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League Cup Preview: Arsenal/WBA and ascending the heights

Dominic Sanchez-Cabello

Yes, before you ask, I still hate Stoke.

The problem with Bendtner is that people tend to remember his oddities off the pitch as opposed to his merits on it. He may be a more talented player than Giroud, faster and with a defter touch. But Giroud isn’t a tool and sometimes not being a tool can outweigh natural flare. I expect Bendtner is the sort of player Wenger would often like to shake, if he was physically capable that is. He is a large man after all…

If you cast his recent foolishness aside, you’ll be left with some impressive moments: that goal against Ipswich; the looping header at Stoke; his touch at St James Park and most notably a majestic performance at the Hawthorns, which brings me neatly to today’s game.

A Match preview, for the 3rd round, of the Capital One Cup, away to West Brom – that’s one of those titles that as you read become less and less engaging. But do continue…

Apparently, The Hawthorns has the highest altitude of any stadium in the football league. A whopping 168m above sea level if you didn’t know. To put that into perspective the Emirates is only 31 metres above sea level. So, it’s no wonder West Brom away can sometimes be a tricky fixture.

The altitude, it gets to us… the thin air makes the ball swerve and it is only natural that men become queasy at such heights! Poor old Bendtner and his sub-prime physical shape – I fear for him, I really do.

I was impressed with Gnabry at the weekend; he has that perfect football build like Rooney and Maradona and used it well. He won the ball 3 times in the first 30 minutes and was able to resist the general thuggery, well until his countryman, who incidentally is 11 years older, 15kg heavier and about 20cm taller took him out. Courageous stuff Huth…

I haven’t watched West Brom this season, so I can only really echo what you already know.

They sold Odemwingie and replaced him with the slightly inferior Sessègnon. Thankfully they’ve lost Lukaku, a player I’d happily exchange a kidney for if it meant Arsenal signing. They have signed Anelka though, possibly one of the best strikers I’ve seen, but we’ll be facing him as a rich, disinterested 34 year old.

Guessing the team is tricky, but I suspect it’ll look something like this:

                                                       Fabianski

         Jenkinson                Per                 Vermaelen           Monreal

                                             Arteta            Flamini

                      Gnabry                   Eisfeld                         Ryo

                                                       Bendtner

 

Hmmm I’m struggling for things to write… did I tell you the Hawthorns has the highest altitude of any stadium in the Football League?? I did? A few lines ago? Drat.

Anyone watch Leyton Orient the other night? No? Hmmm…

Swindon – Chelsea?

Nope? Fair enough. I’ll go now…

Add something Tony…

Dom.

Last three Premier League matches between the high ground and low…

  • WBA 1 Arsenal 2 (Rosicky 2), April 2013
  • Arsenal 2 (Arteta 2) WBA 0, December 2012
  • WBA 2 Arsenal 3 (Benayoun, Santos, Koscielny), May 2012
  • And…Arsenal are the second highest scorers in the Premier League this season and have scored fractionally under three times as many goals as WBA.  However Arsenal have let in two more goals than WBA.  So far WBA have won one, drawn two and lost two.  Arsenal have won four and lost one.

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51 comments to League Cup Preview: Arsenal/WBA and ascending the heights

  • Digvijay

    Frimpong is not even travelling. I have been going on about it on twitter, but nobody thinks it is amiss that frimpong is not even travelling!!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Well Dom if I look at the list on arsenal.com you are wrong on a few players.

    Wenger took Per along so I guess we will see a defence of Jenks-Per-TV-Monreal. Rather good I think.

    No sign of Frimpong but both Arteta and Flamini are there. I guess one will start and that will be Arteta to give a bit of cover.

    Maybe we will see Gnabry in midfield as he can play there also. Or will Eisfeld get his chance?

    I think we will surely start with Bendtner up front assisted by Ryo I think and then Gnabry or Akpom depending on where Gnabry will play.

    Maybe a first game for Viviano also?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Digvijay,
    I also expected Frimpong to travel to be honest. Maybe he is injured? But he was on the bench lately if I remember correct? Or has he missed the last chance?

  • Dominic Sanchez Cabello

    Cheers ^^

    Yeah, my mistake. Will teach me to get my match preview in early! I wonder what happened to Frimpong though – always seemed pretty good.

    Vermaelen, Per, Flamini and Arteta gives us a solid base to work with… if they all play of course.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Hmmnnn….”Mysterious absence of Mani”. Wonder what happened?.

    Was Park training?????….pics say so.

  • swing

    I think arteta needs the game time & we also need to win the game so I’m thinking arteta starts and if we are in trouble Flamini should be able to cover so no space for Frimpong really.

  • AL

    I think this team will be good enough to cause WBA problems. Who is the ref(sorry, not implying anything but just had to check:-))

  • Tasos

    @AL

    West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal
    Referee: ROBERT MADLEY
    Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt and Simon Bennett
    Fourth Official Howard Webb

    Never heard of Mr Madley?

    Here’s a list of his lower league matches so far.

    http://www.soccerbase.com/referees/referee.sd?referee_id=1189

  • Tasos

    Oh Mr Madley is from West Yorkshire.

