Capital One Cup Team Selection for Coventry – A Bloggers Guide


Stevie Morrow – League Cup Hero 93

I was going to write a short piece on my thoughts around the squad and team selection for our entrée in the Capital One Cup. After all there is nothing inspiring to write about as a rule during international breaks and ‘Lady Luck’ has been kind, drawing us at home to struggling League 1 outfit Coventry. Rather depressingly her Ladyship also decided to be kind to all the ‘Big Boys’ with there being only 2 all Premiership ties and only Liverpool away to West Brom a likely casualty. The observation that Liverpool are no longer being a force would be cheap and beneath me and they are, let’s not forget the holders.

It is 20 years since we last tasted victory in the second tier domestic cup competition, when in 1993 George Graham’s fading side somehow managed an likley double, with Steve Morrow an unlikelier match winner . Silverware though is silverware, and a Wembley day out is a Wembley day out and I want both again. Most particulary I want the sour taste of my last visit in 2011 replaced with the sweet taste of glory next spring. The Magic Man’s wonder strike against Sheffield Wednesday in 93, or as he would now call it, ‘a Worldie,’ is right up there with my finer moments as a Gooner. The  simulated beer guzzling celebration right in front of me never to be forgotten, particularly given the subsequent revelations.

This competition has a special place in my heart whatever it happens to be called. As the Littlewoods Cup it provided me with my first great moment at Wembley in 1987. The Charlie Nicholas final – ‘One nil down 2 one up we f’..ked Rushies record up.’ A similar feat in the replay of the semi v Spurs when Rocky scored the winner tell you why my blog is named as it is. In 1987 it heralded the start of Arsenal Glory years under George Graham, just as victory in 2005 was the catalyst for Mourinho’s Chelsea. As the new Wenger team of 2012/13 takes shape under the new guidance of Banfield and Bould who’s to say that a victory for this team in 2013 won’t be the start of something special? Stevie Bould himself joined after the 87 sucess and was injured for the 93 final so I am sure our new Assistant Manager would like to add the only domestic honour missing from his trophy cabinet. Our last success was also notable because the players who started the final, were the 11 that finished. Neither of the 2 substitutes, as only 2 were allowed in those days came on. I only mention that as my theme for today is the starting 11.

A run to the final and victory in the Capital one Cup can be the spring board to greater glory as it should have been 2 years ago so how are we going to ensure this happens? Who will Wenger select? Will he revert to youth, run with experience or as in recent years a blend of both?


Merson downing beers celebrating his ‘Worldie’

Anyway I was going to write a piece and now that you are here it will be fairly obvious that I did indeed write it, but this is a blog with a difference. Because I decided that my views alone on how Wenger might use the second tier cup competition would not be an interesting or entertaining enough read. So chaps I am delighted to present ‘The Bloggers Guide to Capital One Cup Selection’ with a little help from my friends, some of whom you just might know……..


Arsenal v Coventry 26th September – 4th Round Capital One Cup


Team No.1 –  Top features writer for Arsenal Vision, @TheSquidboylike  11

In choosing my preferred lineup, I’m taking elements from our two previous League Cup campaigns. In 2010/11 we changed the way we approached the competition; mixing in more fringe first-teamers with the traditional crop of talented youngsters. From last season’s matches versus Shrewsbury and Manchester City, I’d adopt the 4-4-2 formation. We saw the familiar French Dench connection that is Coquelin and Frimpong flanked by Benayoun and the Ox, behind the dynamic duo of Chamakh and Park.

Accordingly, this would be my team

As you can see, it is less a youth team and more a second-string. I’ve primarily picked members of the first-team squad who I presume won’t have played the most minutes in the league by then, be it due to selection (Santos, Djourou, Coquelin, Ramsey, Gervinho) or injury (Koscielny, Rosicky).

The two most contentious choices are at both ends of the pitch. Firstly, I’ve plumped for Szczesny because I want us to give off the vibe that we are going for it this year. However I’d be content if Fabianski played.

