Arsenal v WBA: the style, approach, players, prediction

By Phil Gregory

West Brom, managed by Roberto Di Matteo (formerly of MK Dons) are Arsenal’s opponents in the Carling Cup on Tuesday.

They will undoubtedly be coming into this match on a wave of confidence, having beaten Middlesborough 5-0 at the Riverside, and holding a one point lead over Newcastle at the top of the Championship.

West Brom were my tip to storm the Championship this season, with their attractive brand of football all the stronger for a season of Premier League football. The defection of Tony Mowbray to Celtic threatened to rock the boat, but their season has started off well, with a draw against Newcastle and then three successive away wins.

WBA are unbeaten this season, though needed extra time to get a 4-3 win at home to Rotherham in the previous round.


Arsenal have been knocked off top spot of the Premier League injury table, but still have eight players out. Denilson is expected to be out for a couple more weeks with a back injury, Almunia is back fit after a chest infection, as is Theo Walcott. Andrei Arshavin and Vela are expected to be short for Tuesday, while long term absentees Djourou, Nasri and Fabianksi are also out.

Other absentees who would otherwise be considered for this game are Lansbury and EmmanuelThomas (on loan at Watford and Blackpool respectively) along with Fran Merida and Gavin Hoyte ( away on U20 internationals).

West Brom are missing Marek Cech with a twisted ankle and Ismael Miller (who suffered a recurrence of a cruciate injury in pre-season).

Injury news for West Brom is somewhat lacking at this moment in time, I’ll try and post more in a comment once they release a pre-match statement.

Arsenal predicted team:


Gilbert Silvestre Senderos Gibbs


Randall Ramsey

Barazite Watt Wilshere

Subs: Mannone, Bartley, Deacon, Murphy, Ozyakup, Freeman, Boateng

If it wasn’t for our injuries, Mannone would likely be between the sticks for us, but Szczesny seems likely to get a chance after some very promising displays at reserve level.

Senderos and Silvestre both need game time so are likely to get the nod ahead of promising Reserves skipper Kyle Bartley. Coquelin seems likely to make his Carling Cup bow this season, with Ramsey and the ever-present Randall partnering him in midfield. Barazite is likely to play in attack after an impressive loan spell at Derby last season, with Watt up front and Wilshere completing the attack on the left.

Key Men:

Arsenal’s midfield three should be up to the task of dealing with the Championship leader’s midfield – Ramsey has acquitted himself well at the Emirates in bigger competitions than the Carling Cup, Randall could almost be called experienced at this level and Coquelin made a name for himself with some stellar performances for the second string last season. Expect Ramsey and Coquelin in particular to shine.

Jack Wilshere will hope a good performance will put him into the reckoning for more Premier League action given the injuries to players ahead of him in the pecking order. Much will be expected of Kieran Gibbs after his breakthrough season last year as well as being one of the top performers in last year’s Carling Cup.

West Brom’s Marek Cech is a big loss for them, though Czech Roman Bednar’s pace may trouble the cumbersome pairing of Senderos and Silvestre. Graham Dorrans, the Scottish midfielder, has been in good form and tops the Championship assist charts this season.


Tricky one to call. I’d normally confidently back our young Guns against anyone at home, but we are missing some big players in Lansbury and Merida. The defence should be up the task of keeping them out, especially our experienced central defence partnership.

The midfield too has all the tools to dominate the middle of the park, with Ramsey’s eye for a pass well allied to Coquelin’s all-action physical style. Jack Wilshere can be relied on to light up the left hand flank, though we must take into account West Brom’s excellent form this season. If they put out a first team, it’ll be tight, 1-0 or 2-1 to the Arsenal. If they rest players with an eye on the league we should coast it 3-0.

As ever, comments below and I’ll do my best to reply.

See you on Friday for the Fulham preview!
Editor’s note: my sincere apologies to Phil – this post appeared initially without his name on.  Entirely my error – Tony

16 Replies to “Arsenal v WBA: the style, approach, players, prediction”

  1. Arsene Wenger has said , on that Vela would play and Traore, who seems to be forgotten by everyone, will also have a place.
    Hope the young guns can get past this opposition and give another nice performance just like last year. The opposition looks stronger this time around. But an excellent moment to show us what they can do.

  2. The inclusion of Vela has taken everyone by surprise Walter – the last posting on the injury section of the site gave no clue that he was ready. And Traore came off in his last reserve game with a suspected hamstring.

    But back to Vela, this is terrific news. It means that for next weekend we will probably have

    Rosicky a bit fitter
    Eduardo just about at full fitness

    That is one hell of a bunch to add to the squad that won 4-0 on saturday.

  3. I really hope they all get fit so we can rotate a bit. And for Vela, I really love this kid. The goals he made already at that age… you really must have loads of talent to spot the possibility and then to excecute it as well.
    Cross our fingers that he can play and is fully fit. Well if I was AW, but then again … , if Theo is fully fit I would risk him tomorow to see how far he is. Even on the bench (if he doesnt get injured there) and bring him later on to give him a run.
    But I ain’t no Wenger so I guess he will do what he thinks is good.

  4. Thats my gud news of the day good men of the gunners . . VELA is my bestestestest player at arsenal youngsters level if theres any . . . his technic , ability , unpredictability and his calmness infront of goal is unimaginable for his age . . . a future world player of the year ! ! ! !

  5. this hopefully will be the team line up…







    ……………………………..CARLOS VELA…………………………………




  6. sorry messi but merida is away on u20’s duty, though do agree on the score, maybe 4-1 consolation goal as we seem to ‘present’ to teams… can’t wait to see vela playing again, too bad i have work tomorrow evening, will have to watch highlights 🙁

  7. With the news on Vela and Traore I’d expect the line up to be

    Gilbert Senderos Silvestre Gibbs
    Randall Coquelin
    Ramsey Wilshere Traore
    Shea, Bartley, Barazite, Watt, Henderson, Frimpong, Murphy

  8. merida is away to the WC under 20 Messi,and please no Randall this guy will never make it at arsenal,he cant even break first team in the championship .
    great news with vela but i don’t think he will play 90mn (back from injury) maybe coming 2ND half.
    for Gilbert , if he play , i hope he take his chance with both hand because it s his last chance.i ve always been impress by him so finger cross after a good season in league one

    i hope wenger go this team
    gilbert senderos silvestre gibbs
    ramsey barazite
    wilshere bendy watt
    traore and vela come 2ND half

  9. Very good news about Vela. Traore can also get a chance to mature a bit more with his crossings from the left channel. The way he bombs down that left flank is sometimes pleasing to the eye. It should be a good test for our young guys.

  10. Walter: There will be, of course, some errors in the team that I put up – I didn’t get to see the latest ArsenalTV interview as my computer was playing up. Teamsheet is always just an educated guess! I left Traore out completely as I had no idea where he has been – I had no idea why he hasn’t been on the bench recently, and there was no injury news.

    Tony: Spot on! I think we’re alle excited!

    Messi: I was under the impression frimpong was injured?

  11. No bad intention from me, Phil. I sometimes predict a line up on our site and…. if I get near the teamsheet half of the time I consider myself lucky.
    Those youngster heal quick I guess.

  12. I must admit, i love the Carling Cup as it gives us a chance to see all the great young talent coming though at the club, future star of the Arsenal team, Francis Coqulin, what a player!!

  13. Let me just say I’m not a Spurs fan.
    I go to Barnet or non league or rugby on a Saturday but……
    with all due respect the whole Arsenal youth set up is ridiculous.
    Millions and millions of pounds are spent all around the world (unlike the West Ham Youth Team precious little seems to be spent in London) on a group of players who:
    (a) have limited the chances of the club winning a trophy (unsuccessful since 2005),
    (b) never make the first team (who was the last Arsenal youngster to make 100, or even 50, first team appearances?) and,
    (c) bully and patronize the likes of Sheffield U. or WBA who spend peanuts in comparison on their teams.
    The Sheffield manager must have been pretty close to sack last season after the 6-0 defeat.

    In the end, what’s it all for?
    I really can’t see an end product.

  14. Sean,
    with all due respect to you as well,

    in case you didn’t read the purpose of Untold Arsenal, I suggest you vent your anger somewhere else, preferably on the Twickenham or Barnet website. Out of interest, are you aware that Barnet have just completed a state of the art multi million pound new training centre.

  15. Are you really sure about the first line Sean ? 😉
    Well I guess Sean that from the current first squad there are players like Cesc and Bendtner who came through the youth and carling cup games to the first team.
    It is not so that you set up a youth system and that from day one you get result.
    Yesterday you saw a lot of players who are playing for the Arsenal for many years like Wilshere, Watt (to focus on the local boys) who can make it. Wilshere and Watt play for the Arsenal from the age of 10 or so.
    So yes it takes time.

    But you are right no one will ever know if they really gona make it, but if you dont try it, you can be sure that you will have nothing.
    Some teams don’t even have a reserve team anymore.

  16. Sure about the first line, can’t stand Tottenham.
    They’re going the same way as West Ham, Portsmouth and Southampton if ‘Good ‘ol Harry’ is still there next year.

    And, yes, hopefully the Barnet centre will benefit the team and the community. In their case it really is early days.

    I can assure you, I’m not angry (no skin off my nose), I’m merely perplexed.

    West Ham clearly have other issues, mainly keeping their youth players in the first place, but in a recent Man.U. v. Chelsea game there were about six or seven of their youth academy on the pitch.
    Their players clearly make the grade under Tony Carr at Chadwell Heath.

    The two ‘most likely to succeed’ in recent years at Arsenal appear to be the two coached at Southampton and Cardiff.

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating, surely, and ‘the eating’ shouldn’t be the League Cup.
    Will any of these players register even 50 meaningful games for the first team?
    If not, maybe these Carling Cup games should be seen as a useful exercise in drawing new people into the stadium for a tenner (not a bad thing, I bet the Club Shop did a roaring trade)…..but nothing more long term than that.

    Most people in the media fall over themselves about the Youth System at Arsenal, and maybe it is their slavish devotion that I dislike, but………if you think that all is well, OK.

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