After a big win against Manchester City last weekend attention switched to the Mickey Mouse Cup and at the start of the week was all hype about the prospect of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (JET) starting against Newcastle. Wenger gave an interview in which he talked up JET so much we all expected him to make an impact similar to the one made by Jack Wilshere – who has been ‘like a new signing’ this season!
Despite the interview, JET was given a seven minute cameo appearance, leaving me (and probably him) wondering what he has to do to get a start and why he wasn’t sent out on loan. Another season in the reserves is certainly not going to help his progress! Hopefully an easier draw in the next round might mean he does finally get some playing time. After watching him in a reserve game when Setanta still had Arsenal TV I have been excited about seeing him get a chance in the first team. When out on loan last season he was too good for the Championship and he is certainly too good for the reserves!!!
One thing the Mickey Mouse Cup did demonstrate was our strength in depth. We started our third choice goalkeeper, second choice full backs and fourth choice centre back, yet we still kept a clean sheet. In midfield Denilson is not not seen as a regular first teamer and that is an improvement on last season. Eastmond was given a chance in midfield and didn’t do much wrong. Rosicky owes us games after all his injuries and might also be seen as back up for Arshavin, Fabregas and Nasri. Our front three of Vela, Bendtner and Walcott are all youngsters, albeit experienced youngsters. If you were putting our first and second elevens on paper (as I have below – writing out football formations is a hobby of mine) it is likely that all three forwards would feature in our second eleven. The point I am making is that whilst Wenger fielded what seemed to be a strong team, it was still made up of youth/fringe players. Below for arguments sake are two teams, the starting eleven from the Newcastle game and a possible eleven from those who didn’t start. Only Koscielny, Rosicky and maybe Walcott might argue for a place in the other eleven. (Oh and please don’t comment on the formations, they are only for arguments sake, there is a thread on the forum for discussing your starting eleven and formation click here to join in the discussion )
So Wenger is still using the Mickey Mouse Cup to play fringe players, it just happens that our fringe players are much more experienced than they were in the past.
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