Date: 24th January 2011 at 5:51pm
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The second half of Arsenal’s semi-final kicks off tomorrow at the Grove. With Ipswich coming in with a one goal advantage to defend, I highly doubt we’ll see the open play from our visitors that we saw a fortnight ago. It will be up to Arsenal to break through the clichéd parked bus.

It is my opinion that if any Arsenal player needs a rest, it’s Djourou and Koscienly, not van Persie, Fabregas, and Nasri. Unfortunately, Arsene’s refusal to bring in defensive cover means those two will be forced to play in their 7th and 6th match respectively in 25 days. The time to rest the aforementioned trio is this weekend against Huddersfield. Tomorrow, play the strongest possible XI to make sure we get to Wembley. If we can put the game away early, then take them off for a rest. However, it looks like Wenger will rotate the squad tomorrow anyways.

Vital Quotes:

Arsenal’s young ‘keeper is confident in his team’s ability: ‘We have a team from the Championship coming to the Emirates and they probably won’t fancy it too much, but we fancy our chances and are confident we will go through.’ said Szczesny.

‘We are Arsenal and believe we can beat anybody.’

Ipswich defender Damien Delaney had this to say on his team’s tactics: ‘We will go and park the bus in front of the goal at the Emirates, like Jose Mourinho said.’

Whether Ipswich can be as successful as Mourinho remains to be seen.

Arsenal Team News:

There are no new injury concerns for this match, despite several players appearing to pick up knocks during early part of the second half against Wigan. Diaby, Squillaci, and Rosicky may be back in time for this weekend’s FA Cup clash with Huddersfield. I’d like Arsene not to rotate, but I get the feeling he will.

Player to watch: Nicklas Bendtner

Nik needs to have a good game if he plays. He was good at Elland Road despite being woefully played out of position. If he can get on the score sheet, then I’m sure Arsenal will progress.

Ipswich Team News:

Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell has also has no new injury concerns to deal with. Only former Man United winger Lee Martin will not be available for selection due to being cup-tied.

Player to watch: Marton Fulop

The ‘keeper will be the most important player for Ipswich as it is very likely Arsenal will constantly pepper his goal. If he can have a blinder like Al Hasbi did this weekend, then Arsenal could be in trouble.

Match Facts & Stats

This is the 59th competitive meeting of these clubs. Arsenal have won 29 (exactly half) of the previous 58, Ipswich have won 18, and there have been 11 draws.

Arsenal are appearing in the League Cup semi-finals for a record 14th time. They have gone on to reach six finals, and have won the League Cup twice.

Ipswich have lost five and drawn one of their last six away games in all competitions.

Ref Watch:

Mark Halsey will be the head official for this match.

Match Prediction:

I’m nervous, but I’m going to go with a 2-0 home win. I wouldn’t be surprised though if Arsene’s squad rotations don’t click and we struggle to break Ipswich down.

Next Fixtures:

30/1 (Sun) – Huddersfield Town (h) – FA Cup

1/2 (Tue) – Everton (h) – Premier League

5/2 (Sat) – Newcastle (a) – Premier League