1. Carling Cup final: The search for the first trophy since 2005 continues. The search for a decent Arsenal ‘keeper continues. The search for winner mentality (à la United/Chelsea or pre-2005 Vieira era) continues. Congratulations to Birmingham. Simple game plan, the good ol’ school of English football: direct long ball to Zigic (who always won the header against Koscielny and Djourou) and see what happened next. Not to mention that Ben Foster was inspired throughout the game. And, to think of it, they are still in the FA cup as well. A tournament specialist, eh?
2. Via ESPN: “Van Persie has missed 42.75% of their Premier League games (109/255) since he moved to North London, [and] their win ratio when he starts (78%) is significantly higher than when he doesn’t (56%).” The good news is van Persie is really good. The bad news is he hurt himself during the Carling Cup final and he will be out for a month. You see, you could argue that Monseigneur Van Persie is the Most Valuable Player of Arsenal. (Or, van Persie’s injuries simply paralleled Fabregas’.) A win ratio of 78% is equal to 91 points in a season while a win ratio of 56% is equal to 64 points. So it comes from championship level to sixth place level. And, if you calculated the mean, the expected points of Arsenal in a season is 0.5725*91 + 0.4275*64 = 79.5 (actual mean in RVP era: 74.67). What does it mean? It means that Arsenal is a perennially Champions League contestant which never actually wins the title.
3a. Chelsea: Thank you. Hopefully we will not render your effort in vain.
3b. Liverpool: Please repeat what Chelsea did. I fully support your quest for Europa League this year — and next year.
(Although I guess you should not totally depend on the results of other team if you want to become the champion.)
3c. Man Utd: See you in the quarter final of FA Cup! See you in the title decider on May 1st! (Hopefully Arsenal will still be relevant by that time.)
4. Injury report: Van Persie (knee), Fabregas (hamstring), Walcott (ankle), and Vermaelen (Achilles). That’s four members of our starting line-up.
5. Next: At home to Sunderland! Arsenal’s recent home form is superb, as they have won the last eight games at home in all competition, but Sunderland is good. Predicted line-up:
(After Sunderland: Barca and Man Utd!)