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Wenger and Arsenal must overcome problems of own making against Tottenham

22 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Wenger and Arsenal must overcome problems of own making against Tottenham

The Frenchman is facing a third defeat in seven days and will be without his first-choice midfield pair for the clash against their North London rivals

Arsene Wenger would probably like to play his strongest side for the Capital One Cup third-round tie against local rivals Tottenham on Wednesday.

His team have been beaten in their last two matches, after all.

But due to injuries and ill-discipline, the Arsenal XI that lines up at White Hart Lane is likely to be a mixture of first-team players and those on the periphery.

That has been typical during Wenger’s 19 years in charge.

It is the only domestic competition he has never won and clearly the one he prioritises the least.

He needs a result on Wednesday, though.

The Frenchman is without his first-choice midfield pair for the short visit to their North London neighbours.

Francis Coquelin is struggling with the knee injury he suffered in the defeat at Chelsea on Saturday and Santi Cazorla is suspended after being sent off in the same game.

Being without key players at certain times is, of course, inevitable, but having to field a patched-up side a little over a month into the new season makes Wenger’s decision not to recruit any outfield players this summer especially baffling.

For a club that last week revealed they had £200m in cash reserves, it can actually be considered as negligence.

Wenger, then, will be counting on those fit and available to produce a performance that will ensure a third loss in seven days is avoided.

His side are 11/8 to arrest that run with a victory at the Lane.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was a substitute at Stamford Bridge but is likely to start.

And while the England international is yet to establish himself as an automatic first choice, he did score against Spurs at the Emirates last season and is 8/1 to register in an Arsenal win.

How Wenger would love Alexis Sanchez – yet to score in seven games this season – to rediscover his scintillating form of last season, too.

It is hardly surprising that the Chilean has endured a sluggish start after following his participation in the 2014 World Cup and debut season in English football with leading his country to Copa America glory in July.

But Sanchez has too much quality to not come good soon and is 11/2 to score first.Spurs-ArsenalArsenal visited Spurs at this stage of the League Cup in 2010/11, winning 2-1 before eventually suffering a calamitous extra-time loss to Birmingham City in the final.

That was one of seven meetings between the teams in this competition – four of which have been semi-finals – and the Gunners lead the head-to-head record 5-2.

But Spurs famously secured a 6-2 aggregate triumph over Wednesday’s opponents en route to winning the competition in 2007/08 – the year they last won a trophy.

Mauricio Pochettino did take them to the final of last year’s Capital One Cup – where they were well-beaten by Chelsea – and, along with the Europa League, this tournament represents their best chance of silverware this season.

The fixture against Arsenal has undoubtedly come at an ideal time for the Argentinian.

His team have recorded three successive wins since returning from the international break and are 15/8 to make it four.

Sunday’s 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace – their second in succession after winning at Sunderland the previous week – followed the 3-1 win over Azerbaijani side Qarabag and the immediate impact of new signing Son Heung-Min must have thrilled Pochettino.

The South Korean forward has found the net three times in his last two matches – easing the goal-scoring burden from Harry Kane in the process – and is 2/1 to find the target any time.

It would be no surprise if, given their European commitments, the home side rotated their side.

Like his international team-mate Oxlade-Chambelain, Andros Townsend has been unable to establish himself at club level.

The England winger should be given a starting berth, though, and is 7/1 to score in a Spurs win.

An opportunity for players to prove themselves, then, but also for the men in charge.

A victory for Pochettino would represent further progress for his team, who have made reasonable strides since he was appointed as manager last summer.

For Wenger, meanwhile, the only way he can legitimately repel the criticism for his dealings off the pitch is by ensuring that his players are successful on it.

Whatever the competition.

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