Category Archives: Capital One Cup

5-Star Youngsters Outclass Nottingham Forest

Image result for martinelli goal nottingham

As expected for any Carabao Cup fixture, Arsenal gaffer, Unai Emery, made wholesale changes to the team that struggled to grab all three points against Aston Villa. Our current longest serving player, Emi Martinez, deputized in place of Bernd Leno as you’d expect, while the forgotten Skhodran Mustafi featured alongside the returning Rob Holding. Calum Chambers retained his place at right back while there was a debut for Kieran Tierney. Gooners had been longing to see the player that made us turn Nacho Monreal into a forgotten memory and boy, it was worth the wait. Out-of-favor Lucas Torreira played in midfield alongside Joe Willock with captain of the night, Mesut Ozil, spearheading the midfield. The three-pronged attack saw Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe flank the young Brazilian, Gabriel Martinelli.

The Gunners hit the ground running early on with some superb play and got the goal their game deserved when Chambers’ first timed cross was guided home by Martinelli who scored his first Arsenal goal in his first start for the club. A confidence booster for a young lad that went on to have a stormer. The Gunners were in total control of the game and kept Nottingham at bay but the first half ended with a slender goal lead, with the visitors run ragged all over the place.

There was a four-goal salvo in the second half for the home side with stand-in captain, Holding, rising the highest to nod a corner home to make it two goals to the good. The crowd showed their excitement when Hector Bellerin took to the pitch to replace the impressive Tierney and the Spaniard wasted no time in threading a neat assist to Joe Willock for the Gunners’ third after a neat pass from Mustafi. Nelson got in on the act after reacting well to Chambers’ cut back to make it four then Martinelli put the icing on a well-baked cake with a curling effort to make it 5-0.

All in all, it was a wonderful game of football to watch and these young lads showed that they are ready to stake claims for first team football and with performances like that, you can only help but wonder when they will be given more chances. Thankfully, competitions like the Carabao Cup and Europa League group stages will be a good platform for these lads to strut their stuff while the more experienced folks will do their thing in the Premier League. On the down side, there was an injury sustained by Smith-Rowe following a clash of heads with a Nottingham defender and he required to be stretched out of the pitch to be replaced by another exciting winger, Bukayo Saka.

Emery would have been very satisfied with the performance of these lads and at least, it shows that we have good depth in the club.

Sayonara

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Our FA Cup Title Defense Starts at Nottingham

Image result for lucas perez nottingham goal

Winning three FA Cups in the last four seasons is really one of the best feelings in life knowing that despite our usual consistent shortcomings in the Premier League, the FA Cup has offered the Gunners some solace and our lads then to turn up in style when we play in this competition. I still vividly remember celebrating the 2014 FA Cup in Bheerhugs, Ikeja City Mall that ended our long trophy drought for nine years. Emotions ran wild and the 250,000 fans attendance in the bus parade showed how much it meant to everyone.

Four years later, Arsene Wenger has added two more FA Cup trophies, taking Arsenal’s count in the competition to 13, much more than any other club. It’s also worth noting that Wenger is the competitions most successful manager. Good times, yeah.

Like every campaign, most Premier League teams start from the third round and we have already seen some unique results over the past two days. Liverpool’s 75 million quid man, Virgil van Dijk, earned a spot in the back pages when he headed in what proved to be the match winner in the FA Cup Merseyside derby. Romelu Lukaku returned from his scare injury to score the match clincher for Manchester United as Jesse Lingard continued his mean goalscoring streak. Then there was the imperious Manchester City that sent Burnley to the cleaners with their bamboozling style of attacking football that leaves no prisoners. There were also some interesting draws as Fleetwood Town held Leicester City to a stalemate, Bournemouth had to leave it late to salvage a draw against Wigan Athletic, while last season’s beaten finalists, Chelsea, could only muster a draw against Norwich in Carrow Road and earn themselves a replay at home. On a sad note, struggling Stoke City lost to Coventry City, adding to their wretched vein of form and it was too much for the owners to handle as Mark Hughes finally lost his job.

After several top half finishes in his four-and-a-half year spell in the club, things went awry for the manager and his side and we know how cruel and unforgiving this beautiful game can be. I guess I’d be seeing him on SuperSport Premier League MatchDay Live with the other failed coaches. Oh well.

