Arsenal v Coventry: some pre match thoughts

Next up for Arsenal is the visit of Coventry city in the Capital One Cup. Not sure about the name of the tournament, it just doesn’t quite flow off the tongue either way it’s a trophy on offer and so I’d like our boys to have their name etched onto it.

Given the good feeling from the game against Man City it is hoped the momentum can be carried on from our younger more fringe players in the squad.

At the time of writing this post the squad for the game hasn’t been released yet however given the shots on the official website of the team training for the game it is clear there will be a mixture of youthful potential and more experienced professionals.

The likes of Nico Yennaris, Tom Eisfeld, Serge Gnarby and Dami Martinez will be joined in the squad by the likes of Johan Djourou, Andrei Arshavin and possibly Olivier Giroud.

I suppose when you consider how well the first team has been doing Arsene hasn’t been afforded the luxury of changing the team around and this has led to many players not getting a sniff of action so far this season. When you have a winning team you don’t tend to tinker too much and so there have been casualties in the likes of Johan Djourou, Maroune Chamakh and Andrei Arshavin. The game today is a chance for them to put themselves back into Arsene Wenger’s plans and give him a headache ahead of the London derby against Chelsea on Saturday.

At present Andrei Arshavin seems almost frozen out of the picture, surprising given the fact he did not move on in the last transfer window. I still feel he can play a big part in this season, with a new focus and drive it’s possible. The difference this season is there are plenty options ahead of him so any sign of laziness and he’s back in the stands. The competition may ignite him to the level we all know he is capable of, tonight could be the start of showing us that.

Johan Djourou is another player who was heavily linked with a departure from the emirates over the summer. The player went public to deny he was leaving however his national manager made him aware of the fact his lack of playing time will effect his opportunities for Switzerland. At present it’s not looking good for Djourou, always regarded as the 4th choice centre back his opportunities will come when any of the first three start slipping in their standards. Vermaelen, Koscielny and Mertesacker are currently playing out of their skin and so Johan will have to make do with today’s game to play first team football and maintain some match sharpness. He will get chances over the coming season I just hope he is patient enough to wait for his chance.

Maroune Chamakh seems to have disappeared off the planet; today could be a chance to him to show his determination to still make it at arsenal. His opportunities have been heavily reduced due to the acquisition of Giroud and Poldolski and Arsene offering the opportunity of central roles to Gervinho and Walcott. Chamakh is not adaptable to play anywhere else in the team apart from central striker and that perhaps hinders his favorability with Wenger. The interchanging between the front players has been one of the strong points of our team this season and restricted chances for the striker and even Giroud to a certain extent. I guess our forward combinations are also dependant on the opposition we face and at present new boy Giroud is the preferred option when an out and out striker is required. Until our French striker finds the net this season Chamkah can take any opportunity that comes his way to push him ahead in the pecking order.

I have a slight inkling that Wenger may pair Chamakh and Giroud up front together in a slightly changed formation. This is just a guess mind you, I have no inside knowledge I just feel the game against Coventry could be a chance for Wenger to look at a plan B.

We may see the return of Emmanuel Frimpong in some capacity today, the league cup games have always been used as an opportunity for Arsene to bed in players returning from injury. He probably won’t be risked from the start but I would not be surprised to see him on the bench. It’s probably a bit too soon for Wilshere despite him returning to full training but Frimpong is ahead of our no.10 in the recovery stakes and hasn’t been out of the game as long as him. It will be a welcome return for the powerful midfielder and another stepping stone for him to work his way back to where he was at last season. A cameo appearance is not out of the question.

One player we may also see tonight is Craig Eastmond, remember him? After bursting onto the scene a few seasons back the midfielder’s development has stalled drastically. A couple of loan moves have failed to push him on in his development. This season is make or break for him and to see the likes of Henri Lansbury move on it is clear that he really needs to work hard and take his chances or he will be out the door.

I understand he has played a few reserve games in defence this season and it is this kind of versatility that may make him useful to Arsene. Although he was converted from right back to central midfielder initially, his potential as a utility player is not a bad thing. I will be interested to see if he is involved and where he plays.

I’m looking forward to tonight’s game; I’ll be down there as I can never turn down the opportunity of £10 tickets. It’s a different atmosphere than league games but it a chance to go to games with family and friends that don’t normally get the chance. I always enjoy seeing the next generation of players and how they get on in these games against better opposition than reserve level teams. I suppose I am getting ahead of myself by expecting us to beat Coventry today, they will be no mugs and we still have to turn up and perform to get the result. Here’s hoping for a good run in this competition starting from today and lots of home ties in future rounds. Good luck Gunners.

Enjoy your day people

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