Arsenal vs. Bolton: Carling Cup Preview and Projected Starting XI
Arsenal were once again saved thanks to their talisman Robin Van Persie, as he came off the bench and scored twice in Arsenal's 3-1 against Stoke City on Wednesday. Gervinho also looked very impressive against Stoke as he scored one and set up both Van Persie goals. Gervinho expressed that it is vital to keep Robi Van Perse at the club. Robin Van Persie has been Arsenal's savior and is among the world's best, according to Arsene Wenger.
When you want to be a team with quality you always have a player who stands out and who gets on the end of things. We had Thierry Henry before. Robin has exceptional quality.
Both Van Persie and Gervinho will get some much needed rest as Arsenal hosts Bolton Wanderers in the Carling Cup on Tuesday. These two will be most likely replaced by Korean striker Chu-Young Park and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been raising eyebrows ever since he joined the North London club. Arsenal will also get a massive boost as Abou Diaby returns to the squad after a lengthy injury spell.
Wenger will probably look to his second team to get the job done against a Bolton side that has been struggling throughout the season. Arsenal have already beaten Bolton earlier in the season with a 3-0 win at the Emirates. Bolton will hope to turn their season around with a victory at the Emirates in the Carling Cup.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle must be concerned with his team's start to the season as they have already lost their seventh game in the EPL in a 2-0 loss at home to Sunderland at the weekend. However, Coyle still remains optimistic about his team and turning their season around. He stated:
I sat, and when I thought about it—it's not a team or group of players that are playing out of their skin and not getting results. There is so much more to come from them, so in my mind, that tells us that when we pick it up and bring it all together, we will pick those points up and go on. This is not a team that is at its' maximum and still not winning games.
Expect Coyle to field his strongest side, while Wenger will try to use more of his youth and reserve players to get the job done and advance to the next round of the competition.
Now let's take a look at what players Wenger will most likely field vs Bolton.
Wenger will most likely play Lukasz Fabianski for this game to give Wojciech Szczesny some much needed rest. Last week, there were reports circulating that Fabianski might consider leaving Arsenal to play elsewhere because of a lack of playing time.
So unless Wenger decides to punish Fabianski for his remarks and plays Vito Mannone, Fabianski will be the starter against Bolton.
The Back Four
LB: Andre Santos
CB: Ignasi Miquel and Sebastian Squillaci
RB: Nicholas Yennaris
With the injuries to Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson, Arsene Wenger has a huge dilemma at the right back position. So far, Johan Djourou has been the short term replacement, but he will most likely not feature in order to avoid more injury to the Arsenal defense. So, Wenger will have to dip into his youth pool and most likely select Nicholas Yennaris to step up to the occasion in his Arsenal debut instead of moving Francis Coquelin to right back.
Sebastian Squillaci, who has gone through ridicule by the Arsenal supporters, will make his first start of the season. "The Squid," which most people call him, will be partnered up with Ignasi Miquel, who has a very bright future at the club.
And with the injury to Kieran Gibbs, Andre Santos will once again start at left back for Arsenal.
This is a new look Arsenal lineup with no chemistry due to the plague of injuries with Arsenal's defenders. This defense might have a challenging test throughout the night.
CDM: Francis Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong
CAM: Tomas Rosicky
Wenger will most likely field a more defensive midfield to help out with the weak defense. He will most likely field two defensive midfielders in Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong to create a brick wall in front of the defense. The other man who will join them will be Tomas Rosicky. It was thought Diaby would be making his return in this game, but Wenger stated he is still a week away from returning.
Tomas Rosicky will have a lot of responsibility in the midfield for Arsenal. He will also have to be the creative force in the midfield, but will get some help from Coquelin in the attack, who looked impressive against Shrewsbury Town in the previous round.
Expect this midfield fielded by Wenger to be very physical and defensive, control the midfield throughout the game, and be able to shut down and neutralize any of Bolton's attacks coming from the middle.
Wingers: Yossi Benayoun, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Forward: Ju-Young Park
Finally Arsenal fans will get to see Ju-Young Park once again. He has only played once this season and should be getting more appearances. But, who can blame him when Robin Van Persie is on a ridiculous run of form. At least the Dutch striker will get some rest, which allows the Korean striker to get the start.
Park will most likely be supported by Yossi Benayoun and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. Chamberlain has been very impressive both for club and international football, which has made many supporters wanting him to replace Theo Walcott in the starting XI. Anyways, Chamberlain will play on the right wing and Benayoun will take the left. Expect Benayoun to move towards the middle to support Park, which allows Andre Santos to attack from the left channel.
The Arsenal Bench
Vito Mannone (GK)
Johan Djourou (CB/RB)
Daniel Boateng (DEF)
Marouane Chamakh (ST)
Ryo Miyaichi (RW)
Oguzhan Ozyakup (MID)
Arsenal are on a great run right now and it seems that the so called "crisis" is in now in the past. The players are now growing confidence unlike their opposition. Bolton's players seem like they are losing confidence by the minute, they have no self-belief, and are showing no signs of turning their season around.
Arsenal will once again dominate possession and have the majority of the chances in the match. Even with resting their star players, Arsenal are more deadly in the attack than Bolton and will create more worries for Owen Coyle.
However, Arsenal are fielding a very weak defense, which will allow Bolton many great chances at goal. But, I don't believe Bolton will be able to withhold the onslaught on the other side of the pitch and will have to look forward to the weekend to turn their season around.
Expect Arsenal to narrowly win against Bolton and advance to the latter stages of the tournament.