Arsenal | Carling Cup Final Preview
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Chelsea vs. Arsenal

Millennium Stadium

25th February 2007

On Sky

Carling Cup Final Preview

The first silverware of the season is up for grabs on Sunday as The Arsenal take of The Chavs (Chelsea) in the Carling Cup final.

Despite the fact that Chelsea will field the strongest team available to them and Arsenal will field a tem mainly made up of youngsters and fringe players, it`s sure to be a tight encounter.

The mind games started surprisingly late this year. Usually they would have started as soon as the fixture was confirmed but this year that was not the case. Of course they did begin eventually. Wenger slating Chelsea`s crazy spending and suspect partnership with PSV, Mourniho calling himself the special one and pointing out that Wenger hasn`t won the Champions League…etc etc.

It`s difficult to predict how the game will go. Will Mourniho see playing against inexperienced players as an opportunity to attack? Will Wenger defend and try to catch Chelsea on the counter (ala 05 FA Cup final V United)?

One thing I can predict is that Mr. Mourniho will have told his players to 'get stuck in` to Arsenal in an attempt to unsettle them. Normally that would worry me but the youngsters are fearless. That`s what has got them this far and it`s what won United the treble in 99 (maybe next year Gooners).

But remember Arsenal fans, whatever happens tomorrow, they`ve done the club, us, the manager and most importantly, themselves proud to get here.

Vital Quotes:

Wenger made a strange, yet relevant comparison between this competition and the X-Factor: 'You have singers in England going on the X-Factor show for their talents to be discovered," said Wenger. "If they don't organise it, you don't find them.

'I like it because people are brave enough to come out and say they want to achieve something in their life. They are ready to be committed to do it. They have a target.

'I like people who turn up and are ready to fight for something, like our young players are. And this competition is the X-Factor Academy for us.

"People say never judge a team on a cup run because it depends who you play. But in this competition we have played Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham so it would be a great reward for us to win it.

"Liverpool was a tough test, Everton was a tough test and no-one can ever predict how difficult it will be against Chelsea.

'Their game is based on experience and power, ours will be based on mobility and movement. It will be very important for us to try and stop them in decisive moments in the game by taking over that physical power.'

Le Boss went on to say that while the Cup is important to him, what the players take into the future is more important: "I'm very proud of what these players have achieved this season," he said. "We have not just won we've won with style which is our philosophy.

'But for me the biggest achievement is always the next one. What you have done in your life is not important. If you think what you have won is not as important as the next one then you are finished.

'I want to achieve what is front of me as well as I can and I really want to win this trophy on Sunday.

'It will be an unusual achievement if we do it."

Frank Lampard claims that Chelsea will be playing for the fans on Sunday, rather than the bonuses they will get if they win: 'I know the fans will travel in their thousands for a massive game against Arsenal, and we will give it our all to win that cup.

'Any silverware is special, getting that first trophy of the season is important, and there is nothing better than celebrating with our fans at the end of a game.'

Chelsea Team News:

The big shock is that Terry will now play. It was feared (by Chelsea, not Arsenal) that he had suffered ligament damage after being stretchered off after 12 minutes against Porto.

Arjen Robben faces a fitness test but Joe Cole is definantly out while Ashley Cole is unlikely to feature.

Player to watch: Petr Cech

One of the finest 'keepers in the world. It's no coincidence that Chelsea's results have improved greatly since his return from injury.

Arsenal Team News:

Henry, Gallas and Ljungberg are almost certain not to take part.

Jens Lehmann is suspended, although he wouldn't have played anyway.

On the injury front, Eboue is definanly out. Justin Hoyte and Gael Clichy both face late fitness tests.

Player to watch: Denilson & Baptista

I can't choose between the 2 of them. Baptista has been the king of the Carling Cup so far. 6 goals in 3 games is pretty impressive at any level but when you're in a team comprised mainly of youngsters and you're playing against teams like Liverpool and Spu*s... it speaks for its self.

In every Cup final there's a hero, for some reason I believe this is Denilson's time. I don`t want to hype him up too much but it`s hard not to! He manages to combine the finesse of Rosicky, the passing range of Fabregas and the bite of Gilberto. He has already shown that he can pull a few tricks out the bag (see Carling Cup Semis V Spurs).

Match Prediction:

I really don't want to make a prediction. It's going to be a tight, tight game. I'm going to have to go with a 2-1 Chelsea win I'm afraid. Ballack and Drogba for them. Baptista for Arsenal.

Fan's View

Vital Arsenal member Professor Calculus had this to say: 'I think we will lose, hate being negative and would love to show more faith but I really can't see this Arsenal team beating Chelsea. Terry being fit has nothing to do with it as our attacks are not in the air anyway.

