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Ipswich vs. Arsenal: match preview

Kickoff: Weds. Jan 12th, 245 PM EST, Portman Road, Ipswich
TV Coverage: Fox Soccer Plus, (for subscribers)

Arsenal travel down the road a piece to kick off the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final tie against Championship side Ipswich Town tomorrow.  The second leg will take place on Tuesday the 25th at the Emirates.



Ipswich recently fired manager Roy Keane, and the club announced yesterday that former Derby manager Paul Jewell has taken over in his place.  Jewell, who last managed in 2008, says he feels his time away has refocused his mind.  However, he will not have taken charge for tomorrow yet; coach Ian McParland will be at the helm against the Gunners tomorrow.

For Arsenal, Sebastien Squillaci is going to miss 2-3 weeks with a hamstring problem, according to Arsène Wenger.  This, coupled with another setback over the weekend for Thomas Vermaelen, is bad.  It almost assuredly means that a new central defender is on the way from somewhere, but as of right now, there are no solid indications of who that might be.  For tomorrow, it looks like Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny will start at the back, unless Wenger gets wild and opts for youth player Ignasi Miquel, who was on the substitutes bench for the Leeds FA Cup match.

Of course, given that tomorrow's match is the first leg of a two-leg tie against opposition who sit just above relegation in the Championship, it seems likely that Wenger will opt to use a number of youth and fringe players.  Fixture congestion is going to be a slight issue with the upcoming FA Cup replay, so Wenger may opt to work some reserves into the mix.  In addition to Miquel, Craig Eastmond, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, and Conor Henderson may be part of the manager's plans.

Possible lineup:


Eboue         Djourou        Koscielny       Gibbs

Eastmond      Denilson


Walcott         Bendtner         Arshavin

Although one might be tempted to try Arshavin behind the striker, and put JET on the left or right...?