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Carling Cup Semi-Finals (2nd Leg) Arsenal v Ipswich (0-1 agg); Match Preview

I love Woijiech Szczesny. Yeah it’s a man crush sort of thing. And yeah he is sort of younger than I am so yeah it is kind of sickening really isn’t it. But I will tell you what – this kid is no shrinking violet. Which only bodes well for Arsenal as they take on Ipswich in the second leg of the Carling Cup Semi-Finals.

I love Woijiech Szczesny. Yeah it’s a man crush sort of thing. And yeah he is sort of younger than I am so yeah it is kind of sickening really isn’t it. But I will tell you what – this kid is no shrinking violet. Which only bodes well for Arsenal as they take on Ipswich in the second leg of the Carling Cup Semi-Finals.

Immediately after Ipswich’s 1-0 win at Portman Road,  Tractors players were coming out and saying that when they were going to come into the Emirates, they would park the bus and defend against Arsenal because that is what Jose Mourinho said you do against Arsenal. Forget for the moment that comparing Ipswich Town to the Chelsea side managed by the Special One is ridiculous, Ipswich need to be warned – and that frankly is where my new man crush comes in.

Young master Szczesny in an interview on Monday came out and said – and I paraphrase here – they can bring buses or tractors for that matter all it is going to take is one goal on our part and you’ll have to play us at our game. I love it. There is no mamby pampy psycho babble. The young keeper basically challenged Ipswich to put up or shut up. Man that”s refreshing to see and hear.

For the most part, I think many of the players were thoughly embarrased by what happened 2 weeks ago. In case you need reminding, we never got off the bus. Well, that’s not exactly true, some players got off the bus, others (cough cough – Mr’s Arshavin, Bendtner, Denilson and Eboue) didn’t. Even the additions of the captain and Walcott, couldn’t do enough to change the outcome.

Wenger, is sticking to his rotation policy that much is certain. But recent comments are leading me to believe that we could see 3-5 changes over the Premier League side versus the 8 he made at Ipswich the first time. The mix Wenger had against Leeds was a fair mix of rotational players and play makers that would take the team over the top. I think you can expect that again during this leg. I still don’t mind seeing Arshavin or Chamakh because they are both players you know are going to come right at some point. And they should get these opportunities to do so. Chamakh looked refreshed in his cameo this weekend and was moving a lot better now that he had been rested. As for Andrei, and I have been a loud and vocal critic of his, I get the feeling that all it is going to take is a goal. Something that removes the monkey from his back. That being said, I am not sure Andrei can be given much more room to get right.

In the past some on here and in the past have said they admired how Chelsea went with the strongest side for every competition and only made subtle changes to the side. It’s a lesson that I think Wenger learned the hard way in the cup ties against Leeds and Ipswich. He showed that he learned and put out a changed side but not a drastically changed one. I believe that will be his policy for today.

Even with a mix of  “a”  and “b/c” players, I think we can expect a strong bench as well. Robin Van Persie and Nasri were rested in the last leg, I suspect at least RvP to be on the bench. Nasri may well be a starter. With Huddlesfield town next on the docket I am thinking Wenger posts a stronger squad and goes with more whole scale changes for the FA Cup tie.

Arsenal remain odds on favourites for this leg and still for the Carling Cup. I was surprised by this especially in light of our performance a fortnight ago. But I was reminded shortly after the loss byt a United friend of mine that two years back United went into the Carling Cup finals and lost to Wigan 1-0 in the first leg. They came back to OT and United thrashed them. And I am always of the mind that if United can do it so can we.

Probable Starting XI:

Szczesny, Sagna, Gibbs, Djourou, Koscielny, Denilson, Wilshere, Nasri, Chamakh, Arshavin, Bendtner

Match Officials:
Referee: Mark Halsey
Assistant referees: Simon Beck & Glenn Turner
Fourth official: Chris Foy

YAMA Prediction:
Arsenal: 3
Ipswich: 0

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