Monday, 1 December 2008

Carling Cup Preview: Burnley - Arsenal

While Arsenal's elder statesmen continue to either dazzle or frazzle in the Premier League, the club's Carling Cup kids remain impressive.

Carling Cup Preview: Burnley - Arsenal

Once A Claret

It could have been oh so different for one of Arsenal's expected starters. English midfielder Mark Randall spent a three month loan at Burnley last January, and despite picking up niggling injuries, the scheming midfielder left a sufficient impression on Burnley boss Owen Coyle that the Clarets chief wanted to renew that deal in the summer.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is an admirer of Randall's talent though and believed his development would accelerate further if he remained in north London.

All Eyes On Arsenal

Arsenal's League Cup sides have always impressed. Quincy Owusu-Abeyie anyone? But the current crop seem to be bursting with talent. Whether it is the playmaking and almost Joe Cole-esque attacking abilities of Jack Wilshere; the pace, dynamism and finesse of Mexican prodigy Carlos Vela; the accuracy of Fran Merida's passing; the burgeoning shot-stopping of Lukasz Fabianski; or the versatility of Welshman Aaron Ramsey.

Burnley have a game on their hands. But what the young guns make up for in skill and flair, Burnley could match with stubborness, strength, and experience. The same has been said of opponents in the past. Wigan Athletic for instance were supposed to pose a Premier League test for the guns, but the Latics misfired while Arsenal were emphatic. Home advantage at a 22,000 capacity Turf Moor could be key, and confidence will be through the roof after their smash and grab penalty victory over London giants Chelsea.

Playing To Attack

Regarding their fourth round victory, and the prospect of facing Arsenal, Coyle is quoted to have said:

"We are being spoken about in nice terms but we are under no illusions about how difficult this will be. We will have to be totally concentrated and focused.

"But we will also look to commit players forward and make a game of it," he warned. "When we do have the ball I want my players to express themselves.

"We have reached where we are by playing good football and I see no reason to change.''



Nov 29 Burnley 3-0 Derby (FLC)
Nov 24 Barnsley 3-2 Burnley (FLC)
Nov 22 Burnley 0-0 Doncaster (FLC)
Nov 15 QPR 1-1 Burnley (FLC)
Nov 12 Chelsea 1-1pens Burnley (CC)


Nov 30 Chelsea 1-2 Arsenal (PL)
Nov 25 Arsenal 1-0 Dynamo Kyiv (CL)
Nov 22 Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal (PL)
Nov 15 Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa (PL)
Nov 11 Arsenal 3-0 Wigan Athletic (CC)



Midfielder Wade Elliot has a groin problem and will face a late fitness test to assess his availability.

Christian Kalvenes and Remco van der Schaaf are also doubtful

Likely XI: Jensen - Alexander; Carlisle; Caldwell; Jordan - McDonald; Gudjohnsson; McCann; Eagles - Thompson; Blake.


Due to Arsenal fielding two different sides; one for the Premier League and one for the Carling Cup, the last eleven listed below was the team that slayed Wigan Athletic last month at the Emirates.

The same team is likely to feature on Tuesday evening, and there are even rumours of crocked Crozilian striker Eduardo da Silva being named on the bench.

Da Silva will be an unlikely addition though due to him still being some way short of match fitness, together with the fact that this will be a tough away game in the north of the country, against a Championship side.

Last XI (vs. Wigan Athletic): Fabianski - Hoyte; Djourou; Song; Gibbs - Wilshere; Randall; Ramsey; Merida - Simpson; Vela.



Winger Chris Eagles was educated by Manchester United. A right winger by trade, he has been utilised on either flank of late, and was initially seen as a replacement for David Beckham. That hype turned out to be misguided, but he can still pose a threat and the full backs - who like to get forward - will need to concentrate on their positioning so as to now allow Eagles a look in.


Where to start? There's so many. Jack Wilshere is a crowd favourite and is relishing the plaudits. He has a maturity on the ball, and his vision is outstanding.


Burnley 0-3 Arsenal

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