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Bradford City vs. Arsenal

Coral Windows Stadium

Tuesday, 11th December, 2012.


On Sky

Arsenal v Bantams Match Preview

Arsenal travel to League Two high flyers Bradford City this evening with manager Arsene Wenger promising to field a strong team.

A win tonight puts Arsenal two games away from Wembley, but buoyed by a rambunctuous home crowd, the Bantams will represent a stiff test for the Gunners.

Vital Quotes:

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is keen to avoid the spectre of penalties in hostile territory this evening, 'We have to win the game in normal time. They have gained confidence in these types of competitions and confidence plays a big part in that. Hopefully we won't need penalties,' Wenger said.

'Bradford are a force in their league, they are a team who play very good football and very efficient as well. We take them very seriously. They are very efficient at set pieces, so we will have to be very strong on that.'

'Valley Parade was a difficult place to go to when we played there in the Premier League,' he said. 'It is a passionate place with a very special atmosphere as well. That's what you will get again in this match.

'I believe when you go to places like this, you need to tell your players that it will be as difficult as a Premier League game, and it will be.

'Therefore you want to prepare yourself. If you don't do your mental work before the game, you have no chance and that is where our job lies.'

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson, who was last year offered a position as a scout for Arsenal, wants home advantage to tell for his side, ''It'll be a great occasion to have a full house and we have to make sure we have a performance full of commitment and desire.'

Parkinson added: 'We'll make sure that everyone knows their jobs and responsibilities. The personnel might be different to normal but we know what system they'll be playing.

'We've got the utmost respect for them as a club and we know it'll be a difficult game, but it's one we have to enjoy.'

Bradford City Team News:

Phil Parkinson has no new injuries from the weekend match with Torquay United. Tom Naylor and Craig Forsyth are both cup tied.

Zavon Hines (ankle) and Kyel Reid (groin) are still not fit.

Bradford City (from): Duke, McLaughlin, Darby, Davies, McHugh, Oliver, McArdle, Good, Meredith, R.Jones, G.Jones, Atkinson, Doyle, Brown Thompson, Hanson, Connell, Baker.

Player to watch: Alan Connell

The Bantams striker is a huge Arsenal fan, who has already attended two Arsenal home games this season when off of Bantams duty. In fact, he was in the crowd when the Gunners bagged their last trophy in Cardiff in 2005.

You know domestic cups have a tendency to embrace these potentially romantic storylines, don't you?

Arsenal Team News:

Olivier Giroud misses out with a back complaint, whilst Laurent Koscielny (groin), Andre Santos (stomach) and Theo Walcott (ankle) all miss out.

Lukasz Fabianski (ankle) is a long term injury, but Vito Mannone returns to the squad. Abou Diaby (thigh), Bacary Sagna (foot) and Johan Djourou (groin) won't travel.

Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Mannone, Jenkinson, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Squillaci, Vermaelen, Angha, Gibbs, Meade, Arteta, Coquelin, Ramsey, Wilshere, Eisfeld, S.Cazorla, Rosicky, Chamberlain, Arshavin, Gervinho, Podolski, Akpom, Chamakh.

Player to watch: Tomas Rosicky

It seems likely the Czech playmaker will start and it's no wonder that our attacking play completely disintegrated when he came off in Athens last week.

Rosicky's drive and subtlety will be needed to overcome a busy Bantams midfield.

Match Facts & Stats

Arsenal have visited Bradford twice in Arsene Wenger's reign and haven't won either time. A 2-1 defeat in February 2000 was followed up with a 1-1 draw in September 2000.

Ashley Cole registered his first goal as a professional in this fixture twelve years ago.

The sides have met 25 times, with Arsenal winning 11, Bradford 9 and 5 draws.

Ref Watch:

The referee will be Mike Dean. Bugger.

Match Prediction:

Away cup fixtures are never easy and this one especially won't be at this stage of the competition. It'll be cold, a little fesity and with an intense atmosphere. The first 15 minutes are key and if we keep them out in the early stages we should be able to impose our style on them. I'm reasonably confident we win and I'm backing a 3-1 win for Arsenal. Chamberlain, Rosicky and Eisfeld with the goals.