The other is Walcott up-front. I’ve wondered whether Theo’s precarious contract situation can partly be explained by Arsene’s reluctance to play him in his desired position. Well now is the chance, in a relatively low pressure setting and in a pairing as opposed to a lone furrow. And if it isn’t working, switching to our more familiar 4-3-3 is simple with this eleven.


Team No.2 – The North London is Red @thedanielcowan 11

Rather than choose my preferred line-up, I have chosen what I believe will be our line-up based on previous teams and players available. We’ve seen over the past few seasons that Wenger is taking this competition slightly
more seriously by playing a mix of experience and I think we’ll see that continue.

The team I think will play will be:



I think Eisfeld and Gnabry will be the “breakthrough” players this year and Yennaris and Miquel will continue to demonstrate their first-team squadcredentials. I would have expected to see Mannone play in the league cup however his recent run in the first 11 lead me to believe Wenger may give the young Argentine Martinez a run between the sticks.
Yennaris, despite being a midfielder will most likely play right-back as Jenkinson’s fitness is crucial to the first-team at the moment. I expect Santos and Djourou to bring experience to the back line and as Wenger rates him highly and I expect our capable 4th choice centre-back to captain the Capital One Cup team with young Miquel partnering him.
Coquelin will be given the chance to display his ability to play understudy to Arteta. I expect him to perform this role in exemplary fashion and prove that a new “DM” was not required. Eisfeld and Ramsey will take up the advanced midfield roles and I expect us to utilise the experience and quality of Arshavin and hopefully he can recapture his form.
Gnabry will most likely take up the right wing/forward position allowing Theo to play up front. When Theo signed his current contract in 2009 he was told he would get a chance up front and that never happened and I suspect this is contributing to the current contract stalemate. Playing Theo up front may be the “little difference” that Wenger has spoken of and I would assume that his recent bench role is more to do with his “conversion” than being frozen out over contracts as some have suggested. I would love to see us mix it up and play different formations and see Chamakh partnering Theo
up top but I’ve gone for what I think is realistic rather than what I’d like to see.


Team No.3 Chris Howard @SuburbanGooner 11

I’ve gone for a sprinkling of some ‘on the fringes of the first team’ players needing game time, plus some young players who look to have impressed in pre-season. I think Yennaris, Eisfeld and Gnarby will all be given a chance to shine and I wonder if Wenger will see how good they look amongst some of the more seasoned pro’s in the team. I suspect he’ll try to compliment a blend of youth and experience. Arsene has always preferred not rotating in the league if he can help it, so with injuries and suspensions not really kicking in for us as they do, I think he’ll use this game to give players who haven’t played some time, rather than a full-blooded youth team. I’ve chosen to give Mannone the nod because I think Sczscney will be back in the team after the international break and Wenger might still want to reward the Italian for his assured performances for the last couple of league games. I’m also hoping that against lower league opposition, Marouane Chamakh can get a few chances and hopefully take some, because none of us want any player in an Arsenal shirt to fail (at least I don’t think so anyway!). I would like nothing more than to see the Moroccan regaining his confidence, banging in goals and giving us genuine options up front and whilst I doubt that it will be something that will happen, I am hopeful.

Looking at that team, as well as some of the other options that are available, what really strikes me is that we finally have a squad good enough, in my opinion, to mount some good challenges on multiple fronts. In years gone by you would struggle to recognise the League Cup Team, but if the side that steps out on to the Emirates turf resembles the one above, then it shows that we have some real strength in depth. I’m hoping for big things from The Ox and maybe even Gnabry this season. Maybe the Capital One Cup is Serge’s opportunity to pose the manager some selection dilemma questions for the rest of the year.


