one way traffic, relentless Arsenal attacks, but we faield to break down a stubborn Cardiff defence.
The match ended a goalless draw and a replay at the Emirates on 2 February. The replay will see Clichy and possibly Eduardo take part, Arsenal should finish the job at home and then face either Burnley or WBA at home in the next round. Arsenal should be favourites to reach the quarter-finals and then we can start dreaming of Wembley.
Arsenal travel to Cardiff with one eye on Wednesday top of the table clash with Everton. Wenger knows the FA Cup is a route to silverware, soem will say our loast route this season. The team will be strong, but one or two youngsters will be around.
Aaron Ramsey will make an emotional return to Ninina Park. The youngster chose Arsenal over Mamchester United, a decision he has not regretted as he has appeared often for Arsenal.
Deputising for Clichy at left-back wil be Gibbs. Gibbs played very well against Plymouth, and can turn out to be a great left back, possibly surplanting Clichy who is prone to make mistakes.
Bendtner will get an opportunity to start against the Bluebirds.
No matter what team is selected we need to progress to the next round, or it will be a long long season.