Next Fixtures:

Arsenal play away at Reading next Monday night. Bradford are away at Southend United on Saturday.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 11 2012

Time: 8:52AM

Your Comments

I've seen this City side play a few times. They can get pretty physical at times as the lower league clubs have a tendancy to do. Luke Oliver is a player who has always impressed me. He can play all over the park, he's pretty skillfull too. James Hanson plays up top, he's a bit Theo Walcott in the the sense that he has the ability to massively frustrate but can score goals. Last time I went to Valley Parade I heard him called a "pillock" on about 5 occassions from 5 different people which I found rather amusing.
Rocky7 - A superb piece on tonight's game, and some perspective for the troubles we Arsenal fans percieve ourselves to be in.
The more i read about the Away side, the more it dawns on me this is not going to be an easy game for either team. I feel we need to impose our game on them early enough and we don't even have the luxury of resting too many players, seeing as our next fixture is on Monday night, plenty of time to recover. If we keep them from scoring, overcome their famed physicality and take our chances as early as I expect they will come, we can silence the crowd and make it an exhibition. Anything else, then it is going to be a ground out victory.
Hmm.. anything less than 110% will mean defeat.
Up until this season City were a dire football team, flirting with the bottom three and going out of the football league. There's no reason we shouldn't be extremely confident in an Arsenal victory .... except for the fact this is Arsenal we're talking about.
Wowl..just wow.. That is such a strong line-up. Wenger means business.
Gervinho is absolutely crap!!!!!!
e dubbz
Wow..just wow.. Congrats Arsenal. Just when I thought you could not sink any lower.
This is a cup game at the home of a very good league 2 side. It can't be easy, but we need to just keep probing and be sharp to the tackles.
We need to bring on Ox and Rosicky sooner than later. Gervinho is too uncoordinated for my liking and may have to come off if he won't deliver soon. Ramsey too could do with a rest.
You know, I actually feel sorry for the likes of Gervinho and Ramsey. It's not their fault, they're being asked to deliver at a level they're either not good enough or ready for, and they get castigated by the fans. It's really very concerning that Arsenal FC cannot create any decent chances against a team two levels below.
I wouldn't take off Coquelin at this point, though.
Jeez, we're feckin clueless.
99 problems but a easy game aint one
Bradford to score the winner in added time. You heard it here first.
Wrong again, Sajit!
Yet another coupon busted. Unbelievable. You make me feel sick! I'm better than Gervinho, hes absolutley appauling.
I don't think its a case of not creating chances, the finishing has been rubbish. Gervinho had 2 good chances in front of goal, Wilshere had one. This might goo down to penalties.
Also, their keeper's had a good game, made some solid saves
Don't like the thought of a penalty shoot out with these chaps on their ground.
Where is that kitchen sink?
Our defence is OK, our midfield is fine, but our forwards are just terrible. No matter what happens in this pen shootout, our forward play has been woeful. The Ox has been poor this season on the whole. We need at least two forward/attacking players in the transfer window otherwise we won't get top 4 nor win anything. We're toothless and have been for too often.
Haha.. Am I the only one who sees the funny side of things.
Wenger needs to do the honourable thing.
Who else thought Chamakh would miss?
gaffer has to go!
e dubbz
He has to know that there are no excuses for that result. None. We've had far too many of these performances for this not to be terminal. I don't think it matters what players we have, the problem isn't the players. Losing is institutionally ingrained at AFC.
Feck me Wenger you have turned this club into a laughing stock. I'm sick of your face.
WOW... i am sooo proud to be a Gooner
I think the end is nigh. That is entirely unacceptable from everyone apart from Wilshere.
Chamakh had to miss. You don't give such a responsibility to a man who is low on confidence. Pressure will kill him.
even though a loss is bad , when a lower league team meet a prem team they go all out , their defence was good and chamakh/gervihno were ruubish , without giroud and walcott , you dont look decent going forward
Not being horrible, but did you look at the state of the Bradford players? They look like a bunch of non-league players! Shocking, shocking result. God help us if we play Barcelona.
I have to say that as a fan of the real white knights of North London that was just magical....! God I'm so happy!!
Henry Baker Brown
Does anyone else see Chamberlain long-term as a DM? I've noticed he wins the ball a hell of a lot, and it's where he wants to play touting himself as Alex Song's replacement. 'Alex Song was a great player for us and he was a big player for us — but we’ve got a strong enough squad. I’m definitely confident of that and I’m definitely confident of filling Alex’s role.' If Chamberlain is not going to be one of our forwards in the long-term, I'm not sure it makes sense keeping him out there at the moment. Might be better to try and find a long-term solution for that role.
Arsenales F.C
Chamberlain is skillful, but plenty of DMs are and we need a presence in our midfield similar to what Diaby gives us. From what I've seen of Coquelin and Chamberlain, Chamberlain's ball-winning ability is superior, he's stronger, quicker, more skilful and he's 3 years younger
Arsenales F.C