 Team No.4  Mean Lean’s @arsenalvision 11

In truth I am desperate to slip in Jack Wilshere’s name in there somewhere but I am pushing it somewhat, especially considering that Arsene mentioned that he should be back in October so I suspect that this game has come a little too soon for him. It is difficult to know if Bacary Sagna is in the same boat or not.
I would love to see Serge Gnabry get his chance in and around the first team but even if Theo is sitting on the contract naughty step, I do not see Arsene not starting him in this game if he is still struggling for Premier League minutes.
Whatever happens, it should all be fine because our smiley Brazilian left back should be in the starting line up and we all know that the world is a better place when he is around.

 Team No.5 Paul C’s @poznaninmypants 11
 I am looking for a mix of youth development and also firing up some of our first team squad that may be needing some love and minutes. Yet, the team needs to be strong enough that it has direction and plays like an Arsenal team, or every player’s performance becomes somewhat meaningless.

Fabianski vs Mannone. I still think Fab is No.2 in Wenger’s thinking. And to be honest, I have impressed by Mannone’s athleticism in the EPL this year, but not by his decision making on corners, and his lack of general mastery of the box, etc.

Jenks should play assuming Sagna is back and fit. Djourou is our 4th choice CB, so he needs to play and Miquel is the future so he is a definate for me . Unless, say, Mertesacker isn’t getting first XI time by then.

Coq needs to practice being like Arteta. Frimpong should be getting back from his Cruciate Ligament stuff, though I think he’ll get sent out on loan again. He needs to decide if he is a footballer or an entertainer.

Ramsey/Rosicky are obvious and so too are their under-studies Yennaris and Eisfeld.

It looks like Arshavin doesn’t want to leave London, which is ironic as I remember him bitching about the place when he arrived. Gnabry is my “pet” Academy player. I’m still trying to work out the difference between him and Chambo and I mean that as a huge compliment to both of them.

Chamakh needs time and Walcott thinks he can be a striker. And if we’re short of CFs in the first XI, so are we in the Capital Cup XI. Gervinho is likely to be short of minutes in the first XI based on Chambo’s promotion.


Not very adventurous but our 2nd XI need playing time, while we need to accelerate Miquel, Gnabry, Eisfeld. I sincerely hope to see Yennaris, Gnabry and Eisfeld all get game time from the bench and hope for Yennaris this is in midfield and not at right back.


 Team No.6  Phil Wall’s @AngryofN5 11

Here goes then:
Keeper: Whoever’s fit. With Chezzer’s recent form we don’t have a standout keeper at the moment and you don’t need to ‘rest’ a keeper, so the only reason to switch whoever played the last game is to give the reserve a match. Unlikely to make a difference.
Full backs: Tempted to put Diaby in as full-back, as he insists on wearing number 2. However, the strain of so many games recently is sure to kill him shortly anyway, so probably not an option. Santos needs games, and Djourou may as well earn his wage and keep match fit, so I’d go for those two.
Centre backs: The obvious choices are Kos and Squillaci, given that Mertesacker and Verm have played as a pair and may as well be rested as a pair. I wouldn’t have thought Squillaci is a risk against the likes of Coventry, he’s not completely hopeless in my opinion – far better than Stepanovs, for example. But stick both Per and Verm on the bench just in case!
Midfield: If Rosicky is fit he should play to get some match sharpness back. Wouldn’t count on him being back, though, he’s not renowned as a quick healer! When you look at the other options apart from Jack, you realise our squad really needed more of a boost in the summer – there really isn’t a lot to choose from apart from the new boys, all of whom I’d rest. Playing Arteta seems a risk, given his so far pivotal role this season, but options are very limited otherwise. Ramsey as defensive mid? Thinking about it, maybe Vermaelen as DM, with Ramsey and Le Coq. Now that looks an appallingly makeshift midfield, but hey, they’re all supposed to be super players, if not super super.
Strikers: Up front is a little easier: Gervinho, Walcott and Arshavin. Walcott centre forward, the others where the hell they like, it won’t make any difference what you tell them! Really we should start with Chamakh, I just can’t bring myself to say it. Tempting to play Giroud to help him get off the mark, but with luck he’ll have scored a few by then anyway.
So basically, rest everyone we possibly can and play the fewest possible first choices. I don’t count Theo as a first choice.
I’d say this patched up side should easily be good enough to beat anyone outside the Premier League nine times out of ten.



