Bradford Preview: One More Step from Ending the Drought
Arsenal’s last Capital One Cup encounter was entertaining, enthralling and epic.
In all my years as an Arsenal fan, I haven’t seen a game that made me go through so many emotional phases like the game against Reading. I started the game with arrogance (simple stroll in the park, I thought), but that was quickly changed to a state of surprise (1 – 0), perplexion, bewilderment (2 – 0) and shock (3 – 0) before getting heavy doses of frustration and despair (4 – 0).
I began the second half with doubt (4 – 1), but it was changed to hope (4 – 2). At 4 – 3, urgency became my watchword and when Walcott made it 4 – 4, my euphoria knew no bounds. 5 – 4 was somewhat orgasmic, but the equalizer was a bitter pill to swallow. After the final two goals that put the game beyond doubt, the only feeling I had was pride.
Arsenal’s reward for winning tonight would be a place in the semifinals of the Capital One cup but your reward could be plenty if you try to earn some money out of players rewards cards from this link right here like I did.
December is a very busy month from a footballing perspective and the games are coming thick and fast. The Capitol One offers Arsenal a very realistic chance of ending the club’s trophy drought and Wenger has stated that he intends to use an experienced squad tonight,
“We will have an experience squad at Bradford. We have a good recovery time ahead of the game at Reading on Monday. So we can use the players we want to use.”
The casualty list has a new recruit as it seems as if Olivier Giroud hasn’t recovered from that nasty kick he received on his back against West Brom. The regular absentees (Walcott, Diaby, Koscielny and Andre Santos) are still out and there are some youngsters (Yennaris and Miquel) that are in the list as well.
Wenger still has half an eye on Monday’s game against Reading but with fatigue creeping in, he’ll be odds on to tweak the squad a bit. With Vito Mannone just returning back to the squad, this game might come too soon for him so I expect Damian Martinez to get another run-out in goal. He didn’t fare too well in his last outing and he’ll surely have a point to prove, I guess.
In the defense, I see Sebastien Squillaci returning to the starting line up, but with Johan Djourou’s fitness not mentioned in a long while, one can only assume that he’s injured. With Per Mertesacker being an ever-present figure for the Gunners this season, he might be the player that would be axed for the Squid.
In the fullback positions, Carl Jenkinson will maraud the right flank with the young Jernade Meade strutting his stuff on the left. The youngster hopes for more chances to earn a new deal at the Emirates. Unlike some forwards that don’t want to sign da ting.
In midfield, I expect the same triumvirate that started in Greece to get another chance to stake a claim for a first-team berth. Francis Coquelin would start as the midfield enforcer with Aaron Ramsey manning the box-to-box role. Tomas Rosicky will further up the pitch as the primary playmaker. These three didn’t have much cohesion in Athens but I’m sure that they’ll give the fans a much-improved performance against a weaker Bradford side.
In attack, Arsenal doesn’t really have much options so we might see a Gervinho-Chamakh-Ox combo. Gervinho put up a spirited performance against West Brom on Saturday but his output on the final third was very appalling. Chamakh was a confused figure in Greece but he can find some solace in the fact that his only Arsenal goals this season came in this competition. The Ox was in good form against West Brom would want to continue that run.
Bradford might be a League Two outfit but this won’t be a stroll in the park for the Gunners. They are fighting hard for promotion into League One and they have the backing of a hostile crowd that will cheer their team on in Valley Parade. Bradford’s Curtis Good is relishing the prospect of playing the Gunners and we can bet that they’ll be at their best tonight.
A win would give the Gunners a chance to appear in the semis, which would mean that they’ll be two games away from another chance to play in Wembley. Hopefully, Koscielny and Szczesny won’t feature at the same time should Arsenal secure a final berth. We all know how that panned out in 2011.
Enjoy the game wherever you are.
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