Yesterday saw the FA deciding to charge Wenger with improper conduct for placing his hands on the fourth official. It has been reported that they have offered him the chance to accept a one game touchline ban and an 8k fine, or risk more severe punishment by fighting the charge. Having spoken out last week about how the FA need to do something to stamp out dangerous tackles, it was no great surprise that the FA decided to charge him and I think that he would be wise to just accept the punishment and move on.
Elsewhere, Fabregas revealed that there is no major damage to the muscle itself, just a build-up of fluid and that he should only be out for about two weeks. Fingers crossed that it will clear up before the Chelsea game next week. However, the official website lists it as a hamstring injury which may see him ruled out for up to three weeks.
Fabianski has been talking about how the Carling Cup is his big chance to stake his claim for the no1 spot, but I am still hoping that the rumour going around yesterday about it being Szczesny that will start in goal against Spuds tonight is true. There’s no harm in hoping. JET, Lansbury and Eastmond have reportedly been included in the squad for tonight’s game, though I haven’t been able to track down an actual squad list as of yet. Nordveit is reportedly set to miss out due to injury.
So, that will more than likely see us line up with Fabianski, Eboue, Koscielny, Djourou and Gibbs in defense. (Still crossing fingers for Szczesny…) Midfield is a bit trickier to call, but I think that we may see Denilson and Nasri play as both need to get some playing time under their belts as they continue their comebacks from injury. Eastmond may get the chance to start in place of Song. JET and Vela may also start with Chamakh getting the nod up front given the lack of options we have in that position due to injury. The big risk in playing Chamakh is that he could pick up an injury, which would leave us up the creek. So, we may see Rosicky start with Vela up front instead of Chamakh.
It will be interesting to see which side each team starts with given their respective fixture schedules and injury lists. Generally, Tottenham start with a strong team in the Carling Cup but their Champions League involvement may have an influence on their selection. As we all know, Wenger likes to go with youngsters in the Carling Cup but maybe, just maybe, there will be a bit more experience than usual in our starting eleven tonight. What the manager has to decide is whether it is better to play a slightly stronger side than usual in order to progress, or to risk playing the less experienced players straight off the bat and hoping that they have enough to go through. If the rumour of just three youngsters in the squad are true, well three youngsters added to our usual squad of youngsters, then it seems that the manager may be leaning towards the former.
On The Mirror’s website today, John Cross reckons that the starting eleven will be: Fabianski; Eboue, Djourou, G Hoyte, Gibbs; Randall, Denilson, Lansbury, Rosicky; Vela, Emmanuel-Thomas. Which indicates that there may be more than the three reported youngsters in tonight’s squad. I like the great unknown that is the Wenger Carling Cup team selection.
I think that if we are going to play Fabianski in goal, we will need to play one of Koscielny or Squillaci instead of Hoyte alongside Djourou in order to give him some much needed extra protection.
Ray Parlour and Nigel Winterburn have been talking ahead of the game tonight and it’s worth a read. They also talk about the Fabregas and Almunia situations.
One way or another, tonight’s game is one that we want to see the team win. I know the Carling Cup is the lowest of the team’s priorities but the fans want to see some silverware and if getting that silverware involves knocking Spuds out along the way, all the better.
Not looking forward to getting up in the middle of the night to watch it, but that’s the price you pay for living in Japan.
* UPDATE: apparently, if Wenger accepts the charge by noon today, he will miss tonight’s game.
* UPDATE 2: Wenger has accepted the misconduct charge and will be banned from the dugout for tonight’s game.
Come on you Reds!! Take it easy.