Well if there was one game I couldn’t wait for the return leg this season so far, then Manchester City vs Arsenal was the one. Now thanks to the magic of the League Cup draw, we get an extra episode in this intriguing match up. There is no doubt that the first league clash saw some pretty unsavory scenes both on and off the field and the repercussions are still rippling through both clubs. It will be interesting to see if Wenger scraps his usual policy of youth and fields the strongest team available to him on Wednesday night.
Manchester City on the other hand will no doubt look to play their strongest side, which of course means Adebayor and Toure will once again face up against their former team mates. City are determined to put a marker down this season and the unwanted record of 7 consecutive draws in the Premiership, with only the solitary win against Scunthorpe United coming in the last two months to give the Blue side of Manchester some cheer. Winning the League Cup is certainly on Mark Hughes’ list of priorities, a trophy would be a major step in the right direction for both himself and Manchester City.
The question for me is though can Arsenal rise above gaining revenge at Eastlands? Coupled with the defeat on Sunday against Arsenal which saw some unusual post match comments from Arsene Wenger, keeping a calm head will be crucial for the Gunners. It is unusual for a League Cup game to have so much riding on it but this game now becomes a needle game for both sides. The league clash was a thrilling roller coaster ride for the neutral fans out there and with it being live on TV, I’m really looking forward to it for the right reasons. I don’t want it to descend in to a free for all, I want a damn fine game.
With Van Persie and Bendtner out of Wednesday’s clash, the Adebayor fan club won’t be in evidence on the pitch, but it’s important for both teams to try and put the events of September 12th behind them. After all the accusations and fall out, the last thing either side needs is a repeat of the animosity that broke out that day. Both sides need a result for varying reasons and it’s odd that this game could offer both some much needed respite.
Hughes is once again coming under pressure from certain parts of the media, but it was never going to be easy to get such an amount of signings to gel so quickly. Manchester City were never going to hit the ground in the way some people thought, it doesn’t work like that. Arsenal, once again hit a ropey patch and the knives come out for Wenger who has seen his side lose two in a row in the Premiership but made sure they were through to the knock out stages of the Champions League.
For both sides, the League Cup could offer some much needed silverware to go in the trophy cabinet and give the fans something to cheer about. The League Cup, for all it’s maligned reputation has had something of a renaissance in recent seasons and the last 8 sides are all Premiership clubs who fancy their chances of reaching the semi finals.Both clubs at Eastlands will be trying to make sure they are one of them and I think it may be a cracker of a game.