I don’t want my selections to indicate that I don’t care anything for the Capital One Cup, and if we progress to quarter-final and beyond I would progressively strengthen and pick more first teamers with the aim of actually winning a damn trophy of some sort, I just think it’s a bit early to be bothering against a lower league team.


 Team No.7 A Cultured Left Foot @Yogis_Warrior 11

 It’s a tough team to predict with a busy run of fixtures for the first team. However, there are some whose playing time is limited – others such as Squillaci, I don’t think will feature at all – which is where Walcott, Santos and Djourou come in with their experience, Coquelin and Eastmond to lesser extents. Goalkeeper was perhaps the most difficult choice with my own preference being for Martinez but I suspect Arsene is likely to go with experience, especially with youth further up the pitch.

 I would give Theo this match as a runout centrally. Coventry are not the most taxing of opposition and if the manager genuinely sees Walcott as a central striker, this is the type of fixture to try him out in. It means omitting Chamakh and like Fabianski, if he doesn’t play in this competition, his Arsenal career is effectively over.



 Team No.8 Steve Martin’s ‘It’s all about the Arsenal’ @Harlowgooner 11

In previous Carling Cup campaigns the young lads were given their chance, part of Wengers project youth. However with the advent of the NextGen series, the young lads should get a better standard of games, therefore I would use the Capital One Cup for back up first team players who need games.

Also I feel we need to win a trophy to keep some sections of our support onside and the Capital One Cup can be won. They say winning is habit forming.  Injury fear and playing too many games is getting into people heads. Injuries happen, fact of life in football.

 Remember this is Coventry at home. I would play 4-4-2.

 Vito would be my choice over Fabianski in goal. Vito has done what is asked so far and deserves to stay in. Corporal Jenkinson stays in and continues his fine start to season. Djourou and Santos are an easy choice. Miquel is a star in the making and would play along side Johan.

 I’d have Arteta Captain and the man in the middle to show leadership and the vision to open Coventry up. Then I would have Theo causing havoc out wide, leaving Ramsey and Coq to keep it solid.

 Up front Arshavin and Chamakh, both in need of confidence boost and hopefully this type of game can give them that. They both need playing time and both need to take this chance should they play.

 Gervinho and Giroud just in case on bench.

 So there you have it, my eleven to play Coventry City and one that should progress with no problem.

 I’ll go for 4-0


Wow! I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.  8 team selections from 8 t0p Arsenal bloggers and not a single one the same. I am going to invite all the readers to selction your own formation and starting 11 in the comments and a big shout out on the 26th for all those who manage to second guess ‘Le Boss’

Last and probably least you mat want my selection and thoughts. I will make it short as I am aware this blog is enormous. Apologies for that but I hope it kept you interested.

I am in the Squid camp and feel Wenger will as last season test out variations on the 442 theme he hinted he would try during the press conference in the Far East pre-season. I wrote a blog on how this might look in 2012/13 at the time and the Capital One Cup against inferior opposition is the perfect time. I also happen to agree with many of my peers that this is the chance Theo has been waiting for.

I also agree with many of the guys that with the new U21 league and the NextGen, mentioned by Steve Martin that it will be less about youth than it has been in the past.

For me we should revert to the style of 442 we played in the glory years which for me was at its best a 41311. So here is how It could look on the 26th September.

Team No.9 @goonerdave66 11



I am perhaps one of the few who rates Chamakh and have not forgotten the form he showed from August to November 2010. When a team is set upo for him he can and will deliver. Sadly the Arsenal team of last season and the secong half of 2010/11 was set upo for one man, RVP. Chammy has either been asked to play on the wing as Nico B before him or has come on for the last 20 minutes in the RVP role. However MC is not a back to goal player but plays his best football facing and attcking the goal. Suffice to say in the Stoke or Spurs team set up to deliver crosses he would flourish. You do not score 6 goal golas in 6 Champions League Group games, a feat only he can boast if you are a poor player.

