Much has been made of Arsenal’s failure to lift a trophy for a while, but I am confident that on Sunday Arsene Wenger’s side will put things right by beating Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final.
Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott may be absent for tomorrow’s game, but Arsenal have proven their strength in depth this season and their midfield is the strongest part of the team.
Don’t be surprised to see either or both Samir Nasri and Jack Wilshere command the game. Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Robin van Persie will captain the side in the absence of Fabregas. The Dutch striker has been lethal since New Year’s day; scoring 10 goals in 7 league games. He also scored a stunning equaliser versus Barcelona in their Champions League first leg against Barcelona.
Arsenal have won both meetings between these two in the Premier League this season; first coming from 1 behind to win 2-1 at the Emirates and more recently, a 3-0 victory at St Andrews on New Year’s day. Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri both scored that day.
Birmingham City have too many threats to deal with in this game. Barry Ferguson and Craig Gardner in the centre will aim to prevent anything going through the middle, while Stephen Carr and Liam Ridgewell have the task of dealing with the threats down the wing. If Arsenal play at their best, Birmingham won’t be able to handle them.
Going forward for Birmingham, you can look at Craig Gardner as their driving force in midfield, while Sebastian Larsson’s set pieces will be their main hope of scoring on paper, with Arsenal poor at defending them. Nikola Zigic, Liam Ridgewell and Roger Johnson are the usual suspects.
I backed Arsenal at 4/7 to win the Carling Cup after they lost the first leg of their semi final with Ipswich. Arsenal are now 3/10 to lift the trophy tomorrow, and 4/7 to win in 90 minutes still looks like a worthwhile bet for anyone who missed my January tip.