After their heroics against Chelsea at the weekend, a completely different Arsenal side travels up to Burnley for a tough-looking Carling Cup tie at Turf Moor.
In League Cup games away from home (excluding the two legged semi-finals), Arsenal haven’t lost in their last 7 outings, with a 0-1 reverse at Manchester United in 2004 the last time they were knocked out on their travels. Furthermore, the Gunners came here in the FA Cup 3rd Round last season and were comfortable 2-0 winners so the trip to Lancashire should hold no fears for the youngsters this evening.
And though Burnley are undoubtedly one of the best sides in the Championship, this wont be the physical encounter that Arsenal sides traditionally struggle with in the north of England. Midfielders Chris Eagles & Chris McCann set the tempo with a measured passing game in midfield and this has been very effective in the Championship, lifting them to 4th in the table – and they are unbeaten at home in their last 11 games (in all competitions).
Though their offensive game got them back into the match at Stamford Bridge, the pace of Carlos Vela & Nicklas Bendtner is likely to give the less mobile Steven Caldwell & Clarke Carlisle nightmares at the back and they won’t be able to gobble up the aerial bombardment that they are used to in the second tier.
The Clarets also have a key league game at 5th place Sheffield United on Saturday so some of the first team may not complete the full 90 minutes, whereas the Arsenal kids will have no such concerns.
Mikael Silvestre, Carlos Vela and Nicklas Bendtner are all likely to start for Arsenal after not being involved in Sunday’s win over Chelsea. Danish striker Bendtner came on as a late substitute, but is set to cut it out with his highly-rated striker partner Vela for the first time since the thrashing of Sheffield United two months ago.
Predicted Starting XI
Rodgers – Hoyte – Silvestre – Gibbs
Wilshere – Randall – Ramsey – Merida
Bendtner – Vela
Match Prediction: Burnley 1-2 Arsenal
Gooner Talk will provide live coverage of this Carling Cup clash on GoonerTalkTV. Post-match highlights will be avaliable at midnight for those of you who were unable to watch the game.
Leave your views and predictions of this evening’s game in the comments section below.