Arsene Wenger is set to select a strong side when Arsenal travel to face League Two side Bradford in the quarterfinals of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday. With just three victories standing between them and a much talked about first trophy since 2005, Wenger knows the potential importance of removing that particular monkey from the club’s back.
“We take every competition as an opportunity but of course the way is shorter now [in this one] so that is why we focus on that,” he said, according to the official Arsenal website.
Arsenal reached this stage of the competition on the back of an incredible 7-5 extra-time victory over Reading and Wenger has also been encouraged to field first-team players because they will have a six-day break until the side’s next match, ironically against Reading.
“As always, we’ll have a side that has a good chance to go through,” he added. “We know that in England, you need to be ready when you go into a cup game of this intensity.“Of course we want to take our chance and go through to the semi-final. We’ll use an experienced side because we have time to recover before Monday’s match at Reading.”
One man that will be missing for the trip to the Coral Windows Stadium is striker Olivier Giroud, who has been ruled out with a back injury suffered in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over West Brom. Theo Walcott, Andre Santos, Abou Diaby and Laurent Koscielny all remain on the sidelines.
Wenger has admitted that he is keen for the tie to be settled in normal time after Bradford made the last eight of the competition following a penalty shootout victory over Premier League side Wigan. Impressively, that was Bradford’s seventh-straight triumph in shootouts.
Bradford have fallen sharply since their two seasons in the Premier League between 1999 and 2001. The Yorkshire outfit now resides in fourth tier of English soccer. But, after several seasons spent toward the bottom of the division, Bradford are now challenging for promotion under manager, and former Arsenal scout, Phil Parkinson.
D: Darby, Good, McArdle, Meredith
M: Thompson, Doyle, Jones, Atkinson
F: Wells, Hanson
D: Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Meade
M: Ramsey, Coquelin
Gervinho, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Prediction: Bradford have been in good form in League Two of late, but, with Arsenal’s likely strong lineup, the Gunners should progress to the last four without the need for any of the drama they experienced in the last round.
Bradford 1-3 Arsenal
Where to watch: The Capital One Cup quarter-final will kick-off at 2.45 p.m. Live coverage will be provided by beIN Sport. A live stream, which you view at your own discretion, will be available here.