Saturday’s FA Cup quarter final against Arsenal has a bigger meaning than just who’ll progress to the next stage of the greatest cup competition since the Zenith Data Systems folded.
With United coming off the back of two defeats, Arsenal’s quadruple being turned into a double at best within a fortnight and not to mention the fact the two teams are practically neck and neck in the league, you could say this game is a bit of a biggie.
While I’m more than confident United will sweep aside those snood wearing, treatment table warmers from Islington without breaking a sweat, it’s always good to get a different view.
With that in mind Redflagflyinghigh decide to speak to award winning Arsenal blogger- yes they do actually give out awards for it- Sian Ranscombe to get her view on Saturday’s game. While we were at it we thought we’d pick her brains on everything from the on/off Fabregas Barca move, whether Wilshere’s a tad overhyped and how her team will ever manage next season without their beloved neck warming accessories.
First of all tells us about your site and why you started it?
My blog is called ‘From a Girl who loves the Gunners’ and I started it just over a year ago. It began as a general blog that no one read, before I began to realise that the only thing I really wanted to write about was football. And more specifically, Arsenal. My whole family are Gooners and season ticket holders. So I moved it to a football site, where it started to actually be read by other humans and it went from there. I won Young Blogger of the year at the NOPA awards last December and the blog has since moved to the Arseblog network.
With United neck and neck in the league, do you think whoever wins on Sunday could get a psycholigical boost over the other? (*coughs 4-0, 2008)
I seem to be in the minority in thinking no. Oddly enough I’d even go so far as saying that whoever wins on Saturday probably won’t win when we meet in the Premiership. I have no reasoning behind this other than a feeling. From an Arsenal point of view, we’ve gone from being the only team in England still in all four competitions to only being in with a chance of two in the space of two weeks, so regardless of what people might think about Arsenal’s attitude to the FA Cup over the years, I think we’ll be taking it seriously. That said, if you were given the option of beating us in the league or beating us in the FA Cup, which would you take?
Which Arsenal player other than Fabregas- should United be wary of and why?
Well it looks as though Cesc injured himself against Barcelona again and will be sidelined for two matches, so you’ll not need to be wary of him. Robin van Persie has been passed as fit and has been in fine form lately (inability to hear whistles in stadiums of 90,000+ aside) so if he plays, him. I would say Jack Wilshere too but I see he has his own question, so I’ll leave that for then.
The rivalry betwen United and Arsenal seems to have quietened down a bit in recent years, with Fergie even asking United fans not to pick on his new bezzie, is this something you’d agree on from a Gooner point of view?
Yes. The top of the league has had a right good shake-up recently and we’re now looking at teams like Manchester City and Tottenham as well. Obviously, you guys have always had the City rivalry and we’ve always had the Tottenham rivalry, but now there are different contenders for the top four than simply you, us, Liverpool and Chelsea as it used to be. But I’m sure all of that will be forgotten on Saturday!
With the Carling Cup loss, being dumped out of the CL by Barca and the ‘no trophy in five years’ albatross hanging around Wenger’s neck, do you think this game has added importance?
Yes, but no more importance than the rest of our league games.
You were at the Camp Nou, what did you make of the game?
It was a horrible match to watch. We just couldn’t get any of the ball and when we did have it, we gave it away stupidly easily. We defended superbly, better than I’ve seen us defend in donkeys’ years and Manuel Almunia was a hero for coming back into the team after so long benched, and playing so well. No doubt about it, if not for Koscielny, Djourou and Almunia, Barcelona would have gone wild.
The Szczesny injury was unbelievable and the fact that Cesc was injured in the same minute didn’t help. You can question whether if Szczesny hadn’t been injured, Cesc would have come off and the substitution would have been made earlier and he wouldn’t have made that vital error… but like I say in my blog, you can drive yourself mad with ‘What ifs…’
We’re all agreed that the van Persie sending off was ludicrous but what’s done is done.
Continued on page two.