Arsenal Face Wigan in Carling Cup QF
Theo Walcott said, glowing with confidence, after the great win at St James' Park, 'This is a great opportunity for us to win the Carling Cup.'
Here's my favourite bit:
'We want to win trophies. People might say it's the Mickey Mouse cup and stuff like that but for me, personally, it's a trophy.'
Quite true, Theo. We've seen an increasing sentiment among fellow Gooners that we should take this Mickey Mouse cup more seriously than we did before. Maybe so. But for me, more importantly, we can now afford to field more experienced players than we did, with a gradually strengthened squad - both due to the quality signings that the boss has accumulated in the past few years and the fact that the kids have gained a lot of experience indeed. Jack Wilshere, for instance, has played more than two dozens of games in all competitions including 8 appearances in the Champions League against strong European teams. How many young players at his age who are still learning their trade in England can say the same?
It's in this context that I wonder if more Gooners were paying attention to the Mickey Mouse cup draw today. Albeit without any preference, I did want a home game for a number of reasons. Our home record in this competition has been good: we have scored 24 and conceded only 4 at home since the 2005-06 season, with 8 wins, 1 draw and 0 defeat. It'd also be fantastic for the club to again offer more accessible and cheaper tickets to a different, younger, less regular crowd to see the Gunners in flesh.
Two other ties that will have caught the eye are the Birmingham derby at St Andrew's and another all-Premier League affair between our opponents today, West Ham, and holders Man Utd at Upton Park. Ipswich-West Brom, I'm afraid, will only get more attention when the fans of the winners of this round start talking about their desired draw marching onto the semi-finals.
Quarter-final draw in full:
Arsenal v Wigan Athletic
Birmingham City v Aston Villa
West Ham United v Manchested United
Ipswich Town v West Bromwich Albion
These games will be played in the week commencing 29th November, sandwiched between two league games, a visit to Villa Park and a derby against Fulham at home.
'Hopefully we can win the Carling Cup and it will be one of many.' Said the ever-optimistic youngster. Ditto Theo.