After slogging their way through what has been a relatively busy schedule, a chunk of our first-team regulars can finally take a break with Wenger set to heavily rotate the side in Arsenal’s opening Capital One Cup clash with West Bromwich Albion. The baggies have had mixed results in the Premier League, but are no doubt likely to provide good competition for a second-string Arsenal team.
Looking at the squad list that has been released, it looks likely that Arsene will field a relatively experienced and strong defence and field a relatively young and inexperienced attack. We must still remember that the Capital One Cup remains one of the likeliest pieces of silverware we can get our hands on and this kind of line-up seems the best option taking into consideration the extent of rotation.
Firstly, looking at the back-line there are glaring names in the squad list that are very likely to get a start. Out of the names listed I would say the back-line is likely to consist of Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen and Monreal. Not our usual back-four, but a pretty damn strong back-four none-the-less. As Fabianski is the usual number two keeper, I am leaning towards Pole to start in goal, but new-boy Viviano may also get a chance.
Moving to midfield, again there are glaring names on the squad list. Expect Arteta to get a run-around after only recently returning from injury. The Spaniard is likely to be joined by the gritty Mathieu Flamini to round-out the defensive side to the Arsenal team with his ability to marshal the troops likely to be instrumental in this kind of make-shift team. Moving onto attacking midfield we start to see the youngsters crop-up. I’m picking that Thomas Eisfeld will be the man to take-up the position behind the striker as he has done so in the past.
On the flanks, we are again likely to see some exciting young players, both of which featured in the game at the weekend. Personally, I am picking young Gnabry to start out on the right. The German played a good match against Stoke at the weekend and should provide good penetration. On the left I feel Ryo will get his first start of the campaign. The pacy Japanese winger needs to get some minutes under his belt and this is the perfect opportunity. Lastly, it will no doubt be the return of the self-proclaimed ‘best striker in the world’. The big Dane Nicklas Bendtner is set to take the field for Arsenal for the first time in two years.
It is hard to really predict how this match will pan out. West Brom haven’t had the greatest of starts to the Premier League, only picking up five points from five games. However, in saying this, we don’t really know how effective the Arsenal attack is going to be. I, for one, am glad that the defensive side to this Arsenal line-up is experienced and strong, they should be able to keep the Baggies at bay. Hopefully, further up the pitch the young up-and-comers and one certain £52,000-a-year man can impress with the opportunity they are likely to be given!
Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen (c) Monreal
West Brom 1 Arsenal 2