In the 442 variation this is more likley to happen and in the last 20 minutes v Norwich in our last home game he was fabulous. This team has our 2 brightest stars Eisfeld and Gnabry either side of a Aaron Ramsey but I see these 3 ahead of Coquelin had fluid and interchangeable and any of the 3 could be delivering from wide during the course of the 90 minutes.

Also when not playing the channels or delivering quality from wide we have the huge bonus of being able to play directly over the top or look for Chamakh flick ons to make best use of Walcott’s pace and finishing.

My only other surprise choice to some might be to have Sagna at right back but for me if the schedule of training is correct he could  be ready and this would be a perfect match to ease him back in ahead of the EPL. If not I too would play Yennaris.

So there you have it, the end of a huge blog but I hope an entertaining one with serious food for thought. My special thanks go out to 8 of the best Arsenal bloggers out there and if for any reason you are not checking out their sites and their articles I strongly suggest you do.

All that remain is to invite your thoughts and comments as always but perhaps you might like to leave your own 11 in the comments today.

 Until next time thanks for reading.

Like what you read? Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter

Appendix – Guest blogger sites:                                                                          






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  1. I have my doubts about Aaron playing the btob player in the double pivot As most of the bloggers have used . I would most probably play a midfield 3 of Coq-Ebicelio with Aaron as CAM . Arshavin and Eisfield on the flanks and Chamakh up front . This way both Arshavin and Eisfiled can make use of Chamakh’s ability to hold the ball and as we saw in preseason Eisfield has the presence of a poacher in the box . Also having so many technical players can help Chamakh a lot .

  2. Well,great article and nice formations and selections.I will rather allow theo to be used up front either as α̲̅ lone striker or supported by chamakh to give him the belief he can do it as α̲̅ striker or make him realise le prof is right making him α̲̅ winger…it may well settle the contract renewal saga.
    ff us @babbinton for more incisive sports news.

  3. I think the team we play that day will be based on mostly first teamers who are not getting game time,on that note i pick Coquelin,Ramsey,Fabianski,Djourou,Santos,Arshavin and Chamakh(if he recovers from his illness) as sure starters the rest will be down to who is fit,who is coming back from injury e.t.c. So barring injuries i think one of Mertersacker and Koscielny will start depending on who is prefered as first choice alongside Vermaelen for our first eleven same goes for Theo,Gerv and Chambo. If Sagna is back by then i think he will start at R.B. If not Yennaris/Eastmond will start. The involvement of Serge,Eisfield and Miguel will depend on the fitness of 1st team players. Jack,Frimpong and Rosicky will start from the bench if the game is not too early for them.

  4. Too early to say. there will be much rotation over the next 2 matches on the back of the international break and ahead of two massive league matches against city and chelsea. a number of first teamers have yet to feature whilst the likes of eastmond henderson miquel eisfeld and watt are really pushing their claims. the time to look at the team for coventry will be after the city match. only then can fitness levels be gauged as a number of players will probably have played more international football than others will have played domestic football. at that poijt there will have been 6 first team matches and 3 international matches. some of the younger players will have played u21 next gen and u18 as well youth internationals all in the space of just 5 weeks.

    1. Atid points taken but the views of formations and how Wenger may play it still interesting. It was a good topic for an international break when only news is injury and gossip I felt

  5. Mannone

    Let theo rot in the reserves till he signs/leaves

  6. Wow that was a long one. Would love to see mire of Eisfeld & Miguel. I do think winning a piece of silverware will give the lads an impetus to get more, all l they need is that experience of winning.

