Bradford City vs. Arsenal
Valley Parade, Bradford, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom, Earth
Capital One Cup (League Cup) Quarterfinals
Kickoff: Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 2:45 PM EST
Form: Bradford WLWDW | Arsenal DDLLW
TV: beIN Sport
Arsenal travel up north to Bradford City tomorrow to play the quarterfinal of the League Cup against the team who currently sit in 4th place in League Two.
Bradford have been expelled from the FA Cup this year for fielding an ineligible player, but they are still very much in the League Cup after sending Premier League side Wigan packing in the last round on penalties. Bradford most recently defeated Torquay United after taking 30 shots against ten men and winning in the dying stages of the match from an Alan Connell effort.
Arsenal, for their part, will be missing Olivier Giroud, who got kicked in his back on Saturday, along with the usual suspects Theo Walcott, Laurent Koscielny, Andre Santos, and Abou Diaby. Arsene Wenger has vowed that everyone else will be available, as Arsenal's next match isn't for six days:
"We will have an experience squad at Bradford. We have a good recovery time ahead of the game at Reading on Monday. So we can use the players we want to use."
Now, I love Arsene Wenger. Lots. I will always stand by his decisions. But Bradford is in League Two. It would seem to be pure folly to start any of the following tomorrow: Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Per Mertesacker, Bacary Sagna, Mikel Arteta. He might start Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain if he thinks the young man could use a booster shot of confidence, but Chamberlain played a whole bunch on Saturday, so. Key assets should remain on the bench and only used in emergent situations, I would argue; a team of second-string dudes should be more than capable of taking Bradford, even on the road.
That in mind, here's a lineup one might see tomorrow:
Gervinho seems a long shot, although who knows--Serge Gnabry or Thomas Eisfeld are distinct possibilities in the attack as well. If Arshavin doesn't start, I'll be wearing a sad face all day long.
Match prediction: Bradford win by a final of 2-1 after Arsenal look toothless in attack and give up calamitous goals. However, Bradford are disqualified from the competition after it is revealed that they used a time machine and fielded a starting XI which included 1995 George Weah, 1967 George Best, 1970 Franz Beckenbauer, and three clones of Lionel Messi. Lev Yashin played a blinder in goal, too, only giving up a goal to Arshavin in the spirit of international Communism.