Today’s opponents, Nottingham City, clashed with the Gunners last season in the Carabao Cup and were on the end of some lethal finishing from Lucas Perez. Shame things didn’t pan out so well for the Spaniard as he currently plies his trade in Deportivo de la Coruna. Nottingham is currently managed by Gary Brazil after Mark Warburton lost his job and the caretaker manager’s first game against Leeds United ended in a draw. They are currently 14th in the SkyBet Championship and while today’s clash against Arsenal offers a nice spectacle for the fans, they would be hoping for some improvement in the coming weeks as they search for a new manager. From an ex-Gunner perspective, Armand Traore would be looking to catch up with the lads from the team he spent the formative years of his career in.

It has been confirmed that Arsene Wenger will not be at the dugout for this game as he starts his three match ban from the FA, but the boss has confirmed that he will shuffle his pack ahead of the fixture,

“I will rotate a little bit because we have also come out of a very high-loaded period,” he said. “We played three big games in six days and twice we were away, followed by a big game at home.

“We have to keep our level of focus, of urgency, because the third round is very difficult especially when you play away from home against a Championship team.”

The Gunners would be without Nacho Monreal (ankle), Sead Kolasinac (ankle), Laurent Koscielny (Achilles), Granit Xhaka (groin) as well as the long term absentees, Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Olivier Giroud (hamstring) and Santi Cazorla (Achilles). With half an eye on the Carabao Cup semifinal against Chelsea, I’d expect the manager to feature the likes of David Ospina, Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker, Mo Salah Elneny, Francis Coquelin, Reiss Nelson, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott. I believe these guys would be good enough to do the job required of them.

Sayonara.

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Reading Preview: Time for the Fringe Players to Step Up

Image result for chamakh goal reading

Arsenal has been on an amazing run lately which culminated in 9 consecutive wins up until Saturday, when Middlesbrough pooped Arsene Wenger’s birthday party. In fairness to Boro, it wasn’t a stroll in the park for the Gunners as Petr Cech earned his pay with some excellent saves to keep the game at bay. On the other end of the pitch, Victor Valdes had a stormer and the scoreline was a reflection of the proceedings.

With the Premier League shoved to the corner for some EFL Cup action, Arsene Wenger is set to rest his first team starters, allowing the second string side to take center stage. The official site showed pictures of the players training and it was nice seeing Carl Jenkinson in action. For a player that has missed so much action after suffering that nasty knee injury while on loan at West Ham, it would be a proud moment for Corporal Jenks wearing the sacred Red and White again.

Arsenal Team News

There would be wholesale changes to the squad with Emiliano Martinez in goal for Petr Cech. David Ospina is the club’s Champions League goalkeeper and possibly the FA Cup goalie, so I don’t expect him to be the custodian in goal against Reading today. In defense, I expect to see the British triumvirate of Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and the exciting Rob Holding playing alongside the fit-again Gabriel Paulista. These four players are badly in need of games and would be hoping the midfielders and attackers do their business to ensure they qualify for the next round.

In midfield, I believe we would see Mohamed Elneny in action but with Mesut Ozil, Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla set to be rested, we could see Jeff Reine-Adelaide and possibly Alex Iwobi in the creative midfield role. I would also expect the ‘forgotten’ Olivier Giroud to be flanked by Lucas Perez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Ox has been pushing hard for a starting berth and this would be offer another opportunity for the young Englishman to strut his stuff.

Arsenal Injury / Suspension News

Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck (knee), Santi Cazorla (Achilles tendon), Aaron Ramsey (hamstring), Granit Xhaka (suspension)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Reading Team News

Arsenal’s opponents will not be pushovers and the recent draw with Boro would be a stark reminder of the team not to underrate any side. Jaap Stam’s side aren’t doing badly in the Skybet Championship, fresh off a 1-0 away win over Rotherham that has seen them languish in eighth place. Reading has featured in three EFL Cup rounds before the draws cast them against the Gunners. They had already dispatched Plymouth Argyle, Milton Keynes Dons and Brighton. The Gunners will have to be mindful of John Swift that is currently leading the scoring charts for the Royals with four goals.

Reading Injury / Suspension

Reading has a clean bill of health

Reading Predicted Lineup

Reading 4-3-3 football formation

Team Form

Arsenal

  • Last Five Games: W W W W D
  • Last Result: Arsenal 0-0 Middlesbrough
  • Leading Goalscorer: Theo Walcott (8)

Reading

  • Last Five Games: L D D L W
  • Last Result: Rotherham United 0-1 Reading
  • Leading Goalscorer: John Swift (4)

Gooner Daily predicts a 4 – 1 win.

Sayonara.

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