Arsenal will welcome Manchester City to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night in a Carling Cup quarter-final encounter. The north London side will be hoping to go one better than last season’s heart-breaking last-gasp defeat at the hands of Birmingham City in the final, last February. Check out the Premiership betting odds and have a go at winning yourself a few quid!
Meanwhile the Manchester city club suffered a similarly shocking defeat against another midlands team, West Brom on a scoreline of 2-1. Both sets of players will be looking to rectify those losses of last season and claim the first piece of silverware up for grabs in 2012.
Arsenal have had little difficulty en route to this last-eight clash, seeing off Shrewsbury and Bolton Wanderers with several notable first-team regulars absent for both games. And after a horrific beginning to their season, Arsene Wenger has steadied the ship ensuring knock-out Champions League action next spring as they also continue their march up the Premier League table. The three-time Premier League winners won three games in-a-row before drawing with Fulham at the weekend but they will go into Tuesday’s game with lots of confidence.
Manchester City have enjoyed a relatively simple passage as well to this stage of the cup competition as they disposed of Birmingham City and Wolves on the way with minimal fuss. The Citizens have had a remarkable season thus far, at least domestically, as they are currently clear of the chasing pack at the top of table.
Blitzing many teams in one-sided affairs, they have been nothing short of irrepressible in England. Although this form has not transmitted over to Europe, where it will take a large slice of luck for them to make the last 16 of the Champions League, Roberto Mancini’s men will be bullish about their chances of securing a place in the last four of the Carling Cup.
The hosts are expected to ring the changes for this game as Arsene Wenger cited ”tiredness” as a reason for his team only mustering a point last Saturday. Fortunately for the French manager, he has no new injury concerns for the game but he remains without long-term absentees Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Ryo Miyaichi and Carl Jenkinson.
Wenger is renowned for keeping the faith with his young starlets for these type of cup games and he will be likely to remain true to his philosophy despite the magnitude of what’s at stake as well as the class of the opposition.
The Citizens will travel to London with a virtually fully-fit squad and Owen Hargreaves is the only member of their star-studded squad rated as doubtful for the match. Roberto Mancini will be very wary of tinkering with his team too much ahead of the game.
The Italian tactician saw his wholesale changes for his club’s crucial Champions League group clash with Napoli backfire spectacularly as they fell to a 2-1 defeat. However with the great squad depth at his disposal, whoever he puts out on the pitch will have tremendous ability and be fully capable of helping the club into the semi-final.
The match is certain to be a keenly-contested confrontation, with a two-legged semi-final the reward for the victorious team. Although Manchester City are likely to have a few world class internationals in their starting line-up for the game, the Gunners will be more than up for this one.
The youth of the club will be eager to put on a gutsy, skilful display for their manager and the fringe players will have a point to prove also as Arsenal look to put last season’s nightmare against Alex McLeish’s team behind them for good.