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Preview: Arsenal v. Ipswich


Ashburton Grove



The second half of Arsenal's semi-final kicks off tomorrow at the Grove. With Ipswich coming in with a one goal advantage to defend, I highly doubt we'll see the open play from our visitors that we saw a fortnight ago. It will be up to Arsenal to break through the clichéd parked bus.

It is my opinion that if any Arsenal player needs a rest, it's Djourou and Koscienly, not van Persie, Fabregas, and Nasri. Unfortunately, Arsene's refusal to bring in defensive cover means those two will be forced to play in their 7th and 6th match respectively in 25 days. The time to rest the aforementioned trio is this weekend against Huddersfield. Tomorrow, play the strongest possible XI to make sure we get to Wembley. If we can put the game away early, then take them off for a rest. However, it looks like Wenger will rotate the squad tomorrow anyways.

Vital Quotes:

Arsenal's young 'keeper is confident in his team's ability: 'We have a team from the Championship coming to the Emirates and they probably won't fancy it too much, but we fancy our chances and are confident we will go through.' said Szczesny.

'We are Arsenal and believe we can beat anybody.'

Ipswich defender Damien Delaney had this to say on his team's tactics: 'We will go and park the bus in front of the goal at the Emirates, like Jose Mourinho said.'

Whether Ipswich can be as successful as Mourinho remains to be seen.

Arsenal Team News:

There are no new injury concerns for this match, despite several players appearing to pick up knocks during early part of the second half against Wigan. Diaby, Squillaci, and Rosicky may be back in time for this weekend's FA Cup clash with Huddersfield. I'd like Arsene not to rotate, but I get the feeling he will.

Player to watch: Nicklas Bendtner

Nik needs to have a good game if he plays. He was good at Elland Road despite being woefully played out of position. If he can get on the score sheet, then I'm sure Arsenal will progress.

Ipswich Team News:

Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell has also has no new injury concerns to deal with. Only former Man United winger Lee Martin will not be available for selection due to being cup-tied.

Player to watch: Marton Fulop

The 'keeper will be the most important player for Ipswich as it is very likely Arsenal will constantly pepper his goal. If he can have a blinder like Al Hasbi did this weekend, then Arsenal could be in trouble.

Match Facts & Stats

This is the 59th competitive meeting of these clubs. Arsenal have won 29 (exactly half) of the previous 58, Ipswich have won 18, and there have been 11 draws.

Arsenal are appearing in the League Cup semi-finals for a record 14th time. They have gone on to reach six finals, and have won the League Cup twice.

Ipswich have lost five and drawn one of their last six away games in all competitions.

Ref Watch:

Mark Halsey will be the head official for this match.

Match Prediction:

I'm nervous, but I'm going to go with a 2-0 home win. I wouldn't be surprised though if Arsene's squad rotations don't click and we struggle to break Ipswich down.

Next Fixtures:

30/1 (Sun) - Huddersfield Town (h) - FA Cup

1/2 (Tue) - Everton (h) - Premier League

5/2 (Sat) - Newcastle (a) - Premier League

Writer:Brice Coffer
Date:Monday January 24 2011
Time: 5:51PM

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I'm both nervous and excited about this game! Calling it 'season-defining' isn't a huge overstatement to be honest.
24/01/2011 18:01:00
Season defining is quite a huge overstatement to be fair. This is the 5th time we've made a CC SF in the last decade so it's hardly a unique experience. Having said that our appetite is probably greater now than it has been for some time. There is a logic to playing the big guns in this game irrespective of the competition given the option to rest them at the weekend. Who would've imagined we'd get so excited about the mickey mouse cup though?
24/01/2011 18:18:00
Most important game of the season so far. We absolutely positively need to win something to give us momentum for the rest of the season.
24/01/2011 20:09:00
The significance isn't the winning of the actual trophy, it's a stepping stone to something bigger. It's a building block to the next step. Get these young lads a taste of something silver and them hungry for more.
24/01/2011 20:31:00
Vital Ipswich editor here again. Looking forward to Tuesday night with hope and fear in equal measure (but expectation absent!). Hoping for a good game at least and with any luck we will keep it a contest for as long as possible. In addition, anyone who is interested can read my interview with Rocky about the game over on Vital Ipswich:
Darren C
24/01/2011 20:52:00
0 this made me chuckle.
25/01/2011 07:54:00
That explains his head and facial hair. Its the snow!!
25/01/2011 13:11:00
This game is all about getting the young lads used to winning things. We are competing for silverware on (all) 4 fronts and having this in the kitty could well define how the team focuses for the others. I expect some minor rotation; surely, Arsene knows this is important for the team.
25/01/2011 17:03:00
Who is No 5 on this list ..Its not a list you want your team to be so high on
25/01/2011 17:28:00
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