Carling Cup Semi Final: Ipswich vs Arsenal – The Preview!

Morning Folks…

And its semi-final day today – the Carling Cup… a competition that we all want to win. We’ve got a talented group of players no doubt, but the desire to win something need homing – not just the desire, but the attitude and more importantly, the belief! West Ham won 2-1 in the other semi final yesterday to put one foot in the door, whilst I wouldn’t rule out Birmingham at all, as they have the away goal, and as we all know, St. Andrews is a tough place to go.

Down at the Grove, the main talking points have been about our lack of defenders, and whether or not Arsene will go into the market for another centre back. He did say if Vermaelen didn’t recover by the start of the transfer window, then he would go into the market, and now suddenly, Squillaci has a hamstring injury, whilst Vermaelen doesn’t look like he will be back for quite some time. For me, if we are seriously trying to win trophies, we’ve got to fill the void.

Johan Djourou has been impressive since his return to the first team, but we all know that an injury to him could be around the corner and if he is over used, then it will come sooner. With Squillaci and Vermaelen out, we are down to two players in Djourou and Koscielny. With Alex Song so impressive in midfield, I wouldn’t want him to drop back into defence and the other option being youth product, Ignasi Miquel, who was on the bench against Leeds, and is captain of the reserves…

For those of you who don’t know much about him, take a quick watch of this video:

The manager summarised the situation:

“Ideally it would be better if they were adapted to English football. If you need players now in January then you cannot wait three months before they can play. If the opportunity turns up we will fetch it but, if not, I believe we can cope. We always have people in mind and we check them out. We look everywhere. It’s difficult to find [them] at this period of the season but overall I feel at the moment we have so many games that it’s very important just to focus on the next one. We have solutions internally with Ignasi Miquel, with Alex Song who can play centre back and with Squillaci, who should come back very quickly. If we find somebody at the right level we will do it, if not we will continue like this.”

I think it will be a good shout to stick him in today – with Man United’s current dominance of the league, I think we’ll need Djourou for the league game on the weekend – we’re playing West Ham and they’re scrapping for their lives – so it will be important to ensure we can field our strongest side on the weekend, whilst also doing justice to our game tonight.

My line up for tonight’s game would be:


Eboue – Miquel – Koscielny – Gibbs

Ramsey – Wilshere

Arshavin – Rosicky – Vela


With a bench of Fabianski, Djourou, Song, Denilson, Cesc, Walcott and Chamakh

Yes, I know it’s reserve and I know it’s the Carling Cup semi final, but we’ve got bigger fish to fry and the team selected should be able to do a job out there. It makes sense to play a slightly weakened team considering the opposition, and knowing we have a home game to fall back on… but all of the players (with the exception of Miquel) are international footballers who can definitely beat an Ipswich side that got hammered by Chelsea 7-0 on the weekend…

Following on from yesterday’s blog about Thierry Henry’s return to Arsenal, albeit just in a training capacity, Arsene Wenger moved to clarify the position of him at the club and additionally the benefit we will gain by having him around – although, we’ve only got him for 7 more days!

“[The arrangement is] for him to get fit and go back to the MLS. He was one of the greatest players this club has ever had, he has done a huge service to this club, and the only way we can pay him back is always to be welcome like we do with all our former players, when they want to get fit. We help them to get fit and that is what he is doing here. He is here until the 19th of January but no [he will not coach the strikers]. We are happy to speak with him every day, he is in the dressing room with the players, they are happy to have him back. He sees as well how much they have evolved since he has left the Club and he can help them to have confidence, he is a very intelligent boy who has massive experience. Of course he can help the players in the dressing room and that is what he does. But we are just happy to help him to get fit. He is happy to be back here.”

Anyway… I’ll leave you with that for today… I will hopefully be back later for Match Day Live…

And remember, you can always follow us on twitter, that is, of course, if you’re a tweetererer….

  • Fo

    I think it will be the same lineup as you’ve predicted, but definitely see Song or Djourou coming in at centre back instead of Miquel – you can’t throw him in AWAY in a semi final – Arsene just won’t do it – I think Song will get the nod!!!

    Interesting interview video there – the boy is determined, that’s for sure!

