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A Trophy in Sight

Arsenal have progressed in to the semi finals of the League Cup. With the other big powers of English football out of the competition, Arsenal might finally have a chance to win their first trophy in five years.

After a long wait of five years, at last, Arsenal look set to lay their hands on some silverware. The English League Cup, or the Carling Cup as some know it, seems very likely to have the London club’s name on it by the end of this season, as other strong opposition have been bundled out of the competition. Only four teams remain in the competition, and standing in Arsenal’s path to glory are Ipswich Town, West Ham United and Birmingham City.

Long gone are the days when Arsenal saw the League Cup as test tube to experiment with its toddlers, a stage to give its relatively unknown and very young talents a chance to shine. Not that the current crop vying for the title are grey hairs. However, the current team possesses more experienced men, much more household names and enough muscle to push when it comes to shove.

Arsenal progressed to the semi finals of the tournament beating Wigan 2-0 at the Emirates, a result that was enhanced in joy when Manchester United crashed 4-0 to Premier League sediment West Ham. West Ham stunned the footballing world with the result, sparking joy and frolic at Ashburton Grove. Meanwhile Arsenal have been drawn to take on Ipswich Town in the semi finals, a club currently managed by former United great Roy Keane. Its matter of speculation whether the former midfield tough guy will be in charge by the time the fixture gets played out on the green, but that should not be the concern for Arsene and the boys.

Arsenal have been handed a golden opportunity to end their trophy drought in the League Cup and it is imperative that the boys grab the opportunity with both hands. All that the team needs to do is keep their heads and continue playing some decent football. West Ham and Birmingham City are the only other Premier League clubs in the fray. West Ham is at the twentieth position while Birmingham is a tad better at fourteen. On paper neither of them should give Arsenal any migraine, but going by the Gunner’s reputation of messing up easily winnable matches, it will not be over until the final whistle.

West Ham has truly proved that they deserve to be in the semi finals with their imperial performance against the current champions Manchester United. They dominated the game and allowed United no leeway and were quick to capitalise on the defensive errors by the United back four. West Ham will surely be a dangerous opponent. Their reputation is sure to go ahead of them. Add to that, Avram Grant’s incredible panache for success in tournaments and you have a formidable opponent in West Ham, someone you would take lightly only at your own peril.

He lead Chelsea to within one converted penalty of a Champions League title and dragged lowly Portsmouth to an entirely unexpected FA Cup win, the latter happening when the Pompey had already been relegated from the Premier League and the players were in the dark as to when their next pay check would arrive. In such a manager, whom you would not suspect of such charisma by his looks, does the strength of West Ham lie and Arsenal would have to bring out their best if they are to meet West Ham in the Cup final.

Of more immediate concern to Gunner’s cause would be Ipswich Town, the Championship team. The Tractor Boys beat West Brom to advance to the semi finals and are capable of springing a few surprises if Arsenal choose to doze off. Though Arsenal appear to be overwhelming favourites to win the fixture and the competition, events of the past week would be lesson enough to the Gunners that unless they give their centum, the job would not be done.

Arsenal has bounced back from the horrible results against Spurs and Braga by beating Villa and then progressing to semi finals of the League Cup. These games are examples enough to show that if Arsenal give their hundred percent throughout a game, we have enough quality to beat anyone. However, if Arsenal choose to rest on their laurels midway through a match then we may as well as wave the match goodbye.

Arsenal have a golden chance to win a trophy and use it as a springboard to mount a successful title challenge in the Premier League and other competitions. It is up to the boys to deliver at this final stage and realise their dreams and aims of kissing a trophy.

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