Written by Mean Lean on Tuesday, 30 October 2012 13:53
I do love myself a little bit of league cup action, I mean who doesn't? That said, I do prefer the comfort of the Emirates stadium for such evenings, usually because it gives the younger players that extra bit of protection from the big bad world of competitive football. However these days the size of our squad means that you have to be a special youngster or have a lorry load of injuries in your position to get a game even in this competition.
Kieran Gibbs' injury will probably allow Ignasi Miquel a chance to move across to a more unfamiliar position at left back where as Serge Gnabry is almost certainly going to start in a wide position based on his impressive talent.
I suspect that many of our youngsters like Thomas Eisfeld will get a chance from the bench but Serge is currently a cut above the rest and that has been proved by recent Premier League and Champions League appearances in the first team.
Arsene Wenger always has that sparkle in his eyes when he speaks about Serge and he once again explained how he has all the tools to become a top class talent. The part I found interesting was when Arsene spoke about the possibility of Gnabry being able to play as a center forward. Interesting because I have been speaking about how I would love us to have a fast, technical, powerful shooter. Something we haven't had for a while. I can only put 2+2 together and assume that Arsene obviously reads Arsenal Vision. But that is a longer term possibility, today I expect him to play out wide, probably the left assuming that Theo will start on the right. I've read a few predicting that Theo may get his chance as center forward but I just do not see it.
He has started as a central striker once when he was 17 for Arsenal and also moved there last season at Sunderland later in the game, apart from those two occasions, I cannot remember another time when he has played there for us. Those with sharper memories can correct me in the comments but I do not see a time where Walcott will be given the run he craves, especially considering he refuses to Sign da ting.
It is interesting that Oliver Giroud is in the squad, I expected all of our starting players to be resting their legs in preparation for the Manchester United game on the weekend.
His inclusion could mean one of two things. Firstly he could be used on the bench as a contingency plan, if the team need another attacking option then bring him on with 20 minutes left. The second option and I am guess mostly likely is to give him another game to improve his sharpness and perhaps confidence.
Giroud isn't in the same boat as the likes of Cazorla, Arteta and Podolski. Those players have played nearly every big game so far whilst Giroud has been in and out of the team and should have enough in his legs for midweek and then Old Trafford. Giroud needs a run of games and a goal tonight would do him the world of good before he out shoots van Persie at Saturday lunch time.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
Not exactly sure as to why Walcott has a little pea head
Andrey Arshavin is certainly one to keep an eye on tonight. The Russian has tumbled down the pecking order this season but came on against QPR and made a crucial contribution to the game with the best cross of the match which lead to our winner.
Having the chance to start the very next match could be important for Andrey, especially given that Gervinho is currently on the treatment table. Assuming I have the correct predicted players starting the game then Arshavin should play in Cazorla's position which will give him the freedom to create chances. A double pivot of Frimpong and Coquelin should give Arshavin the platform to concentrate on churning out chances for his front players.
In some ways, I would like to see him in a wide area because the service to Giroud this season from wide areas has been woeful thus far. Arshavin can pick out a head where as others tend to hit and hope.
This will be no walkover that is for sure. Reading have played very well at home this season, they were unjustly beaten by Chelsea at home and will more than likely field a strong looking side.
While we will more than likely have the better individuals on the pitch, individuals come a distant second to understandings, momentum and combinations.
Basically the home team have a very good chance of winning the game and it shouldn't be a shock if that was to happen. Equally, we have the quality of personnel so it depends on how the non regulars perform and also if the youngsters can do themselves justice.
If I was to have a go at predicting the game, I would say that a tight match with Reading being strong on set pieces is a possibility. I hope Reading are foolish enough to give us space in behind because from wide areas we are scary fast with Walcott and Gnabry. Possibly the fastest two wide players at the club. I expect Giroud to drop deep and allow the speedsters to sprint into those spaces, how about a lovely Arshavin through pass to one of those to finish? Ooh it looks oh so lovely in my head.
But enough with the fantasy, I just want the hours to move on so I can watch the game.
Enjoy the game
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