It’s an all Premier League clash tonight as Arsenal host Owen Coyle’s Bolton Wanderers in the Carling Cup fourth round, kick off 7.45pm
Both of these sides have experienced poor starts to the season but perhaps they are on the rise since then. Arsenal’s problems have been well documented but three wins on the bounce may have just turned their season around. Sunday’s win over Stoke emphasised their reliance on Robin van Persie though and it is likely that Wenger will rest his main man for tonight’s clash.
Arsenal’s best win of the season to date came against Bolton a month ago when the home side prevailed 3-0. Expect both sides to be changed considerably for tonight as both managers set their sights on the league but Arsene Wenger knows the need for a trophy at the Emirates and like last season is expected to take this competition very seriously.
Thomas Vermaelen is expected to return to the squad following injury but with the game with Chelsea on Saturday in the back of his mind, the Frenchman is likely to rest the likes of van Persie, Koscienly, Mertesacker, Walcott and Gervinho. The game could give Alex Oxlade Chamberlain the chance to impress again while the likes of Chamakh and Arshavin might be able to prove their worth following indifferent performances recently.
Jenkinson, Diaby, Wilshere, Sagna and Gibbs all remain out for Arsenal.
The game gives Owen Coyle an excuse to rest his first choice players and field a weakened team. This competition though might just spark his horribly out of form side into life and kick start their season. A win at the Emirates might be the turning point in their poor season so far and a cup run might just save Coyle his job.
Bolton currently are in the relegation zone but you can still expect a strong enough Bolton side. The likes of Tuncay, Kakuta, Klasnic, Knight and Steinsson are all expected to play.
Arsenal should be too strong but with two weakened sides and the expectations on the home side, the game and a place in the quarter finals is definitely there for Bolton if they really wanted especially considering Arsenal will be looking ahead to Saturday’s clash with Chelsea. Bolton to nick it 2-1.