Reading FC next up, Szczesny to start? AFC

Capital one cup tonight, many of the first team will be afforded a rest ahead of the premiership trip to Old Trafford this Saturday. Arsene’s line up is likely to include a number of fringe players in need of vital match practise while a few younger more raw players will be utilized from the bench. We have a high number of fringe players more used to first team action that can provide the necessary experience for a cup game like this. Reading will be no push over and the policy of fielding a team with the majority youngsters has been relaxed over the past couple seasons.

Although the capital one cup is way down the managers list of priorities to achieve each season there is still an element of seriousness in preparation for the competition. Arsene fields the teams he feels can win the games they play by ensuring the right balance between experience and youth is struck. In the home ties there are more opportunities to field more youth as the occasion and buzz from the crowd can have a positive effect on their performance. In away ties the pressure is a lot different and the younger players have to be in Arsene’s eyes up for the challenge.

Reading is far from an easy game, they are a premiership level team now and will be highly motivated to progress in the competition. The relationship between arsenal and reading has been a good one over the years; many young players have experienced loan spells at the club to further their development. Steven Sidwell made a permanent transfer to the club after a good loan deal there and most recently Benik Afobe enjoyed the promotion experience after joining the club on loan towards the tail end of last season.

The game tonight will be a chance for players such as Andrei Arshavin, Johan Djourou and Theo Walcott to stake a claim for inclusion to the squad for Saturday. Theo is likely to receive the opportunity to play in his favoured role to continue his ongoing battle of proving his worth as a central striker. Arshavin has the opportunity to earn a role in the team now that a void has been created by the injury to Gervinho. There has still been no official clarification of the injury to Gervinho. At the game on Saturday he seemed to pull up after planting a cross from the byline. He hobbled off the pitch and as the game carried on the medical team spent quite a bit of time tending to the Ivorian. He was eventually taken from the field of play on a stretcher. Arshavin impressed in parts in the last round against Coventry and a repeat tonight will definitely put him in contention.

Ignasi Miquel and Johan Djourou are likely to continue their partnership at the back whilst Carl Jenkinson may get a run out after losing his place to Sagna on Saturday. Serge Gnarbry is likely to get more minutes on the pitch to impress the gunners faithful. Wenger clearly likes the boy and the capital one cup is the perfect platform to showcase his talent; he is likely to be joined at some point by his german compatriot Thomas Eisfeld.

Eisfeld is probably one who has yet to be given many chances to play first team football this season, after impressing with some goal scoring displays for the first team in pre-season I half expected more opportunities for the German. Understandably the role he plays is fully stocked in the first team squad so chances like tonight need to be utilised to remind the manager of his potential.

One possible surprise in tonight’s line up is the return of Szczesny. Although Dami Martinez warrants an opportunity to play against Reading the chance to blood our Polish keeper in some first team action may be too tempting to ignore. Sczcesny joined the squad for training yesterday and being a keeper the fitness side of his game is not as essential as say a midfielder. The old Trafford game on Saturday may be in sight for our number one so do not be surprised if he is named in the team tonight. This would be a massive boost for the team, the fans and all concerned with arsenal. No disrespect to Vito Mannone who has had some good games for us but it is quite clear he is not ready to wrestle the number one jersey from our Polish stopper.

Emmanuel Frimpong is likely to start the game to continue his rehabilitation from injury. Our Ghanaian Hardman will relish the opportunity to play in this game and is in no rush to force his way into the first team. The two injuries he suffered over the past two seasons are enough for him to be cautious and not rush back and risk breaking down again. I for one hope that he is over the big injuries and can now kick on to the next stage and fulfil the potential he showed before injuries. It all starts from tonight. Although slightly nervous of the outcome of the tie it is not impossible for us to gain a win. Reading although likely to contain more of their premiership line up can still be beaten. We have enough quality and experience to give as good as we get. Come on you gunners!

Enjoy your day people.

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