Untold Arsenal on Facebook here
By Phil Gregory
Carling Cup action is the order of the day for Tuesday evening, with Wigan coming to the Emirates. Wigan at home fits the bill of what I’d call an “ideal” Carling Cup tie: a lower Premier League/decent Championship side, good enough to pose a challenge for the kids but not an insurmountable obstacle to progression. Naturally, that changes a little bit when you consider that we’re playing stronger sides that previous seasons this year, but you can see what I mean.
Squillaci has picked up a knee problem which keeps him out of Tuesday’s tie. Let’s hope such an injury is only short term, as with Vermaelen out for an unknown amount of time we’d be down to two centre-backs (also known as “doing a Chelsea”), which isn’t ideal.
With Almunia back from injury, there’s a dilemma to be had between the sticks. It seems likely we’ll rotate the keeper to keep our backup options match fit, but it’s up in the air who it might be. Between Almunia and Szcznesy, it’s the Spaniard who is the better keeper at this moment in time, and you could argue that if he is to be our number 2 this season, he should get these games so that he’s ready if he is ever needed to come in. However, many are unconvinced he’ll settle for battling it out with Fabianksi, and if he’s expected to be off in January/the summer, it’d make sense to get Szcznesy all the experience he can. It’s sometimes easy for us to read much into the manager’s decisions, but I imagine Wojciech starting for us against Wigan would mark the end of Almunia’s time at Arsenal.
Eboue’s swift recovery was a pleasant surprise and assuming there’s no doubts as to his fitness, I’m expecting him to slot into the first eleven to give Sagna a breather. Gibbs is likely to come in for Clichy, with Koscielny and Djourou the centre-backs. Given our lack of real competition for the “Alex Song” role, I’d imagine the Cameroonian will be rested for this one as well, though I’m less sure on this than I am on the defensive rotation. At home, I’d back Eastmond to do enough, but there’s no denying the youngster is much more of a step down than the backups Wenger has in other positions. Perhaps Denilson will fill the role, and somebody else will come into midfield… who knows? (You are supposed to know, Phil, that’s what we pay you for – Ed)
Moving further forward in midfield in midfield Rosicky is a sure starter. Whether Wilshere partners him remains to be seen: Wenger is wary of burning out the young prodigy, but in light of his comments about fielding a strong squad I expect him to feature. If he doesn’t, Eastmond to start at DM and Denilson to replace Jack.
It’s no clearer who’ll play up front, given our array of options. Surely Chamakh will get a rest, given we have both Van Persie and Bendtner who need games? Even if he does rest Chamakh, one of Van Persie and Bendtner will be omitted; testament to the quality of our squad. I’m convinced Nasri will get a rest, the number of minutes he’s played so far this season is phenomenal. It doesn’t surprise me that he features so much, given both his form and stamina (Gibbs said in a recent interview that Nasri has the best stamina in the squad, which is certainly doing him some good). Theo will most likely fill in and look to get back into his early-season goal scoring form. After a brilliant performance at the weekend off the back of a midweek breather, Wenger may be tempted to rest Arshavin, but Vela hasn’t done much on the pitch to earn the start, so I’d expect the Russian to keep his place.
Eboue Djourou Koscielny Clichy
Walcott Van Persie Arshavin
In terms of the opposition, striker Rodallega is a big miss with summer import Boselli yet to make his mark. Apart from that the Wigan team will be largely as you’d expect. Will they be tempted to rotate? I don’t think so. They’ve got Stoke at home after this one, but with a good few days between the games I can’t imagine a rest will make too much difference for Wigan. The pressure is already on Martinez with the team lurking in the relegation zone, and a second string getting hit for six at the Emirates would do nothing for team moral, either.
I’m expecting a fairly solid home win. With us ranked third in terms of league performances at home (average points won that is , thanks Tony!) I’m not going to worry too much about supposed “poor home form”. Arsenal to win 4-0, with a clean sheet to boot.
Want to argue against Wenger and his philosophy? Then you must read this first, or your comment may not be published
- Corruption flares up again in Italy, as Premier League figures don’t look too clever
- How much does a club have to spend on transfers to get a trophy?
- Does the team that is top after 14 games usually go on to win the league?
- How the Taliban infiltrated the World Cup and used it to maintain its war on women
- Which 4 Arsenal transfers are being mentioned the most by the media?