Dec 052008

Tuesday night saw the end of our Carling Cup run, two soft goals and some less than impressive finishing meant that although the kids played pretty well, there was only really going to be one winner, especially once the first goal had gone to Burnley.

Of all the players, Bendtner has probably received the most flak, and somewhat harshly in my opinion. His running style is languid, which gives the impression of laziness, but he does a lot of good work in the link up play, best shown when a clever flick sent Randall through for one of the many one-on-ones their keeper saved. While it is true that he didn’t have a great game, he wasn’t really worse than anyone else.

In truth, no-one really deserves criticism, because it was an incredibly young side up against a team that might well be playing in the Premiership next season. And it could’ve gone either way. Bear in mind that this Burnley side knocked out Chelsea in the last round, and Chelsea fielded a far more experienced side that night.

No, it was fun while it lasted, and it is a shame that it is over, but these matches are but a fun distraction for the real business, which picks up again with the visit of Wigan this weekend. Anything less than a win would render the Chelsea victory just another false dawn, and would give the critics plenty of ammunition, especially given how emphatically those Carling Cup kids won the corresponding fixture a few weeks ago. And Wigan are likely to play a similar team, in fact it may be weaker with Zaki still injured.

The injury front is relevant to us, with any number of players carrying small knocks that may or may not keep them out. But with a practically meaningless Champions League match coming up midweek, this is the most important game coming up, and Wigan are a better side than their league position suggests.

Too often this season we’ve followed any high with a disappointing performance. But Cesc is two for two so far, and there’s no reason that run should not be extended.

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