Capital One Cup, Fourth Round
The Home Of Football, N5
SBN Chelsea Coverage: We Ain't Got No History
TV Coverage: beIN Sport Play (whatever that is)
NOTE: England switched back to Standard Time over the weekend; games thus start an hour later for us in the States both today and Saturday.
After a third round that saw Arsenal beat WBA on penalties, the Gunners move to the fourth round today to face what on the surface is a much sterner test - Chelsea. As mentioned in the comments yesterday, Chelsea will probably rotate all eleven spots; the trouble with that is, with an unlimited war chest with which to buy players, Chelsea's second 11 is better than probably half the Premier League's starting elevens.
Chelsea's second eleven contains a World Cup winner (Mata), the former most expensive player in the world (Eto'o), and a whole bunch of other players who would easily feature on Premier League sides. Arsenal's second eleven contains Nicklas Bendtner.
Still, this is a competition that Arsenal take reasonably seriously; I would expect Szcz, Ramsey, Vermaelen, and Wilshere, of the regulars, to get a start alongside the still-recuperating Nacho Monreal and the Serge Gnabrys of the world. Flamini's still hurt, and this game also serves as the suspension for Mikel Arteta, so hopefully they're in a sports bar somewhere, eating nachos and yelling at the TV. Or something.
Don't for one minute think the players don't want to win this cup - us fans may view it as an inconvenience, the managers might bemoan the timing of it, but managers and players play to win things, and this is a thing to be won. Go win it, Arsenal.