So the day is finally here, it’s Carling Cup Final day and for the first time since 2007 we are taking part but for every Arsenal Player and fan, today is not about just ‘taking part’.
Today is about winning, it’s about Arsene Wenger outwitting Alex McLeish, the Arsenal players playing better than Birmingham, us taking our chances and lifting the Carling Cup later on today.
Of course it’s disappointing not to have Cesc Fabregas, Thomas Vermaelen and Theo Walcott available today but a club like ours should have enough in reserve to overcome our opponent today.
Head to Head
Arsenal won the only previous League Cup meeting between the sides, winning 4-1 after extra-time at Highbury in 1997.
We are unbeaten in our last eight games against Blues (W5, D3).
We have scored 13 times and conceded twice in the League Cup so far this season but have lost four of our six League Cup finals.
Arsene Wenger has taken us to eight cup finals, winning four but losing out to Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final and Chelsea in the 2007 Carling Cup final.
Blues have not kept a single clean sheet in their last nine League Cup matches, conceding a total of 13 goals. In fact the last they didn’t concede was in August 2008.
Stats show that six of the eight Premier League goals we have conceded against Birmingham have come from set pieces – simples, don’t give them and free kicks in our own half and don’t concede any corners. The last time Blues kept a clean sheet against a side from the same division in a League Cup game away from home was in August 1992
Nasri: 14 goals (2 in League Cup);
Van Persie: 13 goals (0 in League Cup)
Gardner & Zigic: 7 goals (2 in League Cup)
Well that’s all the facts and stats thanks to the BBC Website but as I always say, this is a cup match, both teams will want to be lifting that little trophy later and facts and stats go out the window, especially in a Final at Wembley.
On paper we are favourites but there is pressure on us to finally claim silverware after a bit of a drought. That all needs to be forgotten today we need to just play our own game, use the size of the Wembley pitch and take every chance that comes our way.
Arsenal and Birmingham have never been the ‘best of friends’ and the rivalry has been more intense since ‘that incident’ in 2008, you know the one! We ended up drawing the game and going on a rotten run which cost us the league that season. Get this win today and we may just go on a very different kind of run with more silverware to follow! Confidence comes with winning!
With Mike Dean in charge of the whistle we cannot afford to give him an excuse to help Birmingham so its pure football needed today from us, leave Birmingham to play what ever way they choose and don’t react!
Go out there Arsenal, play with pride for the shirt you are wearing, for the club you play for and of course for all Arsenal fans.
Do yourselves and your manager proud and finally get rid of that ‘Arsenal, who haven’t won a trophy for nearly six years‘ label off your back.
Go get em Arsenal….
Have a good day all…..