League form bears little relevance to Cup Competitions in my opinion and especially in this Cup.
Teams change, different personnel come in for their chance to show their worth, prove that they deserve a chance on a regular basis.
We can expect little different tonight either, we should see a mix and match of old and new, experience and inexperience but whoever gets their chance, I hope take it.
It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Robin van Persie will sit this one out, maybe Wenger will keep him on the bench for that ‘just in case scenario’ – but I hope not, he needs to take this opportunity to rest and rest properly, not be sat around on a cold damp chilly night in London.
This is our starting eleven from the last round against Shrewsbury:
Whether Wenger takes tonight’s fixture a little more seriously remains to be seen.
After all, we are facing a fellow Premier League side in Bolton, one that we huffed and puffed against in the league and only managed to score the second and third goal once they had been reduced to ten men.
He has no choice but to makes changes at both left and right back due to injuries to both Gibbs and Jenkinson, no doubt Santos will come in on the left but on the right, I’m not sure who will play.
I strongly suspect that Djourou will continue there, however, we are talking about Arsene Wenger here, who knows what he will do, maybe Yennaris will be his choice.
Squillaci could come in to play alongside Miquel, unless of course Thomas Vermaelen makes a welcome return, he certainly looked ready in training yesterday..
Wouldn’t it be a sight for sore eyes to see him back in red and white tonight, a massive boost to every player in the side and every fan across the world?
Wenger said yesterday:
He is back in full training again, he is alright now.
I think he will be at least on the bench.
The midfield will no doubt be the same, unless Tomas Rosicky comes in to add a bit more experience to the side and having been an unused substitute on Sunday.
One pairing I hope stays the same as the last round is Ju Park and Chamakh, both need playing time and both need to have a good game. Hopefully they can get a few goals between them, not only for the team of course and the result tonight but maybe more importantly, for themselves.
Things are starting to improve a little for us but we should be very aware of the wounded animal…
Bolton are struggling, they are suffering maybe the worst they ever have done under Owen Coyle and tonight they will be glad to escape the pressure of the Premier League and they have just been on the receiving end of an earful from their captain Gary Cahill:
A few of the lads, myself included, need to have a look and question themselves over whether they are doing enough.
You can maybe afford to carry one player but you cannot afford to carry a handful and it has been different players in different games.
When you are under pressure, there is only so much you can head out and defend. It is difficult because I was out there (against Sunderland) thinking, ‘Why are we under so much pressure?’ We were defending all the time. We have to sort it out.
Owen Coyle has confirmed that he is planning to make seven or eight changes and no doubt those coming in will want to impress their boss, wanting him to believe that they could be the players to turn their season around – another reason for us to stay focussed from start to finish.
This is going to be a tough fixture and nothing should be taken for granted.
I hope Bolton sort their troubles out but not tonight, I hope they have to defend as much if not more than they had to at the weekend when they lost 2-0 to Sunderland.
We need to continue our mini recovery, grow and build each game and there would be no better way to go and face the Pensioners on Saturday than with another win under our belt…
Oh and of course be in the pot for the next round ….