Carling Cup: Cometh the hour, cometh the Vela

Carling Cup preview
Tonight, I expect to see a very strong Wigan Athletic side come to the Emirates to attack. The loss of Emile Heskey  through injury will probably see Senegalese striker Camara play along side Zaki. I expect this to be a physical encounter, as in pure footballing terms, Wigan should find themselves chasing shadows. Long balls into the heart of the Arsenal defence will be good practice for the likely centre back pairing of Johan Djourou and Alexandre Song. The choice of goalkeeper should be Lukasz Fabianski.
Just who will wear the captains armband will be an interesting choice, with senior squad member Alex Song my favourite for the berth. Keiran Gibbs and Henri Lansbury should occupy the wing back positions and in midfield, Arsene Wenger is spoilt for choice. Ramsey might be accompanied by Fran Merida and Mark Randall, leaving the choice betweeen Jack Wilshere and Amaury Bischoff. I am gambling that Bischoff will get a full debut, even though playing Wilshere would provide more pace and balance. Up front, I expect Rui Fonte to remain on the bench as  I think Wenger will prefer the physical presence of Jay Simpson  against Titus Bramble and Melchiot.  Carlos Vela should complete the strike duo.
Wigan will have the opportunity of a way into European competition, however Steve Bruce may have to seriously think about resting some of his regular first team players as the coming Saturday will see the vital relegation battle due against Newcastle United. The bottom of the premiership table is extremely tight with three points separating bottom from tenth place so every point will matter come the end of the season. Wigan had a frustrating draw against Stoke City, and it says something about the quality of the Arsenal youth, when first team members like Wilson Palacios are keen to see how they compare to Wenger’s proteges.
The Arsenal team will want to prove to Arsene Wenger that they can win this competition outright, and after the display against Sheffield United, few pundits are betting seriously against this highly talented Arsenal squad to deliver. This game may be decided upon penalties in the end but what we can all look forward to is a high tempo affair, with lots of goals. I am predicting Arsenal to win 3 -1 after extra time with Carlos Vela scoring one of the winning goals. I would expect Aaron Ramsey to dominate in midfield but Cattermole is a feisty character and I just hope that the referee gives our players the protection they deserve.
Tonight Alex Song and Johan Djourou have the chance to give Arsene Wenger an alternative centre back solution which will enable the likes of Gallas and Silvestre to have a rest in next years hectic fixture schedule. Watch out for the combination of Merida and Ramsey in midfield, and following his fantastic goal against Fulham reserves, I really do hope that Amaury Bischoff has the opportunity to show his talent. The game starts at 7-45 and is being televised on Sky. Good luck lads, and may the force of the momentum of Arsenal unity be with you tonight.
Fabregas the King.
Suggested Lineups
21 Lukasz FABIANSKI  (GK), 40 Kieran GIBBS , 17 Alex SONG , 20 Johan DJOUROU,  42 Henri LANSBURY
47 Mark RANDALL, 43 Fran MERIDA, 16 Aaron RAMSEY,  28 Amaury BISCHOFF,  12 Carlos VELA,  50 Jay SIMPSON, .
Subs , 19 Jack WILSHERE, 24 Vito MANNONE, (GK), 35 Francis COQUELIN,  46 Abu OGOGO,  39 Rui FONTE, 41 Gavin HOYTE, 56 Emmanuel FRIMPONG
Chris Kirkland , Melchiot, Boyce,Bramble,   Figueroa, Valencia, Cattermole, Palacios, Koumas, Zaki, Camara

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