I really really, really hope that this is the game Walcott comes alive, I want him to burn Chelsea but to be honest I think it's a fantasy with slim chances of being a reality.

Wenger has done it so many times, just when you think you've worked the guy out he pulls off something unbelievable (unbeaten season), so I should know not to underestimate him or his custom built sides, but Mourinho is genuinely fearful of Wenger's obsession and knowledge of football, he would hate his full strength billionaire Chelsea side losing to a youth side developed from scratch by Wenger, it would be just too much for him which is why I think he will treat this very seriously.

All logic says we will lose which is why we will surely win.'

Vital Chelsea member BlindJak also commented on the match: 'It`s certainly an intriguing match up. While I think the whole kids thing is one what over stated (as in some of them, although young, are first team regulars anyway) It is admirable that Arsene is allowing them to play the final rather than reverting to a full strength side. Chelsea have pretty much played full strength side through out and I expect nothing different for the final. I do find it hard to believe that your 'second` string will beat our first team but then I guess Everton, Liverpool and Spuds all thought the same so I`m not approaching this as a forgone conclusion.

Further more with Terry out we have seen that our defence is more vulnerable so I would expect to concede. However if Drogba is once against pitted against Senderos I`d expect the Ivorian to once again terrorise the poor lad (though it should be acknowledged that Senderos had a good game back in Dec).

Personally I think the first half will be all important. Although the kids will start I expect Arsene will have a full fire power bench in case things go wrong. Should Chelsea be bale to exploit any weakness or stage fright from the youngsters (haven`t shown much yet but you never know) then they need to make sure it counts. I think if we take a two goal lead to extra time, then we`ve won it. If it`s a one goal lead the game is still up for grabs as there is the talent on the bench to turn the game. Never mind if it`s a draw.

Should Arsenal have any lead then while we push for an equaliser Arsenal can bring on the fresh legs of the likes of Thierry, Ljungberg, and Hleb to punish any space at the back. The chances are you`d expect Arsenal to win it from that position.

So as I say I reckon first half is make or break for both teams.'

The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday February 24 2007

Time: 5:21PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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24/02/2007 17:31:00

its 18:48 and my kids have just gone to sleep with their clothes all out and ready for the morning ! 8:15am and we will be on the road to cardiff and i have 2 very excited young individuals, and no i am not talking about walcott and denilson ! i can't call it myself, on a personal front i want my kids to experience their first cup final with a win and not dissapointment, in my own mind something tells me the pressure is off arsenal and all on chelsea to perform.. i can go back to the FA Cup final against chelsea and say that was one of the best days out i have ever had, not because of the result, but the way the day panned out, the way the fans mingled, the weather and the atmosphere, let tomorrow be the same again and the same result ! see you in cardiff boys !
Report Abuse
24/02/2007 18:50:00

hey PG, you're kids and all the gooners all over the world will have a smashing day tomm, not only are we going to win the cup, we're gonna win it in style. i can't wait for the game now, the closer we're getting to the game, the excitment is building up even more, can't wait for it now. have a safe and wonderful journey and dun you come back without the cup :p..
Report Abuse
24/02/2007 19:08:00

as BlindJak said, a very intriguing match-up. Let's hope Arsene masters the appliance of science... »»Arsene Knows««
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24/02/2007 19:20:00

I'm leaving at 4.30am tomorrow, I know the traffic around Cardiff all too well. My tenth and final visit and I have to say, Cardiff have been great hosts (apart from the cretins who see fit to perform major engineering works on the rails every cup final weekend).
Little Dutch
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24/02/2007 20:25:00

This is why i am afraid of Julio Baptista -
Report Abuse
24/02/2007 20:30:00

all u traveling Gooners have a safe trip and I hope you all come back smiling from Cardiff.
Report Abuse
24/02/2007 20:36:00

I'll tell you why I'm afraid of Julio Baptista, HE'S F****ING HUGE!!!! He's got 36cm biceps, I wouldn't spill his drink or look at his bird if I were you!
Little Dutch
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24/02/2007 20:48:00

k_chelski! would you stop already... the "joke" is becoming kinda old... bon voyage to all the traveling gooners... you lucky ba*tards :) the closest bar that airs live "soccer" games is like 90 minutes drive from me
Spartan Gooner
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24/02/2007 20:53:00

Hahaha, gooner pranks never get old, :-).As a person , i'm not afraid of Baptista(since he is soft spoken and everything..You should look out for romario though.
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24/02/2007 20:58:00

4.30am for me too LD, arrive at 10.30. Know anywhere that will do a nice fried breakfast?
Report Abuse
24/02/2007 21:04:00

