Norwich City pitch up at the Emirates for tonight’s Carabao Cup tie with both sides expected to be massively different from those which won their respective league matches on Sunday. The madness of the fixture list means the Canaries enjoyed about two hours more rest than us; why this match couldn’t be played tomorrow is beyond me.
The side will no doubt be similar to the one which won in Belgrade with the exception of those who started on Sunday. Speaking to the media, Arsène vowed to carry on with his squad rotation,
“I’ve gone into that rotation policy and afterwards you have to continue to do it, especially when both teams work well and both teams support each other at the moment.
“I must say that it’s difficult to make a change because to win away from home in the way we did at Belgrade, you need some special quality. Let’s hope we can reiterate that against Norwich.”
Jack Wilshere is the focal point and divination of the side by bibs worn in training photos certainly supports that theory. It’s been another journey from zero to hero for Jack, no doubt his detractors are waiting for him to fall on his face before pouncing on his unsuitability for the Arsenal side. Kicking Jack doesn’t alter the fact that Mesut Özil is most likely leaving.
Wilshere is reportedly set to be offered a new deal for the club which, this late in the day, smacks of being scared of losing another player on a free transfer, given Wenger’s ten-game target is nowhere near being completed yet. Whether that includes the upcoming England friendlies against Germany and Brazil is unclear. That’s if Gareth Southgate decides Jack is worth risking at the moment.
The Long Voyage
Wenger praised his forwards for the recent back-to-back victories. “We have so much offensive force on the bench as well,” he said. “It’s really a strong point of the club at the moment.”
As if to underline that, Olivier Giroud won the “Quick Arsenal fans, there’s an online poll so let’s vote” award at the FIFA soiree in London last night. It was a good goal and of the three, the only worthy winner to be fair but it doesn’t take much for social media to mobilise behind an Arsenal player in that situation, does it?
Arsène doesn’t give two hoots about the League Cup and made no attempt to disguise it,
“I always used [the League Cup] to give a chance to young boys. We went to the final with a very young team and nearly won it.”
We went to the final with an experienced team and “nearly won it” as well but nearly isn’t quite good enough. His priorities haven’t changed though,
“I always focus on winning trophies in the Premier League and FA Cup domestically, and always used the League Cup as an education for our young players.
“But with this team I have the squad to go further, so let’s see. Let’s focus on winning the match against Norwich and then we’ll see where we will go.”
That last statememt is probably to prelude to an embarrassing home defeat; it’s an Arsenal kind of thing to do.
With David Ospina injured, Matt Macey most likely starts in goal. The depleted Under-23s side which lost 2 – 3 to Spurs yesterday underlines the extent of changes to be wrought. Not that the manager is worried,
“That’s the luxury I have at the moment and the difficulty I have as well. All these players do well, play well and they deserve to play.”
It’s a good opportunity to see the younger players develop. Those such as Willock, Maitland-Niles and Nelson, have already seen a fair amount of first team action between them. This time, a couple of others might be thrown in for good measure. No matter, there is still an expectation of victory tonight and moving into the last eight.
Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.