Chamberlain is probably 3 years away from playing regularly at the level we should aspire to and Ramsey isn't much in front of him. In the first half against Olympiacos our midfield looked as though it could control the game and create chances but not in the 2nd half. Against Bradford we didn't fashion a shot on target until 20 minutes from normal time following the introduction of Rosicky and our midfield didn't look like a midfield at all until then. Cazorla isn't really a playmaker, at least not at the tempo our game needs, and in any event not on his own. Wilshere was also pretty ordinary until Rosicky came on. We don't really have a midfield of consequence at all if Rosicky isn't playing. Such a great shame that he has everything we need except that he's made of straw.
wenger never studies his opponents to exploit their weaknesses but other managers do that on us. mourinho was once quoted that it didn't matter who started for arsenal because we always play the same way. of course wenger never once beat mourinho during the later's reign in chelsea. saf has been beating us frequently too especially over the last 4 seasons or so. increasingly, many weaker teams have been able to nullify our tactics. we used to manage to pull through due to the availability of superior players but sadly not anymore
Thanks goodness I'm self-employed. I feel sorry for Arsenal supporters that have to go into work or school today.
@Joe, when you listen to Wenger speak about our opponents just before a game, that doesn't sound like a man who hasn't studied his opponents. He can only coach and advise his players; the rest is up to them when they get on the pitch. You don't coach players to bury every penalty kick or to take your chances when they come. You can only talk about it but when you have to rely on the likes of Gervinho, you are up the creek without a paddle. Of course, he is Wenger's buy, probably brought in to learn under much better players, only to find a "top dog" role being foisted on him.
@Joe, when you listen to Wenger speak about our opponents just before a game, that doesn't sound like a man who hasn't studied his opponents. He can only coach and advise his players; the rest is up to them when they get on the pitch. You don't coach players to bury every penalty kick or to take your chances when they come. You can only talk about it but when you have to rely on the likes of Gervinho, you are up the creek without a paddle. Of course, he is Wenger's buy, probably brought in to learn under much better players, only to find a "top dog" role being foisted on him.
It's always tricky playing lower league sides as while they know everything about us (a Prem League side with TV coverage and all), all we know about them is what we pick up as soon as the fixtures are announced. The rest will be down to our quality and luck. Both were lacking last night.
Whilst I agree with most of what Amos says about Rosicky, there are players in that midfield who are at least as good as him, if not better - why on god's green earth can Wenger not tease a performance from them? These are top internationals. In my opinion last night he got another sub wrong Coquelin was the one showing all the drive and ambition that Ramsey or whoever else should've, what the hell does he see in Gervinho? That miss is just unbelievable for a footballer.
Totally agree on Rosicky, not only was Wilshere quite ordinary when he came on but, strangely for him, he bottled every challenge going for the first hour. I recall a point where the ball bounced between him, Ramsey and a Bradford player. Ramsey had just had his lip burst open by a stray boot about 2 minutes before but he still went up for the header ahead of Wilshere. I think Ramsey was still even holding tissue on his face when he went up for that. For all the talk of needing a striker (and we do), we really do need someone capable of a defence splitting pass. We have wonderful passers, but they all spread the ball about in a way that doesn’t really hurt or stretch defences. A mixture of not having anyone capable of threading a through ball and playing the most cowardly “striker” in the world in Chamakh made it difficult even when we were throwing everything forward. Seriously, Chamakh will do absolutely anything to avoid getting into the area into a position where he might score. My only criticism of Rosicky would be for not stepping up for a penalty ahead of Chamakh (though to his credit, at least Chamakh kicked the ball towards the goal with his effort, as he walked up to the spot, I did wonder if he’d run outside of the area and try to hide behind an opposing full back). Rosicky has a good record from the spot and is one of our most experienced players. That said, it was our two youngest that scored and 22 year old Szczesny showed a lot of bottle to drag us back into that shootout when it could have been over much earlier.
Little Dutch
I had that same criticism for a penalty but then thought it'd be churlish to point it out as me being over harsh on him - not that he's bothered by what I think, i'm sure. Maybe the players don't look for the killer pass cos the boss picks them on their pass completed stats?
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha. 8 years and counting... Couldn't happen to a better club..
the corner pin
I just don't honestly think we have the players with that skillset to both spot and play the killer ball. It's a glaring hole in the squad every bit as much as only having one centre forward worthy of the name.
Little Dutch
Not many of those available in world football unfortunately, and the ones that are cost the money we simply won't entertain spending.
Why won't you entertain spending it? After all you're paying top wack for your tickets, you've got a massively lucrative stadium, a massively lucrative sponsorship deal with Emirates, and you get CL money every year. You also sell your best player every year for millions and millions. You've got a manger who is very, very highly paid and a chief executive who earns more than the entire Chelsea board. So, why can't you find the money to compete?
Henry Baker Brown
If I had answers to those questions we'd all be a bit more enlightented, truth is, no one really knows - the money is apparently there if you look at the cash flow of the last few years, it's either being held back, or Wenger baulks at the prices and goes for the cheap option every time. Wenger of course will not come out and tell us if the former is the case cos he's one of the best paid managers in history and is completely entwined with his boss, who he interviewed.
