Arsenal will hope to continue their new-found form when they encounter Bolton in the Carling Cup Fourth Round at the Emirates. The Gunners enter the match with three successive victories following a horrific start to 2011-12 and Arsene Wenger's men appear confident and fluent now that the squad has sufficiently adapted following the large influx of deadline day arrivals.
Last campaign, Wenger utilized the Carling Cup as a legitimate title tournament, abstaining from his usual theory to play only teenagers and youngsters in the tournament, and developed a mix of experienced first-team presences and young guns.
It was repeated again as the North London giants defeated League Two outfit Shrewsbury Town in the third round back in September.
Arsenal were 3-1 victors that night, but Premier League opponents Bolton will provide a much tougher task and Owen Coyle is unlikely to produce a team lacking quality and experience. However, Wenger has an array of fringe players awaiting their opportunity to shine and the Gunners will have a highly competitive team.
Carling Cup football is always joyous to watch due to the intensity, liveliness and sudden-death aspect imposed. Two teams capable of thorough attacking football, this should be a terrific encounter. As usual, Bleacher Report predicts the starting XI for Arsenal.
As always, Wenger utilizes his deputy keeper in the Carling and FA Cup. This ensures Polish keeper Lukasz Fabianski, who was the Arsenal No. 1 in the first stage of last season before a shoulder injury ended his season, will start.
Routine No. 1 Wojciech Szczesny will enjoy a much needed rest whilst Italian youngster Vito Mannone is set for the substitute role. Argentine teenager Damian Martinez could, however, receive that role.
Wenger has quite the right back dilemma with renowned Frenchman Bacary Sagna and teenager Carl Jenkinson both injured. The Frenchman was forced to use Johan Djourou as an emergency right back against Stoke City on the weekend and may use the Swiss again, but Wenger may call up reserve starlet Nicholas Yennaris for his Arsenal debut.
Teenage sensation Igansi Miguel is set to make his third appearance of the season in the central defensive role, the Spaniard is likely to be partnered with veteran Frenchman Sebasiten Squillaci, who has a fragile reputation with the Gunners faithful. The 31-year-old has not featured this season.
Brazilian left back Andre Santos is likely to have to back up following the Stoke City encounter as Kieran Gibbs is still suffering from a stomach muscle strain. However, Wenger has the option of utilizing Francis Coquelin, Daniel Boateng and Jernade Meade as potential options. Swiss teenager Martin Angha is in contention for a substitute's role.
Imposing Frenchman Abou Diaby is set to make his comeback from ankle surgery which has seen the 26-year-old absent since the season begun. Diaby will take on attacking midfield duties and is likely to be complimented by impressive Ghanaian teenager Emmanuel Frimpong and French youngster Francis Coquelin.
Dutch maestro Oguzhan Ozyakup is set to receive a bench role alongside highly rated English youngster Chuks Aneke.
Israel captain Yossi Benayoun is likely to start on either the wings or just behind the striker whilst inform teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who fans have been demanding to see more of following goals in both his Arsenal starts this season, is set to start on the right wing.
South Korean captain Chu Young-Park, who has been in blistering form on international duties, is set to make his second appearance for the Gunners as the lone striker. Japanese teenager Ryo Miyaichi will make the bench alongside the electrifying Sanchez Watts and Moroccan star Marouane Chamakh.
With seven places on Arsenal's bench, Wenger is set to boast Vito Mannone as the deputy keeper with Nico Yennaris and Daniel Boateng as emergency defenders. Oguzhan Ozyakup, Chuks Aneke, Ryo Miyaichi and Marouane Chamakh are set to conclude the final numbers of the substitutes.
A tantalizing encounter, can the Gunners advance to the quarterfinals of the Carling Cup?