Up the Arsenal

Arsene Wenger has done us the favour of naming his squad for the second leg of the League Cup final a day early. Unsurprisingly it has a little more of a first team flavour about it as Campbell, Lauren, Pires, Bergamp, Reyes and Henry get ready to join the fray. An obvious ploy to get our boys fretting about what they’re up against but the newly refreshed squad on top of the league performance here a few months back suggest that we don’t have too much to worry about.

A repeat of that league result, a 3-2 win for the gunners would be enough to see Latics through to the final. We’ve seen 6 goals scored in our last two away games and conceded five, so it’s a possibility but you’d expect Arsenal’s back line to put up more of a struggle than either Leeds or Middlesbrough’s. To the same extent though, it’s not their defence we need to worry about. It seems that Henry will start, and be partnered by either Reyes or Van Persie and whilst Scharner adds some much needed pace at the back we’ve already seen the Gunners ability to suddenly switch on and confound the most organised of defences.

Scharner will play and Jewell will be hoping that De Zeuuw is fit to join him. As well as Henchoz has played this season ‘Ary’s strength and steadiness will provide a much better foil for the Austrian. Thompson has played in this competition for Blackburn, but both Mellor and Ziegler will be available. Jewell’s comments about the team attacking too freely may have put doubts in his mind about selection and he may prefer a more defensive line up, with Johansson replacing Mellor. Hopefully the striker did enough on Saturday to prevent this and Jewell will stick with the tried and tested 4-4-2.

The firepower that Wenger has brought in for this one is enough to give the best defences trouble and since the last time we played them we’re no longer strangers to conceding. It simply won’t be enough to defend our lead and a lot will rely on what joy Teale and the new lad get in wide positions. Roberts has proved he can be a handful for any defence and Mellor looks a different type of striker than we’ve become use to, but effective all the same. If we can create chances then I’m convinced we’ll score, but can we score more than them? Personally I’m not too confident about this one, but I can see it being a cracker.

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