Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Monday November 29 2010
With the Latics making their second trip to London in three days with a visit to face Arsenal at the Emirates in the ¼ final of the Carling Cup I thought it would be a great chance to grab a few words with Vital Arsenal editor and massive Gooner Rocky7, lets see how it went:
worbo - How you doing rocky, good season so far for the Gunners, challenging on all fronts even after a couple of setbacks, are you pleased with how the season`s started?
Rocky7 - Hello. I'm good thanks, all the better for speaking to you good sir.
I guess when you're 3rd in the league and only 2 points behind the leaders, in the quarter finals of the League Cup, all but through to the knock out stages of the Champions League and have been drawn at home to Leeds United in the FA Cup then you don`t have much reason to grumble ...... but I'm going to.
Since the breakup of our invincibles squad (which was sad, but inevitable) our team seems to have developed the frustrating ability to become excruciatingly complacent. I can't even count the amount of times we've thrown away comfortable leads in games we could have won 4 or 5 nil only to end up with no points or being knocked out of competitions.
I'm of the opinion that we have the finest squad in the EPL, of course Chelsea have the best first 11, but depth wise I'm not sure many come close. But something is wrong. When you're players consistently make easy things hard it's difficult to accept, especially when it's against your most bitter rivals (I use that term in the literal sense).
There's no reason to believe we shouldn't have won nearly every game we've played in so far (including the away game at Stamford Bridge), but our mental attitude just isn't right at times. That's my opinion anyway.
worbo - I wouldn`t suspect the Carling Cup as being Wenger's prime target this campaign and Arsenal are noted for fielding the 'young ones` in this competition, has that been the case this season and do you think we can expect what some would consider an under strength Arsenal side for the game or is Wenger likely to go for it now we`re at the quarters?
Rocky7 - I wouldn't say it's his prime target, but it's definitely shifted up the list of priorities a bit.
I think that the reason we're not playing as many 'young ones', is that our young ones are becoming older ones. In the past we'd have played players like Nicklas Bendtner, Kieran Gibbs, Johan Djourou and such .....and we'll be doing the same again, they've just gotten older and more experienced.
There will still be a hint of youth in there, expect Wojciech Szczesny between the sticks, maybe Craig Eastmond and Jay Emannuel Thomas will get a game too. Robin van Persie could feature as he tries to get fit, but this is all just guess work.
I'm a bitter football fan though, and it still bothers me the way we gave up the ghost in the semi final against you guys a few years ago in the last minute, van Persie scored one of the best free kicks I've ever seen so I hope Wenger plays the strongest side he feels he can.
worbo - Which of the young fringe players at Arsenal do you feel will make the break through to follow in the footsteps of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey?
Rocky7 - I would say Kieran Gibbs, but he's practically there already, in fact given Gael Clichy's (a player I rate) ability to commit the most inexplicable errors time and again, I'd say Gibbs should replace the Frenchman for the time being. He's earned his shot.
Amongst the others, Craig Eastmond looks handy, if not sometimes a little out of his depth, Henri Lansbury impresses me too, he's currently on loan at Norwich so hopefully a bit of first team action can see him progress.
You might get a glimpse of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas in our quarter final clash. The guy is impressive, a big powerful forward, he seems to have it all.
It might surprise you to know that almost all of our promising talent are English players too, and they're mostly already in the England set up at some level. Too many people have been all too quick to vilify Wenger for not nurturing English talent without looking at his bigger picture. We've already got Walcott, Wilshere and Gibbs playing in the first team for Arsenal and England, don't be too surprised if these guys make it too.
worbo - Talking of Aaron Ramsey I see he`s made good progress, how`s he doing?
Rocky7 - He's doing mightily well by all accounts. I didn't expect to see him again this year after looking at the all too graphic photos in the press the day after the game. But he made his comeback appearance for the reserve last week an impressed for 45 minutes, and now he's gone on a short term loan to Nottingham Forrest to find a bit of fitness.
I'm pretty scared by that to be honest, the English lower leagues can be brutal at times, but I guess it'll test his mettle and mental strength.
worbo - £10 at the Emirates too good to miss for loads of Wigan fans, there should be a good turnout considering the time of year and the financial state of the country, do you feel prices in general though are too high, I read recently about match day admission at the Emirates set to be £100, that can`t be right surely?
Rocky7 - Yeah it's far too high. I used to get to 20 or more games per season (I live oopp North, so home games are away games and some away games travel are more like home games), but since my son was born I find it hard to justify spending over £100+ for one football match.
I must add, that £100 includes the essential ticket, travel, beer and food. That £100 for a ticket price you heard is for the higher end tickets, you could gain entry for a little over a third of that. It's still way too much for one match though, meaning match days are only an occasional treat for me now rather than a weekly necessity.
I am however looking forward to taking my boy to his first game (and maybe getting an excuse to the wife to make more regular trips 'But darling, he's so looking forward to it') he's already a proper little Gooner, he's loves van Persie, he wanted Nicklas Bendtner to win the World Cup, and he says his daddy looks like 'Arsenal Wenger'.
worbo - Prediction time, now most people would call me crazy for even suggesting this, but I think we are going to win the tie, maybe in extra time, but I think we will get a late, late goal to go through to the semi`s, I`m going for 3-2 Latics win AET, how do you see it?
Rocky7 - There's no reason either team shouldn't be able to win the tie, at the start of every game a result is up for grabs. That said however, we're usually pretty strong in the League Cup and I think we'll get through this one as well .... I'll say 2-1 to the Gunners.
Thanks for listening to me ramble.
worbo - Thanks for the chat Rocky
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Date:Monday November 29 2010
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