  • Goonerman

    I hope Ramsey and jack get a game playing alongside eachother!! They are the future of our midfield so to see them play together now their starting to become bigger names will be nice!!

  • sam

    spot on!
    we already having with squillaci struggling to adjust to english game. it will be a gamblr to bring someone like mertesacker who has no premiership experience. maybe young miquel would grab a chance to prove he’s ready for first team football.
    Also vela, arshavin and bendtner need to up their games

  • olutoni

    Nice post..

    Just wondering why Wenger should not try and buy Chris Samba..he’s big strong defender, very good in the air, consistent with premiership experience and he will sure cost less than £8m.

  • tom

    So a premier league, international player with a clean cut image in his 20’s is being blackmailed for having an orgy in Vegas…. Dev didn’t you say you bumped into Chamakh out there last year? fits the bill!

  • Fo

    @ olutoni:
    Chris Samba is just a massive powerhouse – his art of tackling and distribution of the ball is not of the quality of the arsenal!

  • devday

    @ tom:
    Indeed, Tom, I did bump into Chamakh in Vegas. And he was pimping it proper! Well so was I…

    He had a lot of girls around him and knowing Vegas, it’s totally plausible that it’s true about Chamakh – he was rolling high – do you know if he is married? If he is single, then what’s the crime on his part?

  • devday

    @ Goonerman:
    Indeed, the future of the Arsenal midfield…. Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey! Could happen tonight…

    Could it be too early for Ramsey to play?

  • tom

    I did a little search & nothing concrete pops up on wags, so if it is the case its not really a crime.. Just maybe an image thing, not many people will give you airtime/sponsorship deals if youv’e been filmed and photo’d with just a jonny on to keep you warm…
    So you were pimpin it too eh Dev? something you wanna get off your chest?? There were 2 other guys involved too!

  • devday

    @ olutoni:
    @ Fo :
    Samba is a powerhouse yes, but he can play decent football.
    He’s got a bit of Ledley King about him – I think he’s a decent signing – £8m may be too much, but I think he is better than Squillaci…

    The experience is there, the age is there, 26 I think.
    However, he does give away a lot of fouls and that could be dangerous in our line of work!!

  • devday

    @ tom:
    Well, it all started when I told Chamakh I was a Gooner!!
    Only joking… for me, pimping was simply drinking and going to some great parties… a bit to much… I’m a one woman man, no such crazyness from me!



  • devday

    Starting line up:

    Szczesny – Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs – Denílson, Wilshere, Rosicky, – Walcott, Arshavin, Chamakh

  • devday

    Revised starting line-up:
    Szczesny – Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs – Denílson, Wilshere, Cesc – Walcott, Arshavin, Bendtner

  • Jeffo

    Does Bendtner understand the concept of football, i.e. occasionally it helps if you kick the ball towards the opposition net.

  • ZimGooner

    Ipswich are going for it and the usual lazy players i.e. Arshavin and Bendtner are costing us by losing easy balls.

  • devday

    @ Jeffo:
    Bendtner has been really off form today – he has me really worried – his touch has been so bad – his decision making – everything!

  • devday

    @ ZimGooner:
    Indeed, Theo, Arsh and Bendtner are being very lazy.
    Ipswich were scared of us at the beginning of this game, not now though!

  • richiebacardi


  • Josiah

    Simple fact of the matter is, bendtner shouldn’t start, van persie all the way, I know he was injured so chamakh, arshavin shouldn’t start but I know nasri was out, song has to start with wilshere and clichy and sagna need to be full backs. Arsenal tonight were shit I’m sorry to say and now we’ve just got more hard work to do in the second leg.

  • Vazy

    so angry.. ipswich have deserved this, we have been limp upfront … bendtner and arshavin have been disgraceful so lazy from half the team, i feel sick to my stomach! we need to pull our finger out seriously..

    not to take anything out of the ipswich team, again they fought for it much more than we did, save the last 5 mins

    Bring on the next game!!!! COME ON YOU GOONERS!

  • richiebacardi

    I think certain players after tonight and against Wigan have literally opened the door out of the Arsenal themselves.

    I’d like the players to explain why they switched off.

