This game comes at the right time as we need a breather from Premier League. Also most of our squad needs a rest and our returnees from injury an opportunity to up their match fitness. This in no way means that we should take this match lightly, as it is also one of the trophies that we can win despite tomorrow being just the start of it.
Last season Leeds were very impressive as they surprised United and took Tottenham all the way before bowing out. So we can expect nothing less than a determined approach to the game from them.
Still, I believe that whatever team will be put out , we will be able to get a result in our favor, provided we stick to our game.
For the starting lineup, Wenger has already confirmed that Van Persie and Nasri will be rested for this one and he will make plenty of changes. As far as I can see, it will be a team similar to the one against Wigan.
The back line will comprise of Koscielny and Squillaci, who was absent in the last couple of games. Djourou won’t be risked for this one for sure. As Sagna is suspended, Eboue returns to occupy the right back position and with Gibbs also back in the squad, he will occupy the left back.
Szczesny should start this one at least!!
In the middle, Denilson will return. To partner him I would go with Song, as Wilshere has played in almost all of the last four games. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if I see him in the starting eleven. Rosicky to occupy the playmaker role.
Upfront, Chamakh should start, and this time we need a performance like he was giving before December. Arshavin and Bendtner to flank him. Last time they didn’t connect well but I hope this time they do.
Probable starting XI: Szczesny, Eboue, Squillaci, Koscielny, Gibbs, Song, Rosicky, Denilson, Bendtner, Chamakh, Arshavin.
There are reports that Ramsey will also be in the squad, so maybe we will see him later in the game. I hope he does get a few minutes.
As far as the match is concerned, just keep to the way we have played against the likes of Birmingham, Chelsea and City and we will see this through without much fuss. One more thing, kill this game early, as the more we delay in doing it, the more Leeds will believe in getting something out of it. A repeat of this is what we can avoid if we get a result and that will be one fixture less from the fixtures for January.
A couple of goals will be enough to seal this one and it will be good if we get another clean sheet.