How many years has been without winning a trophy for Arsenal now? Eight heartbreaking years so far, but Arsene Wenger will believe that wait can come to an end by winning the Capital One Cup this season.
Their loss to Bradford in this competition last season was frustrating and one of their priorities this year will be to put that right and go on and win it.
They’ve made a strong start to this season, sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League, and they’ve got £42million Mesut Ozil in the ranks to add to their quality. If you add Aaron Ramsey’s goal-scoring form and the fact they’ve won their last 10 matches away from the Emirates to the equation, you’d be silly to bet against them reaching round four.
Furthermore, the last time Arsenal won a trophy was the last time West Brom managed to beat the Gunners at the Hawthorns. So you get the feeling at least one of those waits are going to have to end at some point this season.
Saido Berahino, who scored a hat-trick for the Baggies in the previous round, is expected to start for the visitors, but Shane Long and Matej Vydra are missing through injury. Despite that, it’s likely Steve Clarke will field a strong side.
However, it won’t be the same story for Arsenal. Wenger will rest a number of key players for this round three match and Nicklas Bendtner is all set to make his first Gunners appearance since August 2011. If there’s ever a time to prove your critics wrong, tonight is the perfect time to do it.
Statistically, though, it doesn’t look good for the hosts. Four of their last five League Cup matches at home to sides from the same division have ended in defeat, while all three previous meetings with Arsenal in this competition have been lost 2-0.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have lost just one of their last 19 games in all competitions and have scored 15 goals in their last three away matches in the League Cup. Aaron Ramsey’s goal record of seven goals from nine shots this season will also be cause for concern for the Baggies, and he’ll just one player of many they hope will be rested.