Arsenal v Birmingham City – Carling Cup Final Preview

Que sera, sera…Anyone else been singing that for the last month and telling everybody how your club is off to Wembley for a major final for the first time in fifty years? How your club, the unfashionable, unfancied, unnoticed Birmingham City will be gracing the famous stadium hoping to finally win that major honour that has evaded us for so many years? But mostly just feeling so damn happy about it all? Isn’t it nice to be able to have some joy to go with all that sorrow we’ve experienced over the years.

For me Sunday can’t come round quickly enough and the day is almost as important as the game itself. I will be putting on nearly all my Blues clothing (Not cold enough for the woolly hat), getting there early, meeting up with fellow J&S members and taking lots of photos. After all this may the last time I can do this so I’m really going to enjoy the day. Then it’ll be time to concentrate on one of the biggest games in the club’s history.

The game itself is a tricky one to preview. Arsenal will of course be overwhelming favourites but in a one off game on neutral ground anything can happen. On Wembley’s large pitch they have the capacity to keep the ball for ages and run rings round us. It looks liek Fabregas and Walcott will be missing which is a boost for us but the Premierships form player Robin van Persie is set to start and will be very dangerous. For Blues Alexander Hleb will most likely miss out after he was hacked down last week but I’m not sure if he would have started anyway. It’s anyone’s guess what team McLeish will put out as there are options up front and in midfield. With Bentley cup tied who will come in on the left? Who will be the strikeforce? Will he start with more than one up front or will we pack the midfield in order to try and frustrate the likes of Nasri and Arshavin? I think it is more likely that he will try and keep it tight to start with and play 4-5-1 with Gardner supporting Zigic or possibly Martins. I’m not sure about starting with Zigic as he doesn’t show the movement for the load frontman role and could easily be isolated. Martins would link the play better and be useful on the break. McLeish may decide to show loyalty to the players that got us to the final which could see Jerome starting.

The key part of the team will of course be the defence who will need to be at their best if are to triumph. We can’t give away any of those early sloppy goals like we did against Newcastle and need to concentrate for the full ninety minutes. Someone like Van Persie will only need one chance and runs from deep by Nasri will have to be watched carefully. We’ll need to be tough but not too tough as if the ref is not strong there’ll be a lot of rolling around on the floor to contend with which could lead to cards and dangerous free kicks. Bowyer will need to watch himself. Organisation is the key to beating Arsenal, not kicking them. Of course a good bit of British passion won’t go a miss.

 I’d also like to think that our fans can easily outsing and outcheer the Arsenal lot and our support will be important. I hope those fans that booed at half time in the semi-final feel suitably ashamed of themselves. It’s great that our allowance was sold out so quickly and I know a lot of people will be disappointed that they couldn’t get a ticket.

So now it’s nearly time.  Time for an upset.  Time for someone to be a hero.  Time for us all to get behind the team. 

C’mon you blue boys.

My Prediction 2-1 to Arsenal. A brave fight by the boys but Arsenal just having too much class in the end.

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2 Comments on Arsenal v Birmingham City – Carling Cup Final Preview

  1. Best of luck in your Cup final tomorrow, but I agree with your last statement “but Arsenal just having too much class in the end”. Not many teams have been able to sut out Robin van Persie in 2011, while Samir Nasri has a good goalscoring record against the Blues and arguably plays better without Cesc Fabregas, who is absent tomorrow.

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