Well, on Saturday we saw off Wednesday with an unusually professional performance and the bonus of the first confidence building goals from Martins and Beausjour. The injury to Hleb was a worry but at least nobody else was badly crocked against what in the old days would have been considered a typical third division approach. However, credit to a great Wednesday fan following given a disappointing bluenose turnout. Why, oh why, didn’t the club say that anybody with ticket stubs from the match would be given preference over the general public in purchasing Wembley tickets?…They would have had a full house. I don’t blame the Chinese cartel but rather the naivety of the Blues marketing people.
Luckily for me, I’m all set up for a day of a little expectation, quite a bit of hope and plenty of Carling. I purchased my tickets by strolling up to St Andrews on my week day off… No queue whatsoever and the four seats in a row that I wanted. It certainly beat the, literally, Titanic-sized queue on the previous Saturday when we played Stoke…. I say ‘Titanic’ not because of the size of the queue but because of the desperate almost panic stricken mood. In fact I’m glad I was just walking past and not on the deck of a sinking ship.
Anyway, with my tickets in the bag I googled Chiltern for cheap deals but, not trusting my internet skills, I called in at the station and got a deal for four of us traveling for the price of two at £78 (any train plus underground travel.) To cap it all, I kitted myself out with a ‘pirate’ March on Wembley T Shirt which should be fine as it will probably go into the wash and shrinking mode, never to be worn again.
So I’m prepared….. But what about the Blues?
It’s eleven against eleven, it’s a one off, the pitch is bobbly and not conducive to good football, Arsenal lost to Wolves, they’re playing a few days before against a rumbustuous Stoke side and after the Carling Final will be playing a critical fixture against Barcelona. There, I’ve convinced myself we’ll win and after a couple of pints, I’ll be even more convinced.
I shall conveniently ignore the fact that Arsenal are apparently desperate to take advantage of their first opportunity of winning a trophy in over five years… Blimey, they want to try being a Blues fan as in our case it’s more like fifty!
Certainly on the day, if we try and outpass the Gunners we may well get a pasting so it has to be Sgt Wilko’s advice of the effectiveness of getting the ball into the box as soon as possible. If Arsenal have a slight chink in their armour it must be at centre back.
Picking a Blues defence is a ‘no brainer’ with the injuries and the ineligibility angle coming in to play. So it’s Foster, Carr, Johnson, Jiranek and Ridgewell. Midfield has to be Larsson, Ferguson, Gardiner and I would play Jerome wide as he has the pace to go up and down the line. However, it seems certain that Big Eck will play Bowyer or possibly Fahy, presuming Hleb is unfit. If he plays Bowyer, I hope he leaves Gardiner in midfield to use his energy and allow Barry Ferguson to sit in front of the defence. Up front is more problematical with a surfeit of impact players and a dearth of those who can put in an effective 90 minute shift. However, in my opinion, it has to be two up front because we have to keep the Gunners on the back foot. On that basis I would go for Ziggy and Obafemi Martins and tell them to stay in contact.
Anyway whatever happens I’m going to ensure that I enjoy my pre-match drink!