  • richiebacardi

    Come on the Arsenal!!

  • samir

    That was absolute shambles, wenger should be sacked for that stupid idiotic per4mance TOTAL WANKERS DENILSON EBOUE BENTNER ASHRAVIN

  • Goonerman

    Haha @ Samir!! Wenger to be sacked over a carling cup game?? No!! Really bad performance, players all looked like they wanted to be at home, they need to focus and take every game seriously!! A win against westham and I won’t giveca crap about tonight lol!!

  • ZimGooner

    Ipswich pulled a fluke. We look forward to the return tie. Keep ya heads up ye Gooners!!

  • Goonerman

    Arshavin looks really bad iv never seen humbling this before he looks scared to play with the ball and it shows because he can’t make anything happen!! Denilson Is good at doing a job but he has no creativity in him anymore he is our own mikel! And bendtner really is woeful he can’t do anything right get chamackh back in he may not be scoring but he does the basics right!!

  • bayo

    no more arsenal in my life if u want to die allow wenger to kill u

  • olutoni

    I woke up and still can’t believe we lost the match against Ipswich. If Ipswich plays the way they did @ the Emirates then our only hope of a trophy this season is gone. Come 25th Jan, Ipswich will be playing for a draw and there’s even no guarantee we will win if we get to finals. Wenger and the Players need a reality check…and OMG we have so many lazy players in Arsenal now.

  • yemi

    Am i the only one that noticed that in that game
    1. Ebuoue was super ineffective ? He gave djourou double work to do. djourou had to play at CD and RB constantly and ebuoue was nowhere to be found !!! That cost us the gam IMO. Djourou was to wide out trying to cover for him and couldnt recover to cover for KOS. That same move happened more than once in the game. Remember that djourou had to make a last gasp clearance when ipswich striker hesitated on goal after beatind KOS to the ball.

    2. Only Gibbs and djourou seemed to play with any type of passion at all. Jack was also a bit ok but was being drawn back because all the forward line players were ill positioned at all times.

    3. Theo looked out of sorts, not making the runs even when it was very necessary.

    4. immediately i saw cesc in the staring lineup i was worried. The Gunners seemed to come to play for a draw. It looked as if the wanted to play easy with not much stress, earn a draw or maybe a lone goal win without much stress. It backfired cos ipswich got confident.

    5. I also think chelsea resuls against ipswich did not help us AT ALL. Maybe the boys thought it would be a walk-over. After all a not-in-form chelsea put 7 past them

    I hope and pray we qualify though (should I be saying that against ipswich ? what would i say against barcelona ?)

  • paul

    I think the players have qualities, our style of play is good, we were just not good enough. I think the main issue is we have a full squad, which didn’t happen for a long time. Actually, everyone was used to play “a little” because of injuries. For the first time in years, almost everybody is available, and and “natural” first XI has emerged. And mentally, some players have to go past that mind-hurdle saying “your a substitute, really not the first choice”.
    Let’s remember that last year, Denilson was almost a starter. Of course, he was benched sometimes, but when he was on the starting XI, he wasn’t like “an alternative”. Bendtner had no competition up front, there was no strikers. Arshavin, he was “the spark” of the team, etc. I think what we have lacked against both Ipswich and Leeds is a level of concentration and assurance. Those playing were like, you know how we are before a final exam at school, like the situation is binary: “you fail to impress or you succed in it”. Nope, it should be “you have to play the game, and just win it”.

    And what is amaeing in football, is that everything is contagious. A player a good mood can be contagious to the rest of the team. Tonight, it was the inverse situation. The likes of Arshavin, Delison and Nicklas were contagious to the rest of the team. So what can Arsene do about that? I don’t know? Here, start a new work for him. But definitely we have to win this cup. It’s like a natural step. If we win it, for sure it will be the beginning of something huge.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    It was a bad result but we should still beat them at home. I have heard this morning that we may be trying to buy Upson!!!! If this is true I will not be happy, he has been woeful for West Ham. Surely we should be aiming at bit higher!!!

  • yemi

    @ paul:
    I think i agree with you

  • yemi

    @ Gooner Get Ya:
    Upson ? I pray not….