Thursday 29th October 2009
Earlier this week a friend of mine asked me if I was busy during the first week of December. The conversation went something like this;
"Well" I said, "If we beat Liverpool in the Carling Cup then yes, but not if Everton go through of course and we draw them in the next round. They are in the Europa League you see. I will be free however, if we lose and Bolton go through against Chelsea, unless of course they draw Everton, then I'll be busy. Oh and if we both go out......"
"I tell you what" he interrupted, "You let me know eh!!"
This morning I have made that call and thanks to Wednesday night's highly enjoyable victory the conversation was a lot simpler! Saturday lunchtime's quarter final draw will determine exactly where I'll be but whoever we get I'll definitely be 'busy'!
I am always highly optimistic going into every match we play, simply because whoever puts on the red and white shirt, we know they are capable of putting in a performance.
The Carling Cup on the other hand is a little tricky to work out and any result wouldn't shock me. I'm not even sure why I think like this given the fact for the seventh season in succession we are into the last eight.
With eleven different players starting the game from those that took the field at Upton Park on Sunday and Liverpool taking starting with much the same format the unpredictability factor is probably what made it such an exciting spectacle.
There was some great football on show last night, make no bones about it but couple that with a certain degree of naivety at times, it was nothing less than highly entertaining fare.
Fran Merida's opener was a quite stunning strike and saw us go into a thoroughly deserved lead but our visitors' equaliser was equally as impressive and left the game on a knife's edge come half time. Again, no chance of predicting what might follow in the next forty-five!
Some of the football we see at all levels at our magnificent club saw us come close on numerous occasions until one such move saw Nicky Bendtner slam the ball into the roof of the net for our crucial second.
With time running out we rode our luck a little bit whilst looking very dangerous on the break and for me Mikael Silvestre and big Phil put in two big experienced performances late on to help see us home.
So, a thoroughly enjoyable night out sees us move impressively into the quarter finals yet again, with all the quite obvious benefits our continued policy in this competition brings. Like pretty much everyone I'm sure, I hope we get to take on Portsmouth or Blackburn in the last eight.
Literally minutes after the draw and the latest north London derby will be upon us with our nearest and dearest rivals in a stronger position than I can remember for many a year.
Both on and off the field nobody needs any encouragement to be up for this one, in derby matches it's the law!
Come on you Gooners!
FrankCopyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 30 Oct 2009