Arsenal v Manchester City Preview: Only One This Time

The two main attractions tomorrow. Along with booing Samir Nasri.
The Carling Cup, Quarter Final
Arsenal v Manchester City
Kickoff: 8:00 PM GMT/3:00 PM EST/12:00 PM PDT
Emirates Stadium, London Borough of Islington
TV: Fox Soccer Plus, Foxsoccer.tv (subscribers only)
Form: Arsenal WDWWWD | Manchester City: WWWWL(HAHAHAHAHAHAHA)D

The Carling Cup returns this week, as Arsenal take on Premier League leaders yet European underachievers Manchester City. With both sides are coming off of European weeks, changes sound aplenty, with Manchester City likely using the £100m of talent that they had on their bench against Liverpool. While Samir Nasri started against Liverpool, his anonymous performance that saw him hauled off after 70 minutes, coupled with a substitute role against Napoli makes it likely that he will make an unwelcome return to the Emirates. Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey are all "in the red" according to Arsene Wenger, so it's likely that they neither start nor appear on the bench. 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Francis Coquelin, Emmanuel Frimpong and Park Chu-Young all seem certain to start tomorrow. After those three, the waters get a little murky, especially in the defence, where Arsenal are missing every single full back at the club beside Andre Santos. With players like Yossi Benayoun and Abou Diaby also needing playing time (though I would prefer that they start getting more in the first team; rotation is good!), Arsene Wenger has a selection dilemma. Given the full back crisis and numbers of midfielders that need playing time, along with the success Napoli had last week against City, I would have Arsenal play in a 3-4-3/5-4-1 formation, with a focus on counter attack. Now, Arsenal's second team aren't as good as Napoli, but Roberto Mancini shouldn't be putting out a side as good as the one that failed to win last Tuesday (HAHAHAHAHA--Also, well done Napoli, for a superb performance), with backups such as Samir Nasri and Kolo Toure playing. 

Fabianski

Koscielny-Squillaci-Miquel

Coquelin-Diaby-Frimpong-Benayoun

Chamberlain-Park-Arshavin

Of course, this is unlikely to happen, but with Arsenal's resources stretched thinly at the back, and lots of first teamers needing rest, I have no idea who Arsene Wenger starts. Based on that, I actually have no prediction, aside from Samir Nasri being booed multiple times and Roberto Mancini's side being laughed at for their likely failure to reach the Champions League latter stages. If Arsenal win, they're in the semi-final, and will face one of Crystal Palace/Manchester United or Liverpool/Chelsea or Cardiff City/Blackburn Rovers. If they lose, we can play the kids again away to Olympiakos, and get on with finishing 4th and going further in the Champions League. Either result is fine; a semi-final would be fine, but losing wouldn't mean a return of the CRISIS. 

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