There's a shop I went to before the 05 final, they didn't do fry ups but they did the mothe of all baguettes though!
Report Abuse
24/02/2007 21:24:00

Guys, if you're looking for some excellent pub grub at good prices then there's a village just on the east side of Cardiff called St.Fagans and a pub there called the Plymouth Arms (Crost Y Genau Road), as opposed to that there's another great pub grub place just outside of town on the west side of Cardiff called the Heron's Marsh (Cypress Drive, which isn't too far away from the A48 approaching), which also does excellent food for the money. Both do Sunday roasts and welcome families. The Heron's has play areas if you're taking younger kids. I frequent both as I live around these parts. It's actually quite gutting that I only live 15 mins away, (3mins if I push the motorbike hard, apaologies if there are any police amongst us 8-)but can't get a ticket, but saying that I've been lucky enough to take my family along to see all the Community Shield matches whilst they've been held here so I can't complain. Anyway, safe trip guys, enjoy the game and enjoy your day out in our beautiful city.
Report Abuse
24/02/2007 21:30:00

there you go then fellas...all round to FLV's house for lunch and a brew. :P
Report Abuse
24/02/2007 21:38:00

Simmy, I've got a houseful (10-16 people) of ticketless Welsh Gooners here tomorrow, so if you're gonna turn up then don't expect to leave with your tickets, that's all I can say 8-)
Report Abuse
24/02/2007 21:48:00

Oh, and I failed to mention that we'll be heavily armed with leeks and daffodils so don't push us 8-)
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24/02/2007 21:51:00

Here's to looking forward to a great match, and if I may say to the travelling gooners....I'm happy but jealous of you guys! >_<
Report Abuse
25/02/2007 00:15:00

yeah, same here. just got a text from my mate who's made the trip. Lucky b'stadt, there's nothing like a cup final day out... »»Arsene Knows««
Report Abuse
25/02/2007 13:11:00

1-nil to the arsenal.....WALCOTT!!!!!!
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25/02/2007 15:14:00

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25/02/2007 15:15:00

Offside goal by Drogba....BRUTAL!
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25/02/2007 15:20:00

trust chelsea to score of an offside :(
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25/02/2007 15:23:00

I'm missing the whole match. Watch the games on the computer and i got infected by like 2000 viruses
Youngest in Charge
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25/02/2007 15:27:00

ok evrything is back on track for now. Youngins are owning them.
Youngest in Charge
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25/02/2007 15:42:00

Why do the officials insist on giving all of these handouts to Chelski! Allow an Offside goal...then flag Drogba in the exact same postion minutes corner on droolbag's touch of Aliadiere's try on goal...Essien run's his cleats up the Beast's chest, no red card......nothing will be sweeter than to win against these odds, kids or not. You'd think Chelski playing their all-star XI would not warrant help from the officials...guess so. SAD
Report Abuse
25/02/2007 15:45:00

We actually dominated the first half and should of been up by at least 1 goal but poor decisions by the linesman and attacking players have let us down.
Report Abuse
25/02/2007 15:50:00

SUX2BU so true, how many more decisions do they need to go their way to play on a level playing field with our reserves team. Funnily enough our 'reserves' team is playing a better game than our 1st team did against them.
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25/02/2007 15:53:00

Too true...very impresive 55%-45%poss for the kids in the half. The red card on Essien was more wishful thinking than deserved, but the linesmen are definitely on crack....even Sky agrees - questioning what the hell the linesman was looking at on that Drogba goal! We have a half to go, and Hleb and Adebayor waiting to turn it up when needed. Otherwise this is an epic match.
Report Abuse
25/02/2007 15:56:00

Terry just got knocked the **** out!
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25/02/2007 16:18:00

He could have been killed you moron.
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25/02/2007 16:20:00

I think Terry just got *****eed up!
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25/02/2007 16:21:00

Man it looks pretty bad :( hope he is ok.
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25/02/2007 16:22:00

Relax...I in now way made a joke about it...I'll save the jokes for when Terry is back, healthy and wearing a matching helmet with Cech.
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25/02/2007 16:25:00

McLaren actually looked more worried than Moron-yo
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25/02/2007 16:26:00

Oh no Diaby looks to be injured :( and he was playing so well.
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25/02/2007 16:32:00

sounds like probably just a concussion - that would be good news
Report Abuse
25/02/2007 16:33:00

Why did he take Ali out? he was playing way better than the beast.
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25/02/2007 16:45:00

What is going on? My internet connection went away and now there are 3 redcards.
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25/02/2007 17:00:00

