After enduring their worst start in over 50 years Arsenal have the chance to build some momentum for the youngsters, hand out some potential debuts and let the ‘1st team’ mull over their defensive failures that have led the team to have the worst defensive record in the premier league. Whilst our priority is probably not the Carling Cup, it gives a chance for some of our promising youngsters to put some pressure on Wenger’s selection for future league games. Arsene’s teams struggled against lower league opposition last year (Leeds, Huddersfield) but with plenty of players out to prove their worth it will truly be a test of skill and technical ability vs the grit and enthusiasm of the lower leagues.
One nil to the Arsenal
The two sides have only ever met 3 times, all of which were FA cup fixtures. The last of which was over 10 years ago when Arsenal recorded an away win with a 1-0 score line. I’m sure however that in the current frustrated climate amongst fans this would not be good enough and anything less than a complete demolition would over look the fact that a young team full of potential have won a game.
At a time when Arsenal have been very fragile defensively it’s very important to get the new players coming in the side, who have rarely played together, to gel defensively. Wenger will want to prove that his defensive tactics are adequate but should we put in another poor showing at the back then it would once again highlight that it’s not the quality of our defenders, but more so our defensive strategy, that is the major problem.
I predict we’ll see a very different team to the one that played against Blackburn, not only because of Arsene’s youth policy in the Carling Cup but because I would imagine that Wenger would like his 1st team to take a break and think over the loss. Playing the same team again and thrashing Shrewsbury is what would be expected of them and would hardly raise their confidence but risking the 1st team losing to Shrewsbury could be a massive issue. I think we’ll see debuts for the likes of Miyaichi, Afobe and maybe even Ebecilio who has previously mentioned that he’d like to play some part in the league cup and we’ll also add some experience with Fabianksi/Mannone and Park coming in for their first appearances of the season.
I think our young Ryo will have a big game tomorrow. He’s been looking good for the reserves and even though he’s just returning from a minor niggling injury he has one think that lower league teams rarely play against: pace. However, the physicality of the English game may initially be a shock to him so I’m sure Wenger and the coaching staff will warn him before hand.
Fabianksi; Gibbs Djourou Miquel Jenkinson; Coquelin Benayoun Chamberlain; Ryo Park Afobe