At the end of the day, it's your club and your money. A football club is nothing without its fans. We live in a world where money talks and bull***** walks. If you want change then the best thing you can do is to withdraw your financial support until a new manager comes in. In my view Arsenal desperately need a new man at the helm who will play simple attacking football and put the smiles back on the supporters' faces. What's happened at your club is a grave lesson to us all to be careful what you wish for.
Henry Baker Brown
It aint that feckin bad you melt. Jaysus.
I accept Chamberlain is a while away Amos, but to me his defensive work is superb, a lot of the chances he creates come from a position where he's won the ball from the opposition, and he himself wants to play DM. I don't want Wenger to use "we have Chamberlain there" as an excuse for not getting an attacking player, because Chamberlain's stated long-term he wants DM.
Arsenales F.C
And from the looks of his play he can not only play DM, but offer us something special from DM which would give us a stronger attack than your traditionally less talented DM.
Arsenales F.C
lol shewore, not expecting rational thought from a spud are you lad?
I agree with LD when he says "We really do need someone capable of a defense splitting pass....". I recall stating something similar on the Nov 26th thread ('Does Wenger know what he is doing?' was the article heading, I think) and had an exchange with Shewore as to the skill set we miss in Cesc Fabregas, who had an eye for the intricate pass. Our forward men run into positions but our midfield men just look for the side ways passes instead of looking out for the runs and threading dangerous passes through the opposing defenses; or loft the ball at just the right weight to play in our forwards on goal. That is the kind of player we need and the only one close now, is Jack and perhaps, Rosicky.
It wasn't just an eye for the intricate pass that fabregas had it was innate vision. It was like he had the power to freeze the game and take stock of all that was around him, what player could run where, it was like chess to him where he was thinking two, three moves ahead. Just lightning in terms of his thought process and his ability to distribute instantly to an area that would trigger the biggest danger for the opposing side, noone can replicate that, santi for all his strengths does not have anywhere close to cescs' vision for the game. But also in fairness to santi he does not have anywhere close to the movement ahead of him that cesc had.
ive supported arsenal since my first visit to highbury in 1949 and over all those years we have had good years, bad years, and fantastic years. but in all those years not once has my love of the team ever wavered, and this latest minor setback in our quest for better days does not diminish my unfailing support for the finest team ever to grace the football league. it saddens me to see some of our so called supporters calling for arsenes dismissal. wheres the pride in your club, lesser teams sack their managers after a few bad results, but we are GOONERS and we are above all that crap. suck it up boys and girls, our day will come again, i only hope im here to see it
cornish gooner
It isn't just about a defence splitting pass it's about the ability to pick the right pass with the right weight at the right time. The speed of the decision and then avoiding the temptation to just stand there admiring your own pass. Wilshere doesn't have it - like Ramsey he's a fetcher and carrier - good in it's way but not someone to make the whole team play. Cazorla is brilliant on the ball but wasted playing too deep. Pires and Cesc could do it, Hleb could do it but in the current squad only Rosicky can make others play. We desperately need to find someone else who can and then play them.
I'm a big believer in the great players teaching younger players. I think a big part of the reason Barcelona is so good now is the influence Ronaldinho had on the up and coming players same with Arteta, he was the ball-carrier watching Ronaldinho, Jay-Jay Okocha, Laurent Robert etc. ahead of him, and was able to incorporate some of their technique into his game. If we weren't in such a dire state at the moment I would advocate bringing Frank Lampard in from Chelsea for the younger players, especially for Ramsey to learn from, with a view to him becoming a coach in future. He's supposed to have a 150+ IQ, and if you look up a Lampard playmaker compilation on youtube he certainly plays like he does. I've secretly hoped Lampard would take his coaching badges at Arsenal for a while now, and if Ramsey's ever going to make it for us he needs to learn to play like Lampard.
Arsenales F.C
But that's if we weren't in the state we are now. At the moment we probably have more pressing concerns. You see the effect of players teaching players when you look at Alex Song though. Playing behind Fabregas he learned how to make that defence-splitting pass as well. And of course Fabregas learned from watching Guardiola.
Arsenales F.C
"I've secretly hoped that Lampard would take his coaching badges at Arsenal for a while now" Of all the desperate solutions to the problem that has to be funniest! Wouldn't be the first time a Chelsea man or a member of the Redknapp tribe taught you a thing or ten about football. Happy 8th anniversary.
Henry Baker Brown
I don't think like a Spud, I think in the long term. Lampard is likely to be a brilliant coach one day and I'd like it to be at Arsenal. He's got fantastic ability to score and split a defence and I would like our younger players to learn from that. Would rather get Lampard on the basis of his career than Sigurdsson on the basis of half a season.
Arsenales F.C

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