Category Archives: Capital One Cup

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.

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

 

 

Advertisements

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.

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

Lucas Perez Pops his Arsenal Goalscoring Cherry

Granit Xhaka

Nottingham Forest 0-4 Arsenal

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

With half an eye on the Chelsea game, it was expected for Arsene Wenger to make wholesale changes to the side and the squad he featured last night was a testament of current depth in the squad. Emi Martinez usurped David Ospina as the Capital One Cup goalie and he had Rob Holding and the fit-again Gabriel Paulista as the center back pairing. Kieran Gibbs captained the side but I was rather surprised to see Aishley Naitland-Miles as the right back, but those concerns were put to rest when I read that Matt Debuchy had some fitness issues. The midfield pairing of Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny was very solid with Jeff Reine-Adelaide playing the Ozil role. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chuba Akpom flanked Lucas Perez.

If there was any game we needed Lucas to get into the scoring sheet, it was this game. A certain Olivier Giroud scored his first Arsenal goal in a League Cup fixture against Coventry and he has gone on to score 82 goals for the team. His niggling toe injury kept him out of the side so it was all on Perez to turn up with the goods as an expectant crowd watched.

While we were waiting for the attackers to open the scoring, Arsenal took the lead when Xhaka sent in a surface-to-goal piledriver with that hammer of a left foot. The astonishing part of the goal was the little back lift he required to smash in such a rocket. I’m pretty sure opposition defenses would close him down like Hell when he’s in the edge of their box.

With the Gunners breaking the deadlock, the game opened up and a neat ball to Akpom in behind the Forest defense saw the forward fouled by former Chelsea man, Michael Mancienne (good to know he’s off the ugly looking Rastafarian dreadlocks) and Perez stepped up to score his first Arsenal goal from 12 yards with a well taken spot kick. That goal must have given him a morale boost because he went on to score his second of the night with a brilliant solo effort. After receiving the ball on the edge of the box, Perez showed his pace and upper body strength to shove off a defender before using his neat dribbling skills to waltz past the goalie, Skopjovic, like he wasn’t there. With an open net in front of him and an opposition defender trying to scythe him down, he showed some composure to tuck the ball into the net to put the game beyond doubt.

Perez then scored from scorer to provider as he teed up the frustrating Ox that made it 4-0. A performance he can be very proud off.

Whether it puts him in contention for a start against Chelsea, I don’t know, but Perez has made a case of himself for his manager, and the headache of selection for the Chelsea game will be strictly Wenger’s business. Will he still stick to Alexis Sanchez up front against Chelsea or has the new boy showed him that he can be a force to be reckoned with?

On the night it was a great day in the office and we will wait for tonight’s results before knowing who Arsenal will face in the fourth round.

Till then, Sayonara.

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List