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Arsenal v Bradford City AFC; Capital One Cup Match Preview
It’s being billed as David vs. Goliath by some. However, before Saturday you’d be hard pressed to find out which team was which. But as Arsenal take their road show up to the great frozen tundra that is the Coral Windows Stadium, confidence may slowly be returning to a side that has very little of it to show.
The season has been one of more tumult than we all care to remember. And while the win on Saturday may have been a little questionable, sometimes you need just that kind of luck to break a funk. It’s akin to the famous scene in Bull Durham where the team gets off the team bus exhausted and on a horrendous losing streak. They moan that they could use a rain break, instead of playing their next game. Kevin Costner, says I can make it rain and on a drunken late night trip to the stadium they are to play in, turns on the sprinklers, and cries “Oh my, we have a natural disaster.” The team then goes on a run that sees them into the playoffs.
So while the PKs weren’t exactly a rain storm the win hopefully is that needed break that frees the team from their poor run of form.
Their trip to face Bradford City almost seemed in doubt in the last round as the Gunners quickly went down to Reading 4-0. They staged one of the most epic comebacks of the competition and of this team. Now, looking at the remaining teams, the Capital One Cup looks more promising as a silverware target as only Chelsea remain the biggest club still in the competition apart from the Gunners.
Additionally, luck of the schedule smiles on Arsenal this week as the Gunners have a full 6 days between this match and the next league match versus Reading on Monday. And the hope is that the side that takes the pitch tonight is filled with enough first teamers to really give the David v Goliath story line some credence.
But Arsenal shouldn’t underestimate this team. They’ve claimed one large scalp already in Roberto Martinez’s Wigan side. Arsenal admittedly underestimate and we saw the result of that. Not saying that Bradford City AFC are on the same level as Swansea however, warnings need to be headed and Arsenal need to have a killer instinct about them if they are to move through to the semis.
Based on the time between matches, I expect a side made up of first team reserves and players that need time.
Projected XI for Arsenal are:
Mannone, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Meade, Coquelin, Rosicky, Ramsey, Arshavin, Chamakh, Gervinho.
Arsenal – 3
Bradford City – 0
- This the first time the two clubs have met in the League Cup.
- Bradford are the first League Two club to qualify for the last eight of the League Cup since Wycombe Wanderers in 2006-07, who eventually lost over two legs to Chelsea in the semi finals.
- Arsenal have reached the last eight of the League Cup for the 10th successive season and victory tonight would see the Gunners set a new outright record in the League Cup by qualifying for the semi-finals for the 15th time.
- Arsenal have been knocked out by a club outside the top flight once in the last 22 seasons; a 0-2 defeat against Burnley in the quarter finals in 2008.