  7. I would play the team as follows:
    Yennaris, Djourou, Miquel, Santos
    Coq, Ramsey, OX (in Santi’s role)
    bench: Fabianski, Sagna, Eastmond, Jack,Eisfeld, Gnabry, Theo
    For Rosicky it would be too early. Defence is quite obvious, coq and ramsey too. I think Arsene would like to see Chambo as an attacking midfielder. For Henderson it’s make or break season so he will get chances. I would not expect Gnabry, Eisfeld to start games in CC, last year we expected Ryo to play in this competition and he only come in from the bench. Fringe 1st team players are first to be chosen.

  8. Some very good shouts. Would like to see Conor Henderson on the bench at least.

    Pretty sure he will feature.

  9. Nice one again Dave and ‘interestingly’ long. I believe Wenger will choose the formation similar to one he has been using this season. Fabianski will start in goal ( unless! scez to be just match fit by then and bring into contention). This match could be a bit too early for Sagna, so I see Nico as right back. If Kos isnt in starting 11 alongside the captain by then, then Djourou and Kos will play. No brainer: cuddly santos as left back. Lets fair play to le coq, he must be given 90 minutes as our anchor man doing arteta-esque job. Ramsey as a box-to-box midfielder and Arshavin in santa-role as it seems rosicky needs some more time to be fit. Walcott and Gervinho on the right and left of Central striker Chamakh, but walcott playing closer to chamakh and gervinho helping out more in midfield. Now I have included Gervinho because Ox have been playing more and now it looks as if he has some u21 duty still to be done as nation’s service and of course gervinho needs some goals and assits for his confidence. So the team will look like:

    nico djourou boss santos

    le coq

    walcott gervinho

    The youngsters like Eilsfeld, Gnarby, Miquel will come on as a substitutes if we are leading.
    Just my thought though…what the hell I know anyway!

  10. Great idea, Dave. Particularly enjoyed your personal history with the Littlewoods Cup tec.
    A brief note on my selection: it is more of a general COC selection rather than specific to the Coventry game. So, obviously Rosicky won’t be ready in time. So i would probably play Eisfeld. Apart from that, I’d stick. Probabaly Yennaris for Jenks given the back-to-back fixtrues Jenks will be playing. But this would be starting point for the COC XI for me for this season.
    Anyway, I enjoyed seeing everyone’s thoughts. I hope someone over at The Arsenal is printing this off and smuggling it in to Bouldie.

  11. Would include Bac at RB if he’s ready to make a start & in need of game time. However, will leave both him & TR7 out of selection as both, as yet, not fit. Interesting that no one has included Jack to start. Presume match will come far too early for his re-introduction to team. So, I’d start:


    Nico Djourou Miquel Santos

    LeCoq Rambo

    Theo Gnabry

    The game might give the opportunity to play Theo up front, either alone or along side Chamakh. AA23 did a good job in the hole behind Park in CC last season & feel it’s his preferred position, so have put him there for the Coventry game. I would’ve liked to have found a starting berth for Eisfeld too, but that’s the XI I’ll go with.

  12. Firstly, what a great concept Dave, kudos to you. Like you I would prefer us going for the Cup this season, injuries & fitness permitting. And although I’d love for us to go with a 2 striker system with Walcott getting a chance centrally, I doubt it will happen. We will probably line up as the current 4-2-3-1. My team would be Fabianski, Jenks, Djourou, Kos, Santos, Le Coq, Gnabry, Rambo, Theo, Eisfeld, Chamakh. Although if Sagna’s fitness is a worry I’d like to go with Yennaris in place of Jenks

  13. I agree about going 4-4-2. Some of the players involved will have to take part in the PL challenge so they will be a bit more flexible with their positioning. I think Frimpong is a given, everyone screamed for Mvila but in the DENCHman we have a player that would like nothing more than to sit back & make crunching tackles. Him & Coquelin obviously have a chemistry from playing together as can be seen in the city game last season. I fully expect Ramsey to take part too yet i dont know about the last midfielder. Henderson anyone? Top player in my opinion & wenger specifically didnt want him out on loan.
    Chamakh will probably start, yet I have no hope for the big man sadly

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