Cup tie gifts big opportunities to Gibbs, Djourou and Szczesny

With Arsenal’s next game against Wigan a Carling Cup fixture, there will undoubtedly be changes made to the team.

While Arsene Wenger is keen to remain tight-lipped about the make-up of his starting team, he has also revealed that Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner are all likely to feature. The three front-line starters from the weekend are likely to get a rest while there looks to be no place for Carlos Vela, it seems.

Wenger’s midfield selection is anybody’s guess with Alex Song, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky all completing full matches against Aston Villa on Saturday. Denilson looks the only certain starter, although I do expect Rosicky and Wilshere to start again in this one.

Johan Djourou has been unlucky to lose his spot

There are opportunities a-plenty for starting back four in tomorrow night’s game.

Emmanuel Eboue’s lightning-quick recover from a knee problem (a result of his faith in God?) should see him start while Kieran Gibbs will get another almighty opportunity to show what he can do on the left. It is my very strong opinion that if Gibbs plays well against Wigan and can get through the match unscathed, he should be retained for the weekend league match against Fulham at Gael Clichy’s expense.

Meanwhile in the centre of defence Sebastien Squillaci’s minor injury means that Johan Djourou will be recalled, as he probably would have anyhow, to partner Laurent Koscielny. I ran a poll in the last post to get some opinions on your preferred central-defensive pairing and although Koscielny-Djourou was the least popular response, behind Squillaci-Koscielny and Squillaci-Djourou, the feeling was that this pairing has the most potential.

I am of the opinion that Djourou’s exclusion from the starting team to accommodate Koscielny has hurt us defensively and that he was unlucky to lose his spot. Although I’d like to see Djourou return to the first team at the expense of Koscielny I just hope the pair can put in a commanding performance and come away from the contest with a clean sheet.

The last position up for grabs, that of the goalkeeper, poses the biggest selection dramas for Wenger. Does he recall the fully-fit Manuel Almunia or make a rather large statement and continue with Wojciech Szczesny? I can tell you write now that myself and 95% of the Arsenal community will want to see Szczesny get another chance and I believe that he will.

Wenger better too: he wouldn’t want to be on the end of an angry Wojciech punch.


Have your say on Arsenal’s Carling Cup tie with Wigan by leaving a comment.



  1. Great article. I agree with everything you say pretty much. Just one general question though: Are we going to be fielding our strongest line up? Wigan beat us in April and I would love to us win this trophy for AW .

  2. RVP, Bendtner, Walcott.. Thats a fairly strong line up.Rosicky starting would suprise me. Don’t think he starts consecutive matches. Though maybe he’s just about ready for it.

    Is the match definitely going ahead Andrew, what with all the snow in London? Incidentally, us playing in snow scares me. I had the same feeling with Everton last season. We drew 2-2 with Rosicky scoring a late goal. It goes to extra time today right??

  3. @ Ali – Thanks dude. It won’t be our strongest line-up, no. It will be second-string except in areas of the pitch where this is not possible — ie. in defence. I would also love to win this trophy but if we play the team I’ve suggested above we should make it through to the next round.

    @ Shard – Rosicky tends to play more weekday games than weekend ones. I’d tip him to start tonight and then have the weekend off rather than the other way around. Not sure about the snow, didn’t hear too much about it. Just spoke to my brother and he said it was pretty hectic but I suppose the game will go ahead. Extra-time, yep, just like at Spurs.

  4. I stil prefer djourou/squijacci pairing to koseyin. D guy has to work ön som aspects of his game if he doesn’t want to be d new senderous

  5. The view that Djouru play no 5 is good in that Wigan beat us in april through use of muscle which in this Djouru can also apply in central defence.

  6. what are you guys teams, mine is:
    eboue squillachi djourou gibbs
    denilson rosicky wilshere
    walcott bendtner persie

  7. I sort of feel for JET, immaculate in reserve games, yet these 10 minute sub cameos in the first time do him no good. But RVP and Walcott do need games, possibly even NB52.

  8. Now, talk about unpredictability….
    Yes, this is what we like, 4 strikers at once, impressive from the start. Could have back fired though….Excellent stuff…. Just check out the thru balls. Winning like this to me is far better. Some video game stuff on display. Now, who complains about the defense? Forget the partnership, any of them would have done it….they are all good enough.

  9. Is it because Chamakh can only play CF that the coach now wants to introduce another striker in the centre as a central support striker (this is clearly Arshavin and Nasri territory)? It is clear that B52 will be benched by Chamakh, so i’m guessing the coach is at a loss of how to introduce RVP into the team.
    If this is going to be his new plan, then I do not like it. Our strikers cannot play the ball(dribble), they cannot even lay accurate passes….infact, they are only there to finish(score/shoot). Therefore, I would only like it if one of Chamakh or RVP plays at anytime(still this depends on the opposition and the need t score), this would mean playing a high line at the back.

    I would only like it if one of Arshavin, Rosicky or Nasri is made to play this new role. With FABs running from defense to attack(CM) and Song sticking in our half throughout the match(DM), two wingers or only one to accomodate another player in the midfield(depending on which team we play against) and then the back four…..So, we could still maintain our 4-3-3 or start a new tactical 4-2-4 system with amazing depth and stability. Stick to our side/half(depending on opposition), respect all opponents and counter with some devastation.

    Imagine this
    Arshavin(SS) Walcott(SS/WF)
    Clichy Verm/Kos Djourou/Kos Sagna
    Chamakh, Rosicky, Wilshere, Denilson, Gibbs, Eboue, Squillachi/Djourou, Czesny

    Arshavin needs just a sniff on goal and he shoots with devastating ordinance. If he goes off injured, Nasri replaces him immediately and Rosicky comes on. If speedster Walcott goes off injured, Nasri/Rosicky could still take his place and Rosicky comes on. If Nasri goes off injured, Rosicky comes in naturally or FABs goes advanced(AM) and Wilshere replaces FABs(CM). This team is just crazy and you cannot imagine the amount of tinkering that could be done by Wenger.
    Tell me we would not beat Barcelona with these guys on parade.

    Finally, Kos was amazing today, just more time for him to explode.

  10. we should play djourou together with koscielny…squilacci was always going to be depth, and at 31 he’s not a part of arsenal’s future plans

  11. Its just a good morning this way. I didnt watch the game but cant stop enjoying the thumping our major rivals to the cup endured. We now look the absolute favourites for this one.The result tells the depth we have over United. Infact we should field the even more strongest team in the remaining tie to guarantee sure success.We may be chasing a quadrapule this season now that Persie is on his feet. I am optimistic that we are likelyto cause more damage to some unbeaten runs this december. Fingers crossed

  12. the manager ruled out any January buy. That’s quite worrying given the situation at the back. We have no clue as to when the Verminator returns back……at least we need to buy one decent center-half!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.