Arsenal will enter the Capital One Cup with a match against West Brom at the Hawthorns. Wenger is widely expected to field a mixed squad with players who are not usually in the starting XI.
Usually, Arsenal will have the first round of the League Cup to experiment with different players. This season, it is going to be very difficult for Wenger to change this squad too much, considering all the injuries and lack of depth we have in the squad. An example of this would be young German forward Serge Gnabry. He has lots of potential but virtually no experience, yet he is expected to start for the first team matches in the coming weeks. Having too much pressure on young players so early can halt their growing process.
Speaking before the match, Arsene Wenger talked to Arsenal.com about one player in particular, Nicklas Bendnter.
“He had nearly gone somewhere else [in August] and in the end he stayed because it didn’t work out and we needed him here,” the boss told Arsenal Player.
“Now he can convince everybody. We are open-minded, we believe in his qualities. I personally believe in his qualities. It’s just down to attitude and fighting [spirit]. When he has that, Nicklas can be an unstoppable striker. He gets his chance. Our job is about that. Take your chance.
“Fans forgive you everything as long as you produce the performances on the football pitch. That’s what people want. I think our fans have a positive attitude towards Bendtner and they will be behind him. Only you can create that with your performances.”
It is sad that we have resorted to playing Bendtner, especially since the last time he played for Arsenal was against Liverpool at the Emirates a couple of seasons ago. Since then, Bendtner has had unsuccessful loans at two clubs, including relegation threatened Sunderland and Serie A Champions Juventus. Bendtner was widely expected to leave Arsenal in the transfer window, but stayed due to shortages up front. It won’t be a pretty site seeing the big Dane in the starting XI tomorrow, but it is better than having nobody.
Overall, I believe the squad is going to be fairly strong. I sincerely hope that Ozil, Giroud, Sagna, Mertesacker, Flamini, and Ramsey are given breaks. We have a much more important game at Swansea on Saturday, one that we must put out a strong side against. Our record to Swansea is sort of poor, so we will be hoping to pick up three points at the Liberty Stadium.
It will certainly be a tough game tomorrow, especially since West Brom are likely to field a mature starting XI. Let’s hope for the perfect start to a competition that will see us laugh all the way down to Wembley.