I'm not even 1% thrilled.I would give this cup away, if it meant gettin terry back.
Report Abuse
25/02/2007 17:03:00

The cup's dirty anyway after that mess - I wish Terry well, but that match was handed to Chelsea. I'd rather have lost in pk's from inexperience than lose by an offside goal.
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25/02/2007 17:05:00

Chelsea grind out yet another result. but the kids gave an excellent account of themselves. this losing experience will serve them really well and spur them on to bigger things for the future. The future is great, the future is RED & WHITE..
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25/02/2007 17:23:00

great performance by the young Gunners. Hope Terry is well and I wish him a speedy recovery.
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25/02/2007 17:37:00

Did anyone see Diaby crying on his knees when Terry was getting the medical attention. the lad has been through a horrifici injury himself and seeing terry down n out like that really hurt him. and hope JT isn't hurt too badly. never nice to see any player suffer any sort of injury and hope JT makes a swift recovery and we'll see him back on the pitch very soon..
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25/02/2007 17:38:00

The kids played well, but you have to wonder about Wenger when he insists on playing senderos against drogba knowing fully well he just cannot cope with him. It should have been Djourou, who is both quicker & stronger than senderos. Must admit though Drogba's second was a superb header. I hope JT is ok, I wouldn't wish a serious injury on any football player. Loved the way sky made a massive deal about the brawl but totally overlooked the chelski fans disgusting behaviour throughout that match.
Ashburton Gooner
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25/02/2007 17:41:00

First things first...I wish terry well. But I wonder why the red to Adi..As far as I know he was trying to seperate the players esp Fab, suddenly he gets red. I think we lost becoz of linesman,inexperience and pitch which was not at all conducive to the play we can put together. But credits to Chelsea who were strong as the game went on. My man of the match would be Robben. He is probably the ONLY player I would want in the current Arsenal setup(when Jens leaves, I would want Peter).
Report Abuse
25/02/2007 17:42:00

Don't think you can blame the linesman really. I was livid at the time but in reality the decisions are so tight they cannot get them all right.
Ashburton Gooner
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25/02/2007 17:49:00

You're right AG, the chelsea fans were pitiful. Did you see them throwing crap at Fabregas during the corner kicks? Come on, now. That's just stupid. And yeah, I saw Diaby crying on his knees. It's such a shame such a thing happened. I personally felt the bite of Arsenal's attack ended right then and there. As for the brawl, I'm just clueless in general. I didn't listen to the commentary and really still have no idea why Adebayor got sent off. And I agree with AB, I would've thought Baptista should've been taken out instead of Ali.
Report Abuse
25/02/2007 18:46:00

Well done AFC.Your players did you proud and you were very unlucky not to lift the cup.I think you were slightly naive at the back but going forward you were super slick and a joy to watch.Some of your football was fantastic and I would rather watch Arsenal then Chelsea play any day.When you are on fire you are on fire and these were mostly youngsters.I am neither an Arsenal fan or Chelsea so this is my unbiased view.From a Shrimper dreaming of playing in a final one day.All the best..
Ed Junior
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25/02/2007 18:55:00

I agree 100% with AG on playing Senderos. The guy has no pace and a bad first touch. I will always start Djourou infront of Senderos. Senderos is Pascal Cygan no 2 for me. As for the match i lift my hat off for the effort put up by the young lads against the seasoned professionals. Nobody could ve told that chelski were the league champions. As for the first Drogba goal I will have to blame Almunia a little bit as well. Why didnt he ground his right foot properly is beyond me. Had it been Lehman he would ve stood tall and big as he did against Ronaldo form Manusa. Almunia makes some basic mistakes like he left some space for Eto on the near post in the last seasons final. So for me he is not good enough for the first team and if Jens goes in the summer we have to buy some big name keeper.
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25/02/2007 21:09:00

apparantly adyb got sent off cos he was pushed by a chelsea player into another chelsea player who then fell into the back of wayne bridge! who is was disgusted in for diving and lying down as if been shot, when in actual fact he was caught by his own player! seems as if terry is alright, so thats good. but as for the final, one i will want to forget. cant blame the linesmen, they have one chance and its impossible to watch the ball and player! we have all this tv technology that the 4th official can see and bith sets of teams, yet it has no influence on the game. im afraid to say that it is time tv tech was used. too much at stake nowadays-take a leaf out of rugby and cricket, and at least have a fair result. also stoppages of the clock for injuries etc... then at 90mins that is full time!¬ not waiting to c how long the ref allows. terry down for 7 mins, 5 subs, stoppages etc... way more than 7 mins! anyway its been a long day, and a **** one. im off to bed!
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25/02/2007 22:21:00


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