    West Yorkshire is north of Watford and not anywhere near the very populated South East of England.

  • alex

    Kind of surprised Frimmy`s absence but not worried.Games are coming thick and fast and surely Frimmy will play on other fixtures I guess.

    All eyes will be on Bendtner and i wish him to do well.

  • Tasos

    I’d personally like to see at least one or two youngsters get a run out tonight but the squad Arsene has chosen also looks to have plenty of experience.

    This competition was all about Arsenal’s development players. Chuba Akpom, Hector Bellerin, Thomas Eisfeld, Serge Gnabry, Isaac Hayden and Kristoffer Olsson have all caught the eye for one reason or another and if chosen to play, I’d be almost more interested in watching how these young talents develop, or not, as the case maybe.

    As always COYG

  • Wooby

    I think Olsson will start alongside Arteta in the heart of MF to give Flamini a bit of a breather. We will then have a rotation of Flamini / Arteta alongside Rambo for the upcoming PL + CL games. Jack will need stay out on the left for those games until Cazorla comes back.

    Rather telling that Frimpong is not even named in the squad. He’s well down the pecking order for the double pivot positions behind Rambo, Arteta, Flamini, Jack (who will rotate there after Cazorla + Poldi return from their injuries). Diaby will be back at some point too. I’m guessing if Diaby comes back healthy in January, Frimpong will either be sold or loaned out.

  • Just to make it easier to see without leaving the page, here’s the list of players who have gone.

    4 Per Mertesacker
    5 Thomas Vermaelen
    8 Mikel Arteta
    13 Emiliano Viviano
    17 Nacho Monreal
    20 Mathieu Flamini
    21 Lukasz Fabianski
    23 Nicklas Bendtner
    25 Carl Jenkinson
    30 Ju-Young Park
    31 Ryo
    37 Chuba Akpom
    40 Hector Bellerin
    42 Thomas Eisfeld
    44 Serge Gnabry
    45 Isaac Hayden
    53 Kristoffer Olsson
    60 Alex Iwobi

    Let’s not forget that players get those ordinary things we all suffer from like upset stomachs, colds, twisted ankle from tripping up a kerb… It doesn’t have to be a full blown footballing injury to keep Frimpong out of the side.

  • AL

    Cheers Tasos. Haven’t heard about Madley too, hope he ain’t anything like the rest from up north.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Mr Madley started in the Prem last year with a game at West Brom v Southampton. Correctly sent off three players so knows when to brandish the card. No reviewed games yet so nothing to give me anything to analyse. New to Arsenal and only part time in the Prem so far – one game I think so far this season he has been in the lower leagues on the weeks he hasn’t been in the prem.

  • AL

    Ah, ok, thanks Andrew. Perhaps because he doesn’t do so many premiership games that might make him want to do well when he gets the chance. Sounds like he is ok.

  • Mahdain

    I am not liking this referee.. Looks like he got his memo on how to climb ranks in PGMOL

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree Mahdain, letting a lot go for them, including what looked a two foot tackle and booking our players whenever possible, or so it seems to my untrained ref eye

  • rantetta

    My God.

    WBA didn’t even play like that in the 70’s. I see dear Howard was 4th overseer – there to guide a soon to be promoted ref – in the dark arts. Utterly disgusting!

    The way those cheats stomped about in the first 30 mins? Result – 2 yellow cards – for Arsenal players.

    There’ll be a lot of very bruised and sore players coming back to London, presuming the WBA hospitality doesn’t extend to sending a lynch mob to the away dressing room.

    That sort of stuff was going on at Bradford, as always, rewarded.

  • rantetta

    At first (dodgy) sight I had the impression our players were brave. A couple of the youngsters missed their passes after periods of seeming intimidation or pressure but they all done there best to defend.

    I need a second look at this match.

    Well done that team.

  • Tasos

    Well done to the youngsters.

    Pen kicks.

    Whoever gets through has a home tie against Chelsea.

  • Tasos

    Nacho Nacho man!!

  • C4

    Woohoo!
    West Brom 3 – 4 Arsenal Kids

  • WalterBroeckx

    OMG Did you see what it meant to the young lads. Feel very sorry for Gnabry that he almost screwed it up there. The boy hardly could walk any more in extra time but didn’t shy away from taking a penalty (and I knew he didn’t have the strength anymore – or just felt it)

    Oh never mind, we have passed it and only one regular first teamer on the field but Per had to play 120 mins today. Hope it doesn’t affect him later on

  • Mandy Dodd

    Heroic – that was a very young team and not much help from the ref either
    Need some serious recovery time for the likes of Gnabry but great experience for them

  • rantetta

    Oh. What’s happening? I didn’t know there was extra time let alone penalties.

    Duh!

  • C4

    A year ago we would have gone out on penalties.

    This is great, the belief is infecting the kids too. I’m proud of these youngsters for taking out a Prem team.

    The Arsenal Juggernaut thunders on.

  • bjtgooner

    Great win for the young team, but not for the faint hearted!

    Very impressed with some of those young guys!

  • C4

    So that’s 11 away wins in a row, is it?

  • Pat

    Great win for the young lads. And Per and Nacho. And Fabianski. Well done!

  • rantetta

    OK. I see the comments above my cry for help.

    That’s fantastic and amazing.

    And it’s 11 away wins, yes. Cos if we’d lost the shoot-out, it would by all means, have been a loss.

    Funny how the preceding article was about being top of the injury list??

  • Pat

    And Arteta. And anyone else I might have missed out.

  • Pat

    How could I forget! Nicklas Bendtner! Definitely not a young lad any more. Happy to see you again!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hooray, the AAA kept at bay, for another day…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Next round at home against Chelsea.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mandy Dodd,

    I think I heard a few typing with angry fingers finally they could start their moaning again…but then they had to push…delete 🙂

  • AL

    Well done! Didn’t watch but it sounds like the refs were up to no good again.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think you heard right Walter along with the sharpening of media knives

  • bjtgooner

    @Walter

    Was it angry fingers or front claws?

  • Mahdain

    Today reminded me again why i hate penalty shootouts. My heart just cant seem to handle them but thank god we made it through. Our young guns deserve a lot of credit for the determination and balls they shown.Well done boys
    Mr Madley didnt impress me one bit and my first impression of him is same old PGMOL referee who lets opponents kick us to pieces while giving the first booking to our players. Some may argue that Hayden deserved a red but i thought a booking was fair. Lugano`s foul however deserved a straight red as it was reckless two footed lunge and he let them off the hook so many times. Just one match but not impressed.

  • Mick

    Great result but appalling ref, though I suspect Riley would have been proud of him. Usual trick of booking the Arsenal guys early and a token redressing of the balance by booking a couple of West Brom players late in the game. And since when has a two footed, studs first challenge been only a yellow card? Robert Madley, we will be watching you.

  • Tom

    Dominic. Very funny . I like your style but I think you’re being a little harsh on Robert Huth. The man has a reputation to uphold. Isn’t his nickname “the Berlin Wall”?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Doubt if we will see this ref in the premiership despite his attempts this evening to impress Riley.

  • Gord

    @walter

    Looking at some of the newspaper pictures, I would suggest that Bendtner (stupid hairdo) and Mertesacker were just as happy as the younger players. But, I think the younger players owe Mertesacker a dinner or something. What did the average age of Arsenal end up at by the end of the game? 20?

    Congratulations to all!

  • elkieno

    I didnt watch the game cos over here it is on Setanta and I will not pay them any money anymore.
    ESPN are showing FA Cups so that’s fine for me, plus COC games are on early in the morning here in Oz.
    Loading up Arseblog’s live blog is always a good resource to follow the game while training it to work.
    The ref was up to usual PGMOL standards I see, but it is good to know that we can work around these issues with Refs now.
    Even better to know that our young fellas have beaten a PL team with first teamers using only 1 regular 1st teamer in Per!
    Do you think after the game v Stoke, Huth said sorry in German to Gnabry, surely he would have said something along lines of sorry mate, but this is EPL stage.
    Anyway, bring on Chelsea when is this game and I hope we can field a strong side without sacrificing other comps!
    COYG!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Wow…Good win for the youngsters. Stupid refereeing again.

    Finishing the game in 90 mins would have been better. No wonder, Gnabry and Ryo were limping in the end. BUT for the developmental reasons, game going into penalties was a good thing.

    Gnabry was unlucky, he and the keeper chose the same side. Nerves of steel, oh yes our young guns have those, played against an ‘overtly physical yet conveniently weak’ opposition and still maintained their composure. All the strikes (penalties) were on target. Cant say the same about the so called “experienced” internationals that the other team had…..

  • Asif

    Great performance by a young team…at the end of 120 mins I stood up and gave the team a standing ovation (of course in front of the TV)and said to myself that results not withstanding, the team had put in a very hard shift…and they had my respect even if we’d gone down.

    The future looks bright…the gumption and heart shown by these guys was inspirational. Just a scene from the match which I’ll not forget in a long time – CJ25 sprinting back full throttle in the 119th min to defend a counter attack and that is called desire, spirit, heart…

    Proud of you Gooners…COYG!

  • COYG! Young guns lets keep the spirit high lets go gunners.

  • rantetta

    An apology:

    I’ve now re-watched the whole match. When I 1st watched I’d swear WBA were pushing us around (fouling), especially in the first 30 mins. On watching again I didn’t see nearly as much fouling as I thought I had. Sure, there was the odd occasion when I thought a call went the wrong way, but overall, according to what I saw whilst watching again, it seems my real-time assessment of the ref was wrong, hence my apology.

    During the build-up prior to kick-off the commentator said that this ref is on the list and will be seen in the Prem this season.

    If I’m wrong about the reffing of the game, please let me know.

  • Gianni Dioro

    @Asif – I noticed Jenko there too sprinting back to cover late in extra time. He looked like a fresh, late 2nd half sub, not someone who had been playing for nearly 120 minutes. Great to see it.