GOALS ON THE MENU
Jermaine Jenas suspects one element of the game our Carling Cup semi-final will not be missing is goals!
Jermaine Jenas suspects one element of the game our Carling Cup semi-final will not be missing is goals!Collectively, the team have netted 63 goals in all competitions so far this season and have not failed to score in an encounter since the visit to Old Trafford in game four of the campaign.
The midfielder himself has contributed three to that collection, but was quick to admit his tally should perhaps have been increased by two on Saturday in the FA Cup against Reading, only to be denied on twice when through on goal.
"I could have," sighed the 24-year-old. "I've seen Reading play a similar formation before in the Cup against Manchester United and it worked for them playing man-to-man in a lot of areas. I was seeing a few gaps appearing, I was making the runs and getting in but I should have scored really. The second one was a half-decent save, while I didn't get the first one away quick enough.
"I made the 40-50 yard runs to get there in the first place and from one perspective I was happy that I was seeing these things and getting into positions. Next time I will hopefully stick one in the bottom corner," he added, before going on to muse on the subject of timing runs.
"It is something I have developed as I've picked up more experience. It is about seeing openings and knowing the right time to go as a midfielder. On Saturday my timing was good but the end result was not what I was looking for."
It is getting the right result against Arsenal that is occupying minds at the moment. As JJ pointed out, it is a special occasion anyway without the semi-final ingredient added to the heady mix.
Naturally he believes that there is a score to be settled after the disappointment of our last four exit from the competition last season.
"Of course, it is a cup tie as well as a local derby and they are always different. I remember last year, I have sore memories of that and we want to change it to the opposite feeling after that outcome," one which he agreed was an opportunity missed after being two goals to the good at half-time in the first leg at the Lane.
"Definitely, as against teams like Arsenal and Manchester United it doesn't matter if you are two or three up, if you don't keep going they will punish you as they always think they are still in the game. We have to be positive, the tie is the other way around this time and that might put a different swing on things with being able to bring them back to the Lane for the second game - that may help.
"I am very confident that we will score goals wherever we play. I don't think we have had a 0-0 draw this season and we know we can score. We are very confident going forward and if we can perform like in the Manchester City away game that got us to the semi-final or Portsmouth away and take little bits from games like that then defensively we will be a lot stronger as well.
"All the teams know the attacking threat we've got from all over the pitch and sometimes that can affect the game if the opposition ends up playing deeper, but the main thing we've got to do is be concentrated through both legs and get ourselves to that final."
Even though goals haven't exactly been at a premium of late, the England international reasoned that the fact this tie is conducted over two legs will have to enter the tactical thought process and be taken into consideration.
"I think you have to as it would be daft just to go out gung-ho in the first game thinking you can win the game four or five nil. If we could do that it would be great, don't get me wrong, we would love to bring a good lead back to the Lane, but these games over two legs are always very tactical.
"The boss is very aware of that as he is very experienced in that department - we'll play exactly how he tells us to play."
On the subject of tactics, it was only right to question JJ on his current hair strategy as it has not gone unnoticed that there has been rapid unchecked growth of late...
"I just fancied a change, I've had short hair since I was about 16. It is hard work and I don't like it at the minute! Hopefully the eventual stage will be alright or it will just come off again."