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Arsenal vs. Ipswich: Carling Cup match preview

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Kickoff: 2:30 PM EST, Emirates Stadium
TV Coverage: Fox Soccer Plus, (heavens willing; for subscribers)

Arsenal welcome Ipswich Town to the Emirates for the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-finals tomorrow.  The first leg in Ipswich ended with a final score of 1-0 to the hosts, so Arsenal have some work to do to progress to the final at Wembley.

Arsenal have sustained no new injuries following from Saturday's match against Wigan, according to the official site.  However, it seems unlikely that Wenger would trot out the same XI that he used three days ago, and indeed, whether he will opt once again for the only two healthy senior center backs he has, Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny.  Not that he has much choice, of course; he has spoken about using Alex Song there, but it's not as if Song is fresh as a daisy at the moment either.  And with Tomas Rosicky out with a virus and Aaron Ramsey off to Cardiff, Arsenal's midfield options if Song drifts back aren't the strongest either.

Ipswich have no new injuries either, so Tomas Priskin, scorer in the first leg, will almost assuredly start at the front for the Tractor Boys.  Arsenal had to learn the hard way not to let off too much against theoretically weaker opposition, and Jack Wilshere said on the BBC that

"Maybe we were not expecting them to be as good...We needed to get used to the Championship style and we know that these teams will always be up for it.

"We knew they would tackle and be tenacious but their quality was good as well - the standards are so high in that division now, and if Arsenal are loaning players to these teams then it has to be a good level."

If Arsenal reach 90 minutes tomorrow at 1-0, there will be extra time.  If it's 2-1, Ipswich will go through on away goals.

CORRECTION: if the aggregate scores are level after 90 minutes, as per rule 13.5 of the cup, extra time will be played.  If they're still level after THAT, away goals count then.  Apologies.

Possible lineup:


Eboue       Djourou       Koscielny      Gibbs

Denilson        Wilshere


Walcott      Chamakh      Arshavin

with, almost assuredly, Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri waiting in the wings at halftime if things look stagnant for the Gunners.  Given that Walcott took a knock on Saturday, one might see Bendtner at the right wing, although if that happens, one might also see Sagna at right back to offer a more stable platform for Bendtner going forward.