Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he expects a comfortable victory over League One Coventry City tonight, despite expecting to field an inexperienced side, according to The Mirror.
The Gunners open begin their Capital One Cup campaign tonight against a Coventry City side who are currently 23rd in League one without a win to their name (in the league) so far this season. This is a position that belies the stature of the club, and it is almost strange to envisage that it was now eleven years ago that the Sky Blues lost their Premier League status after 34 years in the top flight. Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp was the scorer the last time these two sides met in the Premier League, at Coventry’s former home Highfield Road.
Despite tonight’s game being a Capital One Cup game – a competition in which some argue has lost its way in recent years- and the fact that the Gunners entertain Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday, Arsenal have sold out their allocation for tonight’s game. This is something that Wenger believes makes the Gunners one of the biggest clubs in the world, “Our fans are absolutely fantastic. I’m personally so proud and feel so lucky to play for so many years in front of a sold-out stadium.”
The Frenchman vows to repay the loyalty shown to him and the players by putting on a great performance for the supporters, “That means we want to give the supporters back what they expect from us – and that is total commitment and complete resilience for the 90 minutes we play. I am sure the boys will do that on Wednesday night.”
Although, Wenger is expected to rest a number of key first-team players in preparation for Saturday, the Arsenal boss is still confident of victory, “We want to put out a talented side that has a good chance to win the game. We will give a chance to some players who have not played as many games recently. The players that did not play on Sunday will get a chance and it’s a good opportunity to show they can do well.”
One man who seems certain to be leaving the Emirates in January is midfielder Andrey Arshavin. The Russian international, who has been limited to just 13 minutes of action so far this season, is expected to start tonight. Wenger says that criticism over Arshavin’s application, are simply unfair, “I have personally a great respect for Andrey Arshavin because sometimes some wrong ideas are circulated about him – that he doesn’t care, but it’s completely the opposite. He’s a 200 per cent professional who works every day hard in training.”
Arsene Wenger will know that although the Capital One Cup is not perhaps the trophy he and the Arsenal fans have been longing for – with Premier League champions Manchester City being humbled by Aston Villa last night – this may become the Gunners best chance of ending their seven year wait for silverware.