|City have been enjoying a run of success|
The excitement surrounding the impending tie with Arsenal is rapidly increasing-you can feel the rumble of anticipation whenever you set foot in the ground.
Big ties bring big things with them: the dreams of defeating one of the country’s most prolific teams; the huge cheque after the TV rights have been sold to Sky; the thrill of seeing players from a humble club play on the same pitch as the big guns. What is arguably City’s biggest money-spinner in recent years has definitely not failed to get people talking.
Now that the debate about the tickets has subsided and the ground configuration has been confirmed (The Arsenal supporters will occupy the Midland Road stand.), just one question remains: will Bradford City ultimately emerge victorious?
In my opinion, they will.
Of late, Arsenal have been undeniably sloppy and inconsistent. Their midweek game against Shalke saw them surrender a two-goal cushion following some poor, error-ridden defending, as well as miss the chance to snatch victory when Walcott was through on goal. As a result, Arsenal’s Champions League hopes hang precariously in the balance.
History repeated itself less than a week later, when they threw away a 2-0 lead over Fulham just moments after acquiring it. To add insult to injury, Mikel Arteta was denied an added-time winner after his poorly taken penalty (Rejoice, City fans!) was saved by Mark Schwarzer.
The clash with Reading entailed a similar story, with Arsenal’s dysfunctional, uninspiring defending resulting in the former firing in three-and after just 20 minutes. By half time, the score was 4-1, and many Arsenal fans had even started leaving the ground.
Although the visitors did come back to win the game, any football fan will admit that the Gunners should never have found themselves in such a position to begin with. For a team who are supposed to be competing with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City, it’s all a bit much. Many are beginning to dismiss Arsenal’s chances of winning the title-they’re already 11 points behind United-and Wenger is finding his methods scrutinised extensively.
City, on the other hand, have lost only one of their last 9 games. Contrast this to Arsenal’s one win in four League games, and the odds are beginning to fall in the Bantams’ favour.
I’m not denying that Arsenal’s squad is threatening. Jack Wiltshire is undoubtedly going to cause problems all over the park and Walcott’s crosses will keep our defence on their toes. However, our back four are solid, and we’ve got plenty of attacking force of our own: Wells’ pace will cause a whole host of problems for the already shaky Arsenal defence, whilst the speed and skills of Reid and Hines should help to strengthen Bradford’s offensive play.
And, if the game goes to penalties, Arsenal will be quaking in their Premier League boots.
Over the weekend, we saw Arteta crumble under the pressure, as he tried to convert his spot-kick, and we’re all aware of City’s incredible penalty record.
At the same time, though, we’ve got to be wary of Arsenal’s newly secured status as comeback kings and make sure that we don’t give them any chances to fire themselves ahead.My dream outcome? Simple: City to win 3-0 on penalties.