Have you reminded a Man United fan that they are not in this competition today? I think you should, what better way to enjoy the day than to remind an already pissed United fan of the day they crashed out to the almighty MK Dons in their only Capital One Cup (COC) game this season.
What would be cool would be for all Arsenal fans to tweet the words “Man United…LOL” like Mario Balloteli. That tweet has to go into some record for the smallest amount of words that have annoyed the greatest number of people.
Now that you have pissed off the ex-rivals, we can focus on Arsenal related stuff though, we start our COC campaign today with a game against Southampton. This competition for Arsenal under Arsene has always been the place to farm out his young bloods with a mix of first team players. However, with the depth we have in our squad now coupled with the shipping out of a lot of established U21 players we can expect that a more first team look alike squad will be on display.
When the draw for this one was pulled out of the hat or whatever it is pulled out of these days, many felt it was an easy draw but with the games witnessed thus far in the Premier League this season, you can very well say playing a Premier League opposition is no stroll in the park. I wonder what team Ronald would put out; realistically for teams lower down the league I believe they have two targets before the start of every football season.
- Stay in the Premier League
- Have an amazing cup run.
I hear they have added a third now which is “Finish above Manchester United”, but I cannot independently verify that. So on the basis of the first two, Southampton might field a team closer to their first team than we would as they might want to take advantage of what might be a lack of cohesion amongst players in the Arsenal squad that haven’t played a competitive game together.
When Ronald tweeted that picture he was referring to the player exodus from the club but fast forward a few weeks and that picture could actually be the Arsenal Training ground with the number of injuries that have bedeviled the team in recent weeks. At this rate, we might have to start bringing up more players from the reserves to complete squad numbers, with players like Diaby and Coquelin getting a place on the bench last week against Aston Villa.
It’s these set of players one would expect to see start against Southampton as Wenger might look towards giving the first team players a rest. While Flamini, Diaby, Isaac Hayden or Coquelin can fill the defensive midfield position, the defence would pose a problem for the manager as its public knowledge how his failure to purchase in that department is currently hurting us. You would expect that one of BFG and Kos would be given a rest and Calum Chambers would fill in at CB, injury prone Gibbs doesn’t have any option but to play and Bellerin fresh from his baptism at the Champions League should cover at right back.
From midfield to attack, the manager should be spoilt for choices as he can select from Podolski, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla and Joel Campbell who haven’t seen much action this season and should be reeling for an opportunity to perform before a home crowd. Sanchez sat out the entire game against Villa and might be up for this one through the middle with Welbeck getting a rest. Chuba Akpom maybe?
With our injury problems mounting, squad rotation is key for Wenger. No need burning out the same set of players when you have options that you haven’t given a chance. Games like these are key for players like Oxlade and Joel Campbell as with the imminent arrival of Theo Walcott from injury, chances in the first team would be even more limited.
A good showing from fringe players would at least give the manager the confidence to bring them on during the big games and give the first team regulars some threat about their positions. I have always loved the COC for the freedom the Arsenal team plays with in this competition and look forward to seeing how we show in this game.
Players like Chuba Akpom, Isaac Hayden, Hector Bellerin and Joel Campbell might be given a chance to when you have young bloods like that playing you never know what you get. Really sad Serge Gnabry isn’t back from injury to partake in this one, he sure is a player whose skills in games like this would have come in handy.
Anyways, Wenger needs to decide early what he wants to achieve here, while it might not be a competition that he rates highly, the fans would love another day in the sun at Wembley on the back of our recent performances there. While this is still a far-fetched objective, you also not want to lose the gains made from the win against Aston Villa especially considering the fact that we go into a North London Derby after this. Lose this game and the momentum is lost which might have an effect on Saturday, win this and you haven’t done yourself any harm.
Best of the luck to the